lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Saturday, January 13, 2007

End of the world news

She considers hiatus, auf wiedersehen- spelling mistakes abuse makers (6,2,5,1,5)*

"So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you'll wait for me, hold me like you'll never let me go; 'cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again," I sang as I bustled around packing.

Actually, I am not leaving on a jet plane. I am taking the train. That there is no direct flight from Calcutta to Vizag is one piece of knowledge I acquired recently, as I made my reservations for the trip. If I wanted to fly to Vizag, I'd have to take a flight to Madras and then a connecting flight. How crazy is that? I chose to take the train, and sleep my way through the journey.

For me, the holiday part of the holiday is always in the actual journey. Arriving makes it official, and you are back in the world, but when the train is rushing down the dark countryside, when the plane is slicing through banks of clouds, when you are on the move– that is when the real break, the holiday from the world takes place.

You are on the move, you can't do anything to change things, and there cannot be calls on your time or attention or intervention. That's when you can seemingly stop the world, get off and think. When I used to visit my son twice a year at his school, the time I cherished most was the journey, whether by train to Madras or by car to Rishi Valley. The scenery, the vacation reading open on my lap but left unread as I luxuriated in being unavailable to anybody, but anybody, for anything- those were my times. Times alone with my thoughts and no lists of things to do.

Once you do arrive, there are interactions, things to be done, sights to be seen, meetings to attend, visits to make; in other words, you are back in the world. But, on the journey? Why, that is bliss.

Packing becomes practised as one does it again and again. There are mental checklists, and one learns to run through them. I can pack in less than twenty minutes, but that requires planning ahead and making sure the clothes I want to take are laundered and so on, so the planning starts a few days before. Then there are gifts you intend to take, you have to shop for them; and you have to arrange things, making sure the household runs smoothly while you are away.

The mobile phone revolution took away some of the 'being unavailable to the world' part of journeying, but still it is a welcome way of keeping in touch, making sure that I don't come back to utter chaos. So these days I add the mobile charger to the list of essentials I tick off, a list my husband's grandfather taught him to chant: cash, ticket, keys and spectacles.

I was reading blogs and mulling over blogging myself this time last year. I won't be able to post on the anniversary of my first post, most probably. But since I didn't acknowledge the century of posts, not marking the year is no big deal. One hundred and fifty-five posts and a year into blogging, still going strong, is Missus Em.

"I'm sad to say I'm on my way, won't be back for many a day," he sang, as I went through my checklist. "My heart is down, my head is turning around, I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town," I joined in, grinning.


* Missus Em takes a break


Anonymous Dipali said...

Delightful! Agree with you totally about the real joy of travelling, especially travelling's the suspension of one's day to day realities, responsibilities, and relationships, much as we cherish them ...
Have a ball, Lali

3:50 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

I chuckled as I read the post title and then your anagram. Have a lovely trip, Lali.

4:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a left-handed definition for you.
Fanatic: A lunatic with a hobby. Or, one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Have a blast, lady.

Secret admirer

10:02 pm  
Blogger Siva Sivaaa said...

Whoaaa!! Missus Em taking a break from obsessive-compulsive blogging!!

8:48 am  
Anonymous Prophet of Doom said...

Have a wonderful trip, Missus Em .. and please do share your experiences

PS: I have posted ...

10:21 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Dipali- I had a lovely time, will bore you all to tears telling you about it soon. :-)

Ash- Ditto, ditto.

Anon- Get a name.

Siva- *sigh* You too?

Ram- I did, and I will write about it, of course. Am off to check your blog, then.

9:51 am  
Anonymous varali said...

The chant my husband was taught was bit more risque - spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch.

6:06 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Varali- Wicked! :-)

9:31 am  

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