Sometimes when we travel, the husband and I are often the only people in a restaurant who are Asian or brown. A lot of people at the other tables know each other, especially if it is a small town or village and I feel as if we stand out by our brownness and our relative lack of knowledge of the food on the menu. Sometimes, it leads to funny things. Like ordering a pudding that isn't sweet, a cheese that is moldy but not gone off and good to eat, or a lobster that attempts to fly!
My rucksack is now frayed at certain places, and is worn for use. But I love it and want no other. It still makes my heart dance, and so it accompanies me everywhere. Since its maiden trip to Belgium, it has been to the Yorkshire Dales, Swindon, Cornwall, Swanage, Malta, Turkey, Sweden, Powerscourt House and Gardens, Wicklow, Bray, Howth, Kinvara, Enniskerry...just about anywhere I have gone. It has been on treks, on walks and trails, to waterfalls, on a hot-air balloon in Cappadocia, to a grand palace in Turkey, to castles and parks, to public gardens and shopping arcades...
The thing is, travelling or vacationing together is like a marriage. You have to give up on some things, and your spouse will give up some, there can hardly be ever a perfect 50-50 in that give and take, and both of you have to adjust. Yes, that great Indian word that is said to solve every problem in a marriage - 'adjustment' - also applies to vacationing together.
We are now under a strict lockdown but I can still remember two things from the small break we undertook between the lockdowns. One is the laughter and joie de vivre of the host of the bed and breakfast where we stayed at, and the other is the sea - the vast swatches of the scintillating brilliant blue that seemed to flutter like a school-girl's ribbon, sometimes to our left, and sometimes to our right - as we wound up and down the Connemara region.
I still remember all the laughs from our trip to Sweden. How we missed the train, and (unsuccessfully) tried to run after the right one, how we mistook Schnapps for some kind of a ginger drink, and the way we solved the mystery of the see-through door of our hotel's bathroom... the laughs never just stopped.
We lost him in his birthday month. On the 23rd of December. He died of an aortic aneurism, and as he lay on the hospital bed, awaiting his surgery, he called my mother and me to him and said, "Aruna, I had promised to outlive you. I am sorry that I may not be able to keep that promise. This surgery is difficult and complicated and I may not survive it. I apologise to you for all instances in our married life that I may have been angry or unreasonable with you."
There was still time for the sun to emerge out of his slumber but the clues were there. It looked like the sun was out of his duvet, and just freshening up, his golden mane visible under the clouds. When he finally emerged, it was like fireworks in the sky - colours and sparks splattered across the vast expanse, his power and rage and light eclipsing everything else. Everyone stood still and watched, mobile cameras in hand.
I wanted to write this blog post to tell you about a website that I have set up along with a friend, who is also a journalist and an ex-colleague. The website is called The Good Story Project and the idea behind creating this platform was that all of us, no matter who we are, carry various stories within us.
This past week was Diwali. Since this was to be a Diwali in lockdown, my husband and I weren't expecting much. We had bought a few packets of sweets from the Indian store to give to our neighbours and had thought of putting the boxes in paper bags and leaving them outside their doors. Apart … Continue reading What inclusion feels like…
A lot of us find ourselves turning to food, not just during the long hours of isolation during the pandemic lockdowns, but also as a part of our …‘Sharing’ a meal – cooking adventures, recipes, and feasts on Facebook food groups