Do a Ranthambore

"Dolling", shrieked Sid, stumbling in laden with books.  "This year I have resolved to make New Year resolutions. No one makes them anymore because it was so "last-year" to make resolutions that I've decided to be a trend setter, go against the tide and make it fashionable again.  Resolutions are now "in", forget "last year", they are soooo "this-year".  I blew gently on to my steaming cup of tea, nursing the plump mug between my palms and asked him what the trend was in resolutions this year. "Oh I have a whole list m'love, starting with being a part of this HT Brunch book challenge...I shall put the challengers to shame! Will read so many books their heads will spin...well, I may not read all of them, but I will upload pictures of all of them so that in the world of social media I will be the champion. Facebook, after all, is all that matters.  As long as the pictures are up there, people will believe anything no?!"  I rolled my eyes and said, "In your case, they should definitely be judging a book by it's cover, nothing beyond the jacket! What a solid plan...such resolution! To spend more time on Facebook uploading pictures of a fake on-trend!"  He chuckled, "Oh bubz, I will of course read most of them, but what if they're absolute snoozers, like this fellow here - Chetan Bhagat? Writing about some IIT I really want to know about them!  Might have to skip him.  Now this Ben Okri chap...pretty cover, I'll tackle this one first." I bit my tongue and let him continue.  "Molly, Mia", he bellowed and for once the two hounds trotted towards him on hearing their names, maybe their new year resolution was to be more obedient!  "Come with me chaps, I may need your help tackling these books. If I need to upload pictures, we need to make sure the books look like I've thumbed through them and given them a good read. Chew on this one a bit Molly, and Mia you can dog-ear this one...". I tried to explain to him that 'dog-ears' weren't made by dogs, but they had already vanished to the bedroom.

He emerged ten minutes later looking utterly exhausted.  "Bubz, this reading is very tiring. I need a
break. Be a good girl and fix me a cup of coffee, please!" As I switched the machine on, I asked him what he had started reading, which elicited the surprised response of "Read what? Oh the books - I was writing my name in all of them."  I told him that he was continuing much in the tradition of most new year resolutions, abandoning them mid-way, or in his case, even before he could start!  He pish-toshed me, and made some other strange sounds to convey his disregard of my opinion and then said, "At least, I am making the effort to make a resolution. What about you? What's your's bubzie?"  I thought before I answered - I had actually thought quite a lot about it over the past few weeks - "To do a Ranthambore".  He "pish-toshed" and snorted and made various other guttural sounds before saying, "Oh please, that isn't a resolution, you want to go to Ranthambore - that's not a resolution. That isn't even hard to do - you have to choose something that takes some effort, not plan a holiday with jaunty hats and Shikari Shambu outfits!"  I silenced him with a snort (we are both adept at conveying a wealth of meaning through sounds emitted through our noses and throats!), and said "Not GO to Ramthambore, I mean a metaphorical Ranthambore...oh dear god, I've lost you already, pay attention".  He shut his gaping mouth and decided to listen. Hmm, perhaps obedience was also going to be one of his resolutions this year (unintentional of course!).

I explained to him about how I had been thinking a lot about Ranthambore.  Last month my parents were going to be in Delhi for Christmas with us. After that, my sister and her family, Sid and I, some friends and my parents were going to take off to Ranthambore for a couple of days for a short holiday.  Over the last two years or more, with work and travel being fairly hectic for me, I had become fairly lazy and busy to focus on some of my personal relationships.  I didn't visit my parents as often, I didn't speak to or meet my friends as often and even with Sid who I live with, I take for granted the time we have together.  We didn't go out as often or go on holidays like we used to initially.  The little time I wasn't travelling on work, I just wanted to be at home and not go anywhere. I had felt quite guilty about not going home to see my parents as often, though they did come to Delhi a couple of times, and even our phone conversations had become brief and hurried as I was always having to rush somewhere or the other. I was happy my parents were coming to Delhi for Christmas, something they had never done as we always went to them in Bangalore, and I was looking forward to showing off some of my Christmas baking and cooking for them, and especially for my dad - Ranthambore. He loved travelling with us and as soon as I suggested we go out of town for a couple of days when they came to Delhi, he immediately jumped in excitement and said "Let's go for a safari...Ranthambore".  I was happy that we would spend some quality time there and amidst trying to spot tigers, we would play endless games of Taboo, eat and drink aplenty, whine and moan about my dad wanting us to do everything on schedule, and generally have a good time. Planning was well underway and my dad was driving all of us quite crazy with his calls about what time we would take the safari and what in the world did I mean that I didn't know and "Whatever" was not a reply and nations were not built and wars not won with a "Whatever" attitude! He wanted to know who was going to sit in which car on the drive over, the occupants in each jeep for the safari and had detailed conversations with Siddharth about buying another camera for the trip.  The calls to each of us asking the specifics and details became rather incessant and if one of us didn't pick up, he would immediately call the other to complain that his calls were not being answered!

Unfortunately, Ranthambore never happened.  The trip that all of us, and especially I, was looking forward to, spending some much needed time with my dad - to make up for being rather erratic in the quantity and quality of time I had spent with him recently.  And now it was much too late.  I looked
up and Sid had a strange look on his face, a mix of sadness and alarm.  I asked him if he was alright.  He nodded and said, "I know it's sad Bubz and I was looking forward to it too. I have a confession to make. You know how your dad secretly thought he took better pictures than me? I had full intentions of taking some kick-ass pics on this trip and showing off in front of him. I also thought I would knock his elbow every now and then so his pics would come shaky. Oh god, do you think he is hearing all this?" He looked around alarmed as if my dad's hand would come shooting down from the heavens and swat his bald head. He flinched as if imagining it! I burst out laughing, "Well if he is listening, he's probably thinking that the next time you're shooting, he'll definitely knock your elbow just to pay you back for thinking that!"  He looked a bit worried, while I continued, "So anyway, for me "Ranthambore" isn't the actual trip.  I want to just be there more and spend more time with family, friends and people who I have tended to overlook because of work or being busy with something or the other. Mine is not so much a resolution, but rather something I'm unfortunately learning the hard way. I couldn't do Ramthambore with him, but there are others I need to do this with.  He looked like he was going to cry, "Oh bubz, your's is so meaningful and my resolution is crap. The dogs have already eaten part of that Chetan Bhagat book and I don't wanna read all those books...I want your resolution". I looked at him amused, "I don't have ownership over it you know, you're welcome to do a Ranthambore yourself".  He cheered up immensely at this prospect and declared that he would be the bestest son, husband, dog-father, friend, son-in-law that ever was that year and starting that very minute he was going to call my mom to have a chat.  Minutes later I heard him speaking with her, "Yes yes you must come over...and make me laal maas please, oh and biryani, oh and that chocolate truffle tart". "Siddharth", I called out threateningly from the other room, "Spending time does not mean asking her to come over and make you something to eat!" I heard him lower his voice and say "Ma'am this Reem is being a spoil sport. I will have to call you later"!  I smiled to myself and settled in with my half chewed book - this HT Book Challenge fit in quite well with doing a "Ranthambore" - making time for the things and people you love!


Karen said…
We must do some "baking" Ranthambor-ing this year. Catch up on all the cakes we thought we'd have a go at last year.
Reem said…
Haha you used it right Karen :) and yes, we definitely need to do that...let's aim for the long weekend or at least before Valentine's day!
Lover Baba said…

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge
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