I, finally have an achievement to speak of, for my existence of over the better part of three decades. Having dithered, dilly’ed, procrastinated and for good measure, dally’ed for over three weeks since the seed of the idea germinated, the wife and I finally left the bustling and apparently irresistible force that is Mumbai for a purely voluntary weekend away, in Mahabaleshwar.
Before I’m faced with allegations of falsely trying to paint myself as a workaholic, it was always just laziness. Firstly, the time and more importantly effort that goes into figuring out a weekend destination is pretty much that goes into planning a year-long hiatus, or what must’ve gone into the invasion of Troy. Secondly, when compared to setting the alarm for 8.30am just for the bliss of pressing ‘Off’ and turning over for an additional couple of hours, the idea of being up dark and early (if it was bright, it’d wouldn’t really be early would it?) to *gasp* shower…and be *choke* physically active seemed just plain dumb. That said, not trying desperately, and succeeding, at looking like a vegetable over an entire day does have its rewards. It helped that the missus took on the onerous task of planning the invasion, namely means of transport and potential hotels.
A late night bus ride got us there; you guessed it, dark and early. Our cab driver’s doubts after hearing our hotel’s name – Fredrick, were justified when we came across a locked gate and an unanswered reception phone number. It was only later that day, as we walked about town, it struck us that our original hotel was the only one that didn’t display “Only Pure Veg.”, almost as prominently as the name of the hotel itself. I’d take up the cause for this blatant discrimination against those of us who prefer their food to have had a mother, preferably well-marinated, but this was a vacation wasn’t it.
Out and about after a hearty breakfast and the overarching theme is red. Everywhere you look, a dimpled red with a short green stalk adorns every storefront. Also the storesides storeback and storeroof. Enter the missus. Now, the woman I married is for the most part, a balanced, level-headed person, the odd transgressions being around chocolate, shoes and bags, in that order. Within minutes of entering the market-square though, she had a gleam in her eyes, that I remember having seen only once before, when I’d done the unthinkable and voluntarily tossed a sock into the washing machine instead of its usual resting place, on the coffee table. There is a scene in The Matrix, where Morpheus takes Neo through his first training simulation of the matrix. As Neo fights his way against the flow of the crowd, Morpheus glides through unimpeded. Ditto here! As I politely dealt with gents of dubious face-reading skills who kept coming up insisting that I looked like Ganpati and would have three progeny, she glided. We mutually decided that the emotion could only be described as strappiness, a state of blissful happiness arising from being in the vicinity of millions of strawberries.