Monday, April 13, 2009

A handful of stars...

A handful of cousins, quite a bunch, all very different from each other and yet genuine similarities at certain levels. No aptitude for Maths and Swimming(not being humble or apologetic mind you!), wry and self mocking humour, a strong dislike towards colloquial bengali though very much 'bangalis' and proud of the heritage. Extremely fond of books, fish and rice, music and sleep. Lazy, dreamy, moronic at times, slow on reflexes, and slower in the kitchen, friendly, amiable, dealing with complaints, struggling with kids..again no complaints, balancing demanding careers, some doing further studies, some job hunting, keeping busy and just getting on with life. A handful of cousins.

Staying in different parts of the world, rooted to a single country by their parents who continue to call it home. Visiting once a year, trying their best to match times so that they get a period of togetherness, compare the horizontal growth(if any, God forbid!),as vertical growth has long stopped. rediscovering familiar features and traits in the young ones, laughing and joking together, having a couple of drinks, doing a bit of shopping and exchanging the latest family gossip. feeling happy that the kids are bonding, feeling relaxed, feeling chatty, feeling bitchy, feeling like tossing a ball, feeling like being a kid again. A handful of cousins.

A dream vacation is planned, a week just by themselves, no baggages that have accumulated over the years. A resort, preferably by the sea. A couple of rooms should be good enough. A whole week of relaxation without worrying about any schedules, without the antics of the kids or the husband, just the handful of cousins, alone together. seven days of bliss, of gossip and timely served hot tea, of sinful food, of intoxication and indulgence, of rejuvenation, of books, of late night sessions, of rolling on the floor, of prancing like bygone days, of being what you are without any pretense, of being soul cleansed.

Wow, sounds like a plan. Kids are dissatisfied, husbands smirk and mark it as another hallucination. Parents are not convinced about the logistics...but the handful of cousins are hellbent on making it happen, more so because they have another common trait...Passive aggression, silent rebellion, winning against odds, The more the disbelief in the family, the more the plans are spurred. A time period is fixed, the place identified, the resort being checked out, flights being called for good deals, kids being made to understand or convinced(depending on their ages),the need for such a vacation. The husbands still laughing it off as a pipe dream, parents getting paranoid, In laws getting mad, bosses finding it queer, friends cheering on the handful of cousins.

The time has come, the kids are being given last minute instructions, The husbands are cribbing about the horrific deals made with the airlines, The in-laws just sighing aloud, the parents going ballistic with their set of instructions, the resort booked, the cases packed, the smile full on, the heart skipping and the legs on the way. Yes!! Finally its happening. A handful of cousins, boarding different flights, crossing time zones, reaching out to each other, reaching out to childhood.

Hugs of welcome, high fives and cheers, the resort is just as it looked in the brochures. The welcome drink is soothing and telling of fun filled days to come. The rooms are beautiful and luxuriant, the sea clear and inviting, the check in is smooth and hassle free. The laughter is pure and unbridled. A quick change of clothes and they head towards the sea, a walk on the fringe, talking nineteen to a dozen, joking, whistling, mimicking..the fun has just about begun. Calls start to come, upset kids, concerned parents, curious husbands, all calling, all getting in the way of a handful of cousins.

Memories of childhood days, the hit bollywood numbers, the school and college romances, the late night parties, the first jobs, the mistakes, the victories, The loss of faith at times and the end of innocence, the marriage proposals, the "boy catching" pictures, all are relived. The plans for the future, the hopes and worries, the insecurities, the dilemnas, the nagging health worries, all are confronted. The days are soaked in the warmth of camrederie,the sea and the sand, while the nights are full of the rich past and the uncertain future. The seven days of a blissful vacation is at its end for the handful of cousins.

Farewells and so longs, a promise to do this again the next year, see each of them on their individual ways, back to their time zones, to the lives they have made... away from childhood, away from each other. To take on the world again with a smile that is full on and a soul that is cleansed.