The kids are falling over themselves with excitement at the prospect of going to Calcutta. They’ve been hearing about the trip for a while, but in the middle it looked doubtful that they would end up going, so we stopped talking to them about it. Then, suddenly, things fell in place over the weekend. On Monday morning, they couldn’t wait to get to school and daycare and tell their friends and teachers that they were off. And on Tuesday morning, oh boy! I got out of bed at 5.40 or so, and Mrini came bouncing into the room before I’d had time to wash my face. She was bright-eyed, chirpy, and bursting with energy. It was difficult to keep them under control for the next three hours while we wound our way through the morning regime (adapted to the new circumstances) and all got out of the house at the relatively relaxed hour of 8.45. I walked them all to the bus stop and waited till the big red Volvo came along. Then, in a moment, they were all aboard, too busy to wave at me or spare me a glance. The girls completely understand that I’m not going with them, but to look at them you’d think they couldn’t care less. Oh, I’m not hurt – it’s great! It means they’re absolutely secure and confident without me around, which is good. According to our cook, Mrini won’t be able to last without me. According to their daycare coordinator, Amit will do just fine and the kids will manage themselves. According to a random water seller at the railway station platform, kids can’t travel without mummy. According to Amit and me – they’ll be fine. It’s Amit who’s going to be on his toes keeping them out of trouble, and me who’s going to be at a loss this evening when I get home.
But it’s lovely to see them so excited about this trip. This level of involvement and excitement is a first. This time, they participated aggressively (and a bit frustratingly, it must be said) in the packing and they got to carry their school bags with a change of clothes, snacks, and tennis rackets. According to initial reports, they got into the train, settled the matter of who would sleep on which berth and set to work investigating the ins and outs of the cabin. They are so high on energy and excitement that I’m betting they’ll be exhausted and fall asleep soon after lunch. Hopefully giving Amit time to recuperate.
Just as they boarded the bus, hands slipping out of mine and into Amit’s without a pause for thought, I was tempted to jump on the bus with them. Amit didn’t help by telling me that there seems to be one berth free in their cabin and I still had enough time to rush to the station. (I didn’t; and besides, one can’t go for a wedding in Calcutta clad in a pair of formal black trousers and Allen Solly shirt.) But, unfortunately, leave is a finite entity (except for Amit, who might soon be on long term unpaid leave again… but that’s another matter altogether) and we’ve decided to spend my vacation time trekking in Uttaranchal in April. With the kids. That’s going to be a first and definitely something we’re all looking forward to. And this is a first too, so let’s see how I can make the most of it.