Every year, when December rolls around, we pack our bags and go traipsing across the countryside. It's never a simple visit to one place and one year, I even needed a flowchart to explain our wanderings! This year was no different and starting with a trip to Calcutta in the east, we proceeded to cover all the other directions as well.
First, we headed northwards to Delhi for my cousin's wedding. This was a pretty complicated event in itself since the pre-wedding celebrations were in Delhi, the wedding was in Neemrana and the reception was back in Delhi! As a result, we spent most of our time between getting dressed, attending functions and traveling in the car. But it was fun and Neemrana makes for an amazingly grand backdrop to a wedding - the whole thing had a royal feel to it. The kids got nicely pampered by the extended family. Tarana, being the only baby in attendance, got almost as much attention as the bride! She charmed everyone with her cheesy grin and even perfected her fake, social smile in the course of the wedding.
Done with the wedding festivities, we flew south to Bangalore for our annual Christmas visit. It was a full house with my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law and his wife in residence. We took every opportunity to palm off the kids on to the willing tribe of baby-sitters so that we could get some R&R. Mornings were the responsibility of the grandparents as Ayaan was taken off for an early morning jaunt in the park by my father-in-law and Tarana had an al fresco breakfast with her grandmother.
Ayaan also took to my brother-in-law's wife in a big way and happily went off with her to unlikely places like her parents or aunt's houses. He also had great fun leading the Christmas tree decoration effort and we ended up a monstrosity where you could barely see the tree for the ornaments. But he was super-thrilled with the results and we actually had to ferret away some of the ornaments when he wasn't looking so that they didn't end up on the tree as well.
He remembered his trip to the giant Xmas tree and gingerbread house at the Leela last year and insisted on being taken there again. He went crazy with all the eats up for grabs and had a huge sugar high for the rest of the day. (I know that the latest research says there is no such thing as a sugar high but there is a boy in my house who proves otherwise)
Unsurprisingly, the exchange of presents on Xmas day was the highlight of the trip. He even made a tracking sheet to monitor the number of presents each person got and was happy to note that he won the 'race' by far. His favourite gifts were an airplane cup from his uncle, a gingerbread man dinner plate from his grandma and a picture atlas from us. (My favoruite was my swanly new Kindle from Jai - yay!)
We got back to Mumbai a couple of days before New Year's eve, did a rushed round of unpacking, laundry and repacking before heading off a friend's farmhouse near Murud to bring in the New Year. It was a relaxing couple of days, spent lounging around and taking desultory care of the kids. This picture says it all:
The kids were pretty good and kept themselves busy. Tarana spent her time chasing after the resident dog, flashing her fake grin at all present and foraging for crumbs on the floor. Ayaan's favoruite activities included picking shells at the beach, watering (read drowning) plants and fishing with a mug in the little pond in the front garden.
We got back last weekend and since then it has been a jumble of unpacking, putting away woollies, getting back into the school routine, catching up with my favourite blogs and kick-starting my neglected freelance work. The resolutions have been somewhat on the backburner for the last three weeks but now's the time to kick their ass. So expect to see more of me around these parts :)