In the pre-sprog days, road trips were a matter of spontaneity, unplanned and loose in the wind like the two of us were. The spouse would mutter on a Friday night, weary of the prospect of a long weekend stretching out in front of us, “Let’s go to Goa.” I would pull out a duffel bag and throw in a few items of clothing, the toothbrushes and we were set. The next morning before the dawn had cracked the sky, we would be off in our trusty little Maruti Zen, zipping down the NH4, reaching Goa just in time for lunch with leisurely beers at the hotel and then to head down to the beach for sunset with sundowners in one of the many shacks that peppered the shoreline.
The spouse would mutter on a Friday night, weary of the prospect of a long weekend stretching out in front of us, “Let’s go to Goa.” I would pull out a duffle bag and throw in a few items of clothing, the toothbrushes and we were set.
We would wake up at leisure the next morning and just drive through the state on a whim and a fancy, following road signs, finding our way across estuaries, passing jewel-colored homes with red-tiled roofs and pristine white churches set like jewels in the midst of huge red mud grounds, crossing the rivers Mandovi and Zuari, taking the evening cruise down the Mandovi and locating beaches still pristine back then in the southern part of the state, visiting the Mangeshi temple and being awestruck by the Basilica of Bom Jesus. And of course, the weighing scale was never kinder when one returned, thanks to the gluttony that went into those few days—the cafreal, the xacuti, the vindaloo, the sorpotel that would be consumed at each meal was enough to have me get into clothes with generous give and elastics on my return.
When the sprog came along, this changed forever and in ways I could never imagine. The days of throwing together a couple of things had gone and now packing for a trip began with the making of an Excel sheet. It included everything one needed to pack for the offspring. And a separate list for the medications. Let me be honest, I was not a chilled out mother. I panicked easily. Packing for the offspring included packing three sets of clothes for each day of the trip and three more because inevitably he would manage to get himself drenched from the tip of the cowlick on his head to his Crocs clad feet within two seconds of being bathed and dressed. Therefore clothes, many of them, medicines, and toys. And this is, of course, post him being out of diapers.
When the sprog came along, this changed forever and in ways I could never imagine. The days of throwing together a couple of things had gone and now packing for a trip began with the making of an Excel sheet.
Traveling before he was potty trained meant that one carried one’s own body weight in diapers and formula, and sterilizers. A road trip to Goa with the offspring was always an exercise in acknowledging that when God was distributing patience, I had probably slipped out of the queue for a toilet break. As soon as we settled in the car and turned out of the lane from home, it would begin. A statement that would then pipe up one million times before we would finally reach. “Wen we will reach d beach?” The McDonalds golden arches at Panvel would be waited for and we would go in for a chikkabuggawidcheez which he would promptly hurl up ten minutes into the expressway. Avomine would be dutifully administered and he would drift into a peaceful sleep and wake up just as one hit the winding climbing ghats across from the NH4 to Amboli, perfect timing to begin hurling again. Regan in The Exorcist had nothing on his projectile vomit skills. I have entered the lobby of Taj Aguada hair encrusted in dried barf which is not perhaps the most soigné way to make an entrance.
And then there was our joy at lazing around on the beach for the entire day which quite changed with the arrival of the offspring who was particular that all his swimming would happen only in the baby pool because in the sea “Eyes is burning” thanks to the salt water. As for driving around unfettered through the day, finding places off the map, those were a thing of the past too. Everything had to be within the radius of civilization and a sudden tantrummy demand for Blue Lays. He’s older now, a college-going lad. We haven’t done a road trip with him in a long while. Perhaps we just might, soon. Perhaps now he won’t begin with the “Wen will we reach the beach” within five minutes of leaving home.
Kiran Manral is the Ideas Editor at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author's own.