“You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned… You cannot go wrong with no plans.”
– A dialogue from the movie ‘Parasite‘
Papa has mostly been an absentee father for most of the time we were growing up. He was just not there. Even if he was, it was only for a few hours a day, the rest of the time being dutifully spent in his service as an administrative officer, being transferred from one place to another. Sometimes, the gap lengthened and we met only for a few days a month, and sometimes for even a few hours a month! So he was not there for most of the parent-teachers’ meeting. It was mostly mother-teachers’ meeting for us. He was not there to scold me when I failed in my Chemistry internal examination. He was not there in the audience to clap and cheer as I was being awarded the ISC All-rounder. He just was not there.
We have never had a family holiday. While my friends regaled us with their sagas of their adventures in Jim Corbett or of the picturesque natural beauty down South, I mostly drifted away from the conversation, poking every now and then to change the topic of discussion.
This was until I completed my schooling- that is- seventeen years of shying away from Papa, seventeen years of not venturing out of my home state, seventeen years until Papa finally returned home! Yes! It was only after I left for college that Papa was transferred to our native city, the city where we have our home and not merely a house.
Now with all of us four siblings in different cities, and Mumma and Papa at home, the situation is not much different as it was while growing up; but it certainly has taken a turn for better. When we go home for holidays, Papa is there. Yes, he has his work but now he makes room for more time to be spent with us.
Last year, the complaint of not having had a family holiday was finally redeemed. Papa did make an unprecedented shift from the usual and took LEAVE FROM HIS WORK (*drumrolls please*) for us to go on a ten-day vacation to the hills!. The catch here was, owing to our past failures of planning a holiday, we did not make any travel plans beforehand! We just set off, often deciding our next route a night before.
Life comes in full circles. Presently, we are all locked down in our own houses. With Covid-19 posing a lot of complexities to an individual and also to the world at large, it sure has lots of positive takeaways as well. The Nature is beaming in joy, replenishing itself, and giving the world a gentle reminder to limit its greeds. The humankind is gradually coming to terms with humanity, and hopefully this shall continue for long.
For us, there is an added joy. Papa is with us. This time – 24 × 7!