The less said the better. Suffering and chaos everywhere. Most of the year went by with us being locked inside our homes, unable to meet our friends and relatives, not able to go to work. And to think its all due to a teeny tiny virus (when will it leave us?!)
I am sure when things get back to normal, most of us will be heading somewhere with our friends and dear ones on a long trip. Or a solo gateway. Nothing rejuvenates our mind body and soul like travelling to new place far away from monotony. After the year we have had so far, we all need a break. For now we can only remember and reminisce about our previous holidays. Recently my mom and I got discussing about our last trip. That was last year but feels like a century though.
Last year, my cousins from America came down to pay a visit. My grandma wasn’t getting any younger and she wanted to be with the whole family. The whole clan. Uncles. Aunts. Cousins. Their kids. Around 40 of them. But where should we meet? Most of us live in Mumbai and none of our homes were big enough to host forty odd people at the same time. Nearest holiday spot seemed the logical decision. After many discussions, some arguments which had the trip almost getting cancelled, we decided on Lonavla as gran couldn’t travel for a long time by car. We had booked a huge villa and rented few cars and a bus.
After reaching the venue and refreshing ourselvesg everyone got down to their works. The little ones were running here and there, the older women catching up with the latest family gossip and the men discussing politics and sports. The youngsters were all sitting in the corners with mobile phones in their hands preferring the company of social media over each other. Myself included. And my gran for whom the trip was actually planned was sitting there alone.
Feeling bad, I along with my mother went to have small chat with her. I could sense her displeasure even before I opened my mouth. She asked to assemble the ‘mobile gang’ as she calls us. Overwhelmed, and sensing some strict lecture coming, I called my cousins. She is the matriarch of the family. Whatever she tells, we listen. She is the perfect combination of warmth, cuteness, indulgent and sternness. What she asked shocked us. Some of us were looking at her with something akin to horror. She asked us a promise of switching off our data and not click a single picture, selfie in this trip. Not of the scenery, not of the people, nothing. That’s the gift she wanted from us. My cousin tried to reason with her “but photos are good memories, Paati.”. (Paati is grandma in Tamil). Another cousin chimed in with “How will we share it with our friends? How will we remember this trip in the future?” he pleaded. To which my gran replied “what to do you want to remember? About how you sat in that sofa and messaged your friends on Facebook? That’s something you do everyday. You don’t need it as a memory to remember.”
I for my part looked ashamed. She wasn’t scolding or reprimanding us. She simply sounded disappointed which is always worse. We agreed to switch off our mobile data and only attend calls if anyone called. All the while one thought was repeatedly resonating in our minds “How will we spend four days without Internet and social media?” But minds made, we all together went ahead to find ways to entertain ourselves. The villa had carrom and cards. A cousin, bless her, had bought Jenga and board games.
Once the initial displeasure of not having access to our mobiles wore off, we actually started enjoying. We all reconnected with each other, remembering our childhood days. We talked, played games, the young and the old together. We enjoyed food a little more because each one of us had something little to share with each other. For once none at the table were clicking pics of the food or immersed in their phones.
We got reacquainted with the childhood favourite uncles and aunts. Some of them are permanently settled abroad and reconnecting with them gave me immense pleasure. We got to know each other again. With passing years somewhere most of the relatives if not all drift apart. All of us get so busy with making a living that we forget to live. I guess my gran wanted to teach our generation that lesson. Trust me that was the most memorable and fun holiday I have ever had. That’s the opinion of all the members in our family.. There wasn’t any itch to share photos on Instagram or Facebook nor any obsession to see how many likes and retweets were given. All of us, the young and the old alike, together simply enjoyed, made memories and grew closer by the end of the trip. We spoke about issues that we couldn’t share with anyone. We played pranks and cracked jokes. We are closer and still in touch constantly. Post that trip I am not addicted to my mobile anymore. I realised social media is a blessing if used correctly and a burden, a curse that diminishes happiness from your life if used obsessively.
Remembering that trip, writing about it has me longing for those days. Hope the coming months bring some respite and things go back to good old normalcy for all of us.
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P.S Attaching the only photo my dad clicked in the trip. Sigh.. I will go talk to my cousin about it again. See ya on the happier side.