..is all I can abstain from the internet, it seems. The vacation stupour is being slowly replaced by this nagging whisper of the one-word mantra somewhere at the rear of the brain - "deadline". I have been subdueing this voice with self-inflicted inertia, but the voice is getting stronger and I am sure by the time I am back home middle of next week, it would play on Dolby stereo surround sound.
But then, let me enjoy the now. With whisper and all.
In many ways, my extended family is cool (is there something I should do to ward off the evil eye here?). When I visit my own parents' home, my eighty something old grandmom pampers me like I were still her grandchild in knickers. When I visit my in-laws', they, contrary to popular belief, let me sleep-in well into the A.M. The only reason I wake up is that the darn bladder wouldn't let me sleep any more. By the time the teeth are brushed, the coffee is ready at the table, and all kinds of lovely aromas waft in from the kitchen.
One of my friends recently asked me why I keep spending every vacation at Srirangam, instead of taking an exciting or romantic trip elsewhere. As I sip a glass of ice cold ilaneer derived from coconuts harvested from the home trees, delivered to me where I am sitting, by my mother-in-law, who reminds me of my plans to visit to my favourite temple today, I find my choice amply justified.
The kid and I make a pact before every vacation. That we would stay off each other's hair from the moment we board the train. Apart from the few hours at night where she MUST sleep, and the few minutes spent in nourishment and santiation activities, the kid and her local friend have not let the Srirangam sun go waste. When I was like her, my parents and aunts/uncles would wonder what my cousin and I would do all day together, oblivious to the world around. It seemed a stupid question to ask then, but now, I wonder the same thing of this kid. The kids are either running around the house, making a colossal racket, or making mud pies and cakes or throwing water at each other, and in general, living the moment to the extreme. I am thankful that she is able to enjoy this part of life as well, she will carry these memories as she grows up.
Dude gets into a different groove the moment he enters his childhood home - the home built into his memories. I see in him, a very different person - a relaxed, comfortable and at-home person and I know that when we leave, he'll leave this part of him behind. Hopefully this recharge will work until the next visit.
As for me, apart from the intense physical relaxation that vacation offers me, Srirangam takes me to a different plane of existence. The fact that this is perhaps the place that I would spend the sunset years of my life gives it a mystical aura. But beyond hopes of the future, just a walk around the main temple, by myself, taking in the sea of humanity, watching little dramas of life unfold, and just being there, is an experience so far removed from daily life filled with actions arising from responsibility and reason. I know that the life of purposefull activity is just a few days away, and one that I have deliberately chosen and enjoy in its own right, but now, what exists is just this moment. The air is hot, the windchimes tinkle, I am blogging, my father-in-law is lying on the bare floor, snoring, his son, next to him, eyes closed and mouth smiling, my daughter is burying dead spiders (!), the mother-in-law is reading ananda vikatan, there is hot kunukku on the dining table, and life couldn't be more peaceful.
There are loads of photos in the cell phone. One of these days I will upload them. Perhaps I'll write more..perhaps less. But the memories have been captured in mind's amber more vividly than this blog and the cell phone camera and that will keep me going for a while.