Vacations – evidently the most loved word around the globe and Indians are no immune to the travel bug. But the thing that stands out is our journey between vacation plan and the vacation itself , which is categorically interesting and enthralling. There are obviously a number of enthusiasts who execute a last-minute plan but here I am rather converging on ‘The Lovely Indian Middle Class Family travelers’ who make plans and bookings well in advance and then eagerly wait for the D-day.
The Vacation Plan
Indian Vacation planning, I tell you, is nothing short of a fun filled circus where suggestions (read super excited Voices) would pour in from 5 directions. (if the 5th one ever gets discovered)
“GOA, for sure GOA. Why are we even discussing the options man?” Usually the discussions start on this note where young and happening of the family are 100% sure that their say really matters and that their opinion will actually be the deciding factor, but the elders of the very same family are 200 % sure of otherwise. 🙂
Then commences the real Olympics where the very purpose of vacation is discussed at length whether to plan a peaceful vacation or an adventurous one, whether to leave for the beautiful peaks of Himachal and Kashmir or to give in to the Royal charm of Rajasthan, whether to get mesmerized by India’s pride The Taj Mahal or simply enjoy backwaters of Kerala and the process goes on for a while. Even though the spicy pondering to finalize a destination seems to be a never-ending and at times an argumentative process but more often than not, a place does get finalized during first or second round of discussions.
Itinerary comes next. While the parents try to fit in Sundays and other official day offs in their tour, the kids, especially the school going ones, yell to the limit of pulling their intestines out to vouch for covering maximum working days in the vacation plan so as to officially and legally bunk school for as many days as possible.
After some discussions – No wait, not that simple guys – after lots & lots of discussions, the Vacation Manager,(who is usually either the Head of the family or the Ring Master of family teenagers) freezes the itinerary.
On a very lighter but factual note, time taken for an Indian vacation planning is inversely proportional to the number of ladies involved in discussions. 🙂
Of the thousand permutations and combinations that are worked out before finalizing anything, few look like the following: –
Train + 4 star Hotel OR,
Flight + 3 star Hotel OR,
Train + 3 star Hotel + Fine Dining OR,
Flight + 2 star Hotel + SPA + The Great Indian Dhaba Dining … Etc etc
Somehow the best combo gets worked out, at least on paper it looks best and completely mind blowing. The Desi Vacation manager of the family suddenly starts thinking “O my God! I am just genius when it comes to planning the vacations, with my home-made package boasting of elephant size inclusions at the cost of peanuts. I should consider this hobby of mine as a career. No, Seriously Man”. This thought though fizzles out soon only to resurface during next planning.
The Waiting period
And then begins the waiting period full of excitement and joy which keep on increasing as the vacation date approaches. Somehow most of the routine talks end up in discussions about holiday -what all fun we are going to do, how we gonna do this, do that, we will try this, we will eat that etc.
Amidst these fun talks, subconscious mind of wonderful mothers/wives gets filled with the thoughts of packing because they know the longer the holiday time, the tougher their task gets. Its not like Men never do the packing but there is something really magical about packing by the super women of our families, even if you give them a single bag, they will just get all paraphernalia tucked in so properly, no matter how large the quantum of stuff to be packed is -right from a tooth brush to a travel iron to the bundles of clothes and of course the travel essentials – Biscuits & Namkeens for the special Indian hunger attack which can strike any time anywhere or in our own words – ‘Kabhi bhi kahin bhi’ 🙂
On the contrary, most guys try their level best but more often than not, their efforts end up in mayhem.
And Finally – The Vacations
As the Holidays begin, smiles widen on each of the face, everyone just enjoy themselves and if the destination turns out to be as beautiful and as great as expected , the vacation manager of the family becomes an overnight Star and he /she feels as if he/she has executed a divine act of God by choosing that particular place for vacations.
The two greatest ingredients of our vacations besides site seeing are – Photo Sessions & the Masala Tea. We have always loved clicking photographs. Much before social media and smart phones came into existence, Yashica Cameras used to be our permanent travel companion. How indispensable the photographs have become today can be judged from the fact that if god forbid, all the photographs get deleted unintentionally, you feel as if all the time & money just got wasted as virtually you haven’t visited any place at all. Besides, you really feel like killing the person accused of this heinous photograph crime, no matter how close he or she is to your good self.
And what to talk of sipping early morning & late evening Masala Chai (Spicy Indian Tea with lots of Ginger & Cardamom), Man we just love it!
Another interesting fact is that while SPA usually tops priority list of most of us in the planning stage however in the middle of the holidays, it suddenly comes across as shear wastage of time & money and spending on food & shopping instead starts making so much sense .Though, a few of my friends stay firm and enjoy the massage.
Back to Home Sweet Home
After all the oodles of laughter, fun and the ‘Masti’ as we love to call it, there has to come the time to get back to reality and routine chores but not before everyone enthusiastically expresses the unbound happiness experienced during these days and how they all will try to travel together more often. Tell you what, if one really wants to understand what exactly Happy Family means, He /she just needs to travel along an Indian Family on vacations. Wide Smiles, Happy Faces, too much Fun.
And hey, just another little crispy fact as a curtain call, well we find it extremely difficult these days to resist the lure of uploading our best or even not so good selfies on Instagram and Facebook much before we reach home.
Amidst all the hoola-gulas and bundle full of happy memories, Vacations finally come to an end, only to make way for the next one.
Cover Image Credit & a thank you to : Trip Savvy
Hi all ! Guys I have just tried to bring a little smile on all your faces by presenting facts in a lighter way . I hope I succeeded in doing that .
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Namaste & take care !
Read Europe Travel Blog Series here : An Incredible Train Journey to the top of the Europe – Interlaken Ost Station to Jungfraujoch (Switzerland Diaries) !