In less than a month, we leave for Calcutta. All three of my faithful regular readers know from previous posts how much (or how little) I look forward to these trips. Me and large families – in fact, large gatherings of any description – are just not made for each other.
What’s more, this time we’re not flying – it’s just too expensive, what with two kids over two – we’re taking the train. Two trains, each way, with a night halt at Chennai. The good part is that we’re going AC First Class, so if we’re lucky, we’ll maybe get a coupe to ourselves at least for the long leg from Chennai to Calcutta. The bad part? Well, close to 48 hours in transit with two two-year-olds, twice in ten days – need I say more?
The twins are a good ten months older than on our last visit, so naturally some things have changed.This time, I can carry far fewer diapers, and no milk bottles with the whole troublesome sterilizing business. On the other hand, though, there’s the toilet seat to carry and hundreds of bathroom calls to cope with.
Other apprehensions remain the same: the language barrier, which is now compounded by the fact that, like me, the twins are far more proficient in English and Hindi than Bengali; the problem of maintaining some degree of discipline and some semblance of schedule with the kids; trying, politely, to persuade people that there are other ways of interacting with kids apart from carrying them and feeding them sweet snacks all the time; the dietary temptations I will face on a daily basis, and how to avoid them or minimize the harm; the too-hectic socialising; and the inevitable late dinner and sleep schedule which will combine with the kids’ early sleep-wake cycles to render me a sleepless wreck.
Not that I’m complaining, of course (no, no, not complaining at all, of course not. What, me? Complain?), the in-laws are all very nice people and very warm and accommodating with me. It’s just the usual problems of being in someone else’s house, compounded by my own shyness and awkwardness that makes me worry. I suppose, like last year, it will eventually turn out not so bad, but the apprehensions persist.