India Darshan

I’m planning my annual pilgrimage to India. As usual, it includes five cities, one town and two villages spread over three states. And I’m doing this in less than 40 days, with two kids under four in tow.

Knowing the extent of planning it involves, I asked my husband which relatives he wants me to visit. He started by saying that I need visit only the few relatives above 80. Unless of course I was already visiting a city/town/village for another relative. Then courtesy demands that I visit the others close by too.

On last count, I’m visiting six of my mother-in-law’s siblings, one of my father-in-law’s, one grand aunt of my husband’s, three of his aunts by marriage, two of my father-in-law’s first cousins, one of my husband’s first cousins and of course, his brother and family.

This leg covers just one week of my journey, which is in Kerala. And since that is where I come from too, I have my own set of relatives to visit. Namely, my father’s three siblings, his aunt, two of his first cousins and his grandaunt. My mum is accompanying on my Kerala leg of my journey because I don’t speak the language and because I’m terrified of doing the long road journeys alone with my now potty-trained daughter and difficult to contain son. We will be visiting her cousin as well and another quasi uncle, who’s been a well-wisher of the family through difficult times.

Now this time, my husband decided to book the tickets for me. So inevitably, he didn’t listen to the instructions I gave him and got the dates wrong. He booked my tickets to India for a day later, return a day earlier and got my departure city wrong. As a result, I have fewer days in India than originally planned, more domestic flights to make and more road distances to cover (with the relative visit chart growing longer every day). Since I am flying in and out of the same city now, I decided to finish with all the visits and spend a long two week stretch with my in laws at the end.

In the last one week, I have found out distances between all cities, researched flight timings, spoken to drivers and painstakingly planned the whole trip down to the last detail. And because I am fair to a fault, I’ve made sure that I will spend as much time with my in-laws as I will with my parents. The plan is to finish the hectic schedule first and then relax at my in-laws’ place for two weeks before returning. Of course, this hectic schedule involves many visits in many cities to even more relatives and would require some sort of attention to comprehend.  I handed over my travel plan to my husband, not seeking approval, but more as a confirmation of my scheduling genius. My husband, impatient to the core, read the first three lines and said, “You don’t seem to be spending any time with my folks.”

If only someone could harness the wave of hot fury that lashed through me at that moment, I’m sure it would be enough to provide for the heating needs of all five cities, two villages and one town that I’m about to visit!!!



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