Monday, September 7, 2015

Vacation, Onam and a Dress Code Disaster.

I am back after a three-week vacation to India, and boy what a getaway it has been! Braving the rains we travelled to Thekkady, Kuttikkanam and Kanyakumari apart from Cochin and Trivandrum. Then there was Onam, two baptisms in the family, a housewarming, an engagement party, catching up with old friends… Three weeks flew by like a dream with lots of food in it. By food, I mean meat and by meat, I mean red meat. Going by the red meat I ate in the last few weeks, I realized that I am not the same person I was maybe ten years ago. My younger self would feel guilty before sinking my teeth into that third cutlet, but now I am arrogant, unregretful and endlessly hungry.If that is the case, in another ten years I may become a cannibal.

The thing I hate the most about our vacations is the inevitable train ride between Trivandrum and Cochin. Being the Trivandrum person that I am, I was warned against marrying the Cochin guy, citing geographical hurdles I may have to overcome. Like all things we learn only from experience, this one was learnt in a hard way. Trains have been hell rides for me. I have tried to dodge the train by planning car/plane trips, but it has to be the train to get the collective approval from elders. Well. The train is basically a reminder that life is not a bed of roses; it can be a rodent infested compartment too. From the smelly curtains to the non-functioning fan/AC to the nosey aunty who wants to record the census of my family, I hate every bit of it. The only thing that is to be loved is the super economic ticket charges. IRCTC is slow for a purpose, my dear friend. It knows that you will wait.

Another remarkable achievement during the vacation was that a lot of badminton was played in the evenings. Cochin is known for mosquitoes that barge into our houses in large numbers in the evenings. If we didn't play, we’d be anyway doing something similar in action, which is swatting mosquitoes, so badminton seemed like a strategic choice of sport. Whenever I was not playing I stayed close to my son who was wearing a mosquito repellent sticker. Note to parents: If you want to visit Cochin, buy your kids mosquito repellent stickers and do not snub them during your stay there. Cochin mosquitoes can bite like dogs I tell you.

Mahabali. Image Courtesy: Here
For my son, this vacation had been immensely enriching. Like, the time he met Mahabali at the mall during Onam week. Now he points at random potbellied men and screams ‘Look Amma Mahabali!’
Ranbir Kapoor played Barfi in a two-hour movie. God knows how many times I played Barfi.

The vacation was not all rosy, though. There was a sufficient dose of embarrassment too. During our stay in Cochin there was a memorial gathering to which the in-laws were invited. According to the understanding I had with the hubby, we were not planning to go and were supposed to drop them and return to the mall. So I was dressed for the mall, in jeans and a loose top. Later, in an unexpected twist, we were forced to attend this prayer with no time to change. At the event, all people were elegantly dressed in pristine whites and other respectable colors. I was the only one, in jeans, loose top, unkempt hair, a small backpack and flat shoes. I wasn’t the immediate family so people did not care about what I wore, but I felt like being in a spotlight. Yes, I did get a few lame looks here and there, some with pity and others wondering if I wore skinny jeans at a memorial service, what I’d wear for a party. After I topped my plate with food and hid behind a pillar wishing that I was invisible, I realized how important dress codes are and how it can make you squirm with embarrassment.
Lesson learnt; when in India, always carry an alternate decent dress. You never know when you will be dragged into a church.

I consoled myself thinking about the day I spotted a Dominos Pizza delivery boy who turned up near our building, on Onam day around lunch time. Eating pizza for lunch on Onam day is far worse than wearing skinny jeans for a memorial service, right? 


  1. I had to eat pizza for onam day :'( my heart is broken :/

  2. I was once called to my school in the afternoon and had turned up wearing slacks and loose t-shirt. Turned out it was a prize distribution that they had missed to tell me about :\ To top it, I was the topper and had to be in the center of the photograph. Lessons learnt: Always dress ready to be photographed :P

  3. Sounds like a good vacation overall, sans the train ride, mosquito bites and the bit of embarrassment. Actually, I'm quite at ease in a pair of jeans at just about any occasion. Funny thing is, people don't expect me to dress-up in a saree / salwar :) If I do, they're like "jeans look better on you"... so jeans it is!

    1. If people have zero expectations about you, then you are one lucky person !

  4. Happy belated Onam :) Voted for your Anita.. All the best :)