Holiday Blues

Just got back from 2 weeks in Greece and Turkey and the brain just refuses to go back to frantic rat-trying-to-win-the-race mode. It's amazing how much perspective you get if you just get off the treadmill briefly. It's not even like I had time to pause and reflect deeply on the meaning of life and shallowness of the corporate world or anything like that, what with lugging two rivalrous sibling kids and coping with the outbreaks as well as the pouring rain, mopping the floor etc. (If my holiday sounds like a week at bootcamp, check out my travel blog at travelpod - indian traveler.)
But it was great to get away... to watch a sunset, to wade into cold, cold sea water with my son, to squish our feet into the black sand as we walked and collect colourful, tiny little polished stones from the shores...Little, little things. Like not having to put my daughter and watch her face crumple as I rush out the door to work. Like playing with my son on the swings. Like finishing a nice, cold bottle of wine and not remembering what day of week it is.

Now, I'm not really a lotus eater. The one time I took time off, from pregnancy till my son was six months old, I nearly died for want of anything meaningful to do apart from attend to his needs. I'm really a much better person when I have a career going, not to mention enough money for retail therapy. But still, isn't there a way for us to have a better balance between work and life? Isn't there a way that we could breathe easy and earn a good living doing something that we find interesting at the same time? Isn't there a way we could work without a 'snatch and grab' at the fun and laughter and trivia of daily family life?

I was reading an article about how relatives and friends descend on city dwellers in the summer and how inconvenient it is. But I think back to my own summer days, when we city dwellers from Delhi would go to Mysore and Bangalore for a glorious two months. I can't remember us ever writing to check if that was okay. I can't remember us wondering if we were welcome. And similarly when we had visitors, it was always a joyous occasion, a time to meet people and chat and catch up on all the old stories that have to be retold and re-laughed or cried over. Visitors were welcome to take the best room in the house or the best view, and stay as long as they liked, and they just became part of the family ensemble, not 'guests' who had to be tolerated and offered luxe-wrapped, exotically scented 'guest soap' packages.

It just seems sad that holidays have to end, and not just holidays but holiday spirit. I wonder if as our homes get bigger, we travel more and know more about the world, our hearts get correspondingly smaller, our vision more narrow and our souls more constricted.

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