So, where were we? Ah, thats right, at G’pa-Nani’s place.
Poor old grandparents were shocked out of their wits when we drove in. The gates were thrown open by my aunt, the dogs all ran out on the road barking, we hopped out of the car and went tearing down the road calling them back, the kids rushed out and just generally began to squeal and yell in excitement. I think the neighbours went deaf.
My aunt and uncle who were in on the plan had made some awesome biryani for us with a lovely raita I’ve only eaten made by my aunt. It’s soya methi, rai and raisins in curd. Yummy. We’d thought of keeping the visit a secret from them too, but given my parents’ penchant for surprises I was terrified that we’d land up here only to realise that they had just landed in Delhi. And so this was the control mechanism. It was my aunt and uncle’s unenviable duty to keep the old fogies under lock and key.
Post heavy lunch we passed out and the old house was finally silent. There’s a certain amount of peace that can only come from going to sleep in your old bed in your ‘maika’. By the time the OA and I woke up, refreshed and ready to take on the world, the house was buzzing with activity. They’d decided that if the OA was here with them they were going to give him the best Diwali ever, pull out all stops.
With all the house help on leave my parents and uncle, aunt and cousin were in a frenzy, digging out our Christmas lights from storage, pulling out pretty candles that were hoarded and never lit. And most of all, racking their brains over a rangoli. It’s easier said than done to make a rangoli if its not part of your growing years and culture and I was bowled over by what my talented aunt and cousin put together with fresh flowers. And kurta pajamas were hastily dug out, ironed and donned, silk sarees worn and the best was my little cousin J, wearing a lovely bandhini saree in honour of celebrating Diwali with her brother-in-law, the OA. I take extra pride in these two little cousins of mine because I consider them to be my first set of babies. Such an absolute pleasure to grow up with that I promptly had two of my own the moment I could! The Bean in a little pink and yellow lehenga, the Brat in a lovely orange kurta, the OA in a kurta similar to his son’s and me in a cream and gold Mallu set mundu/mundu veshti with a red and gold chanderi blouse.
Lots of wine, cheese and a heavy dinner late we went out in the garden for pyrotechnics! I was of course one terrified mother as the two pests ran around lighting firecrackers. I think one of the greatest pleasures of being a father is in teaching your progeny to play with fire. Or so it seemed from the look on the OA’s face as his spawn gleefully lit rockets and anaars while I sat there gritting my teeth and telling myself that we were not going to go up in a ball of fire and that other mothers had survived this trial by fire so I’d live to see dawn too. The grandfather added to my terror by generally encouraging them.
The next two days went by on the swings, frequent rides on scooters and bikes, playing with the dogs and generally chilling. The trip back to Delhi was as nightmarish as the trip from. The train was 6 hours late and by this time the OA and I were pros. Leaving the kids to shimmy up and down the berths, look out of the windows and generally fend for themselves. Teeth were left unbrushed, hair uncombed, bread and eggs (why do they always taste so good on the train?) for breakfast and dry fruit thereafter, with an unusual indulgence – sips of tea from our cups!
And then we were back home, in Delhi. Safe, sound, tired and in no mood to get back to work. In case you think that isn’t enough I had a teeny accident, bumped my foot and ended up with a suspected fracture. I’m fine of course. Nothing serious.
Here are pictures of the Brat and Bean enjoying the fresh flower rangoli – careful not to touch it and ruin it
The rangoli – for your viewing pleasure.
The brats doing all in their power to scare the crap out of the fish. I bet they stopped laying after this…
One of the endless rides. Cousin K is persuaded to take them for a ride.
Her highness is preparing for the races… in Nani’s hat.
Anyone remember these ugly, snake pellets? The kids freaked out over them….
The OA has the pleasure of introducing him to his first mehtab….
G’pa teaches him to light rockets in the middle of the street….
The Bean surrounded by dogs. We’re reaching a crazy stage with her where we can’t go out on the streets without her chasing strays to pet them. I know, I know, she needs a dog but for chrissake, does anyone realise how much I have on my plate already?!!
And yet again – on the scooter… this was one trip where they were constantly on some vehicle or the other!
Car-o-bar. The Delhi system of serving booze out of your car boot at a wedding. In this case, adults are knocking back beer while the babies lie in the boot of a car left open in the garden so that we can listen to music.
This has been one of our most hectic trips and its also been the landmark one where the kids come back rather upset. They’re usually quite accomodating and I shuttle them around mercilessly. This time I’ve heard one tiny voice or the other say every night… ” Mamma… can we go to G’pa-Nani’s house tonight?”