Thursday, March 22, 2018

All by myself

Last month, I did what I'd never done before. I travelled without Xena. In fact, I was travelling by myself after a decade! The last solo flight I took was in 2008 when I flew to Boston on work. Of course, back then Xena was not in the picture. Once she was born, she accompanied me everywhere. But this time I couldn't take her along. She's no longer in preschool, she's in proper, serious school now and I can't just randomly take off with her. But I had to go. It was my cousin's wedding in India -- one that I absolutely needed to attend. He lives with my parents now and is actually like my own brother really. There was no way I'd miss his wedding.

So I briefed father and daughter to the best of my abilities and took off. My mom-in-law offered to come and help Viv and Xena out in my absence, but I requested her not to 'come to the rescue' so quickly. Viv and I split Xena-related duties equally and just as I manage to do it all when he's travelling, I was confident he'd do the same. Just that the system had never been tested. Though Viv is perfectly capable of taking care of Xena by himself, there had never been a time when I was not in the picture. I needed all three of us to go through this experience without external assistance and see how we fare. Me without her, and them without me. It was important that we knew how to do this.

Viv and Xena did absolutely great, but it was a rather strange experience for me. Liberating, yes, but also very strange. Not so much because I was flying by myself but because I was flying without her. In fact, I kept forgetting that she wasn't with me!

Here are some random thoughts and snippets from the trip.


Me (thinking to myself while waiting at the boarding gate) - OMG where is my other carry-on luggage??? I had two, didn't I? Did I forget one somewhere??
Me (1 second later) - Oh wait, I'm thinking of Xena...


Me (while boarding) - OMG, a flight without Xena! I can watch all sorts of stuff on the inflight entertainment!
Me (1 second later) - Oh wait, I'm flying AirAsia, not Singapore Airlines...


Me (in the flight in the middle of the night) - I need to pee, but how?? I can't wake her up to take her along and I can't leave her sleeping next to a stranger and go!
Me (1 second later) - Oh wait.
Me (in toilet) - OMG I can pee in the airplane toilet without company! Anytime I want! Wooohooo!


Old uncle at transit - Beta, can you help me connect to the WiFi?
Me (looking at him and his wife suspiciously, and thinking) - OMG this is what they do. They distract you with a question and then their partner-in-crime takes off with your luggage!
Me (clutching my handbag tightly) - *connects old uncle's and his wife's phones to the WiFi*
Uncle/Aunty - Thank you, beta.
Me (thinking) - OMG where's my other carry-on??? Did they flick it?? Oh wait, that's Xena I'm thinking of... again.


Relative 1 at wedding (judgy look) - You left Xena behind and came???
Me (proud look) - Yes.
Relative 1 - And she was ok?
Me (prouder look) - Yes.
Relative 1 - She won't miss you?
Me (proudest look) - I don't think so.
Me (thinking in panic) - OMG what if she doesn't miss me at all?

Relative 2 - Did she cry at the airport?
Me - Cry? No.
Relative 2 - Then what did she say?
Me - "Bye, Mommy. Daddy, let's go home now."
Relative 2 (looking shocked) - Wow...


Relative 3 - How will she manage??
Me - I didn't leave her behind all by herself. Viv is there.
Relative 3 - He can manage??
Me - Of course. He's the father.
Relative 3 - Wow...


5-year-old nephew - Where is Xenaaaa????
Me - Oh, she hasn't come... it's just me this time.
Nephew - Waaaaaaaa! Xena didn't come?? Waaaaaaa!
Nephew's mother - Oh dear, we didn't know she wasn't coming. He spent all morning cleaning his room and prepping the toys he was going to share with her.


Aunt - Come over for dinner tomorrow. I'll have all your favourite things ready. Pani puri? Mutton biryani? What else?
Me - Spicy pani puri and spicy mutton biryani sound YUM.
Aunt - Ok. What else would you like to eat?
Me - Nothing else, this is more than enough.
Me (thinking) - Oh but then what will Xena eat??
Me (1 second later) - Oh.


Me - What time is the wedding?
Mom - The muhurat is for 11 pm.
Me (thinking) - Oh nooo, I'll miss it then. I'll need to get Xena to bed and I can't leave her there.
Me (1 second later) - Oh wait.


Me (day before the wedding) - What time is the XYZ ceremony?
Mom - Around 3-4 pm.
Me (thinking) - Oh no, naptime clash.
Me (1 second later) - Oh wait.


Mom - Take this clutch along, it will match your sari.
Me (thinking) - No no, I don't like to carry a purse when I'm in a sari; it's easier to manage her if I have nothing in my hands.
Me (1 second later) - Oh wait.


Me (dancing in the baraat in the middle of the road at 10 pm) - OMG I'm dancing in the baraat in the middle of the road at 10 pm.


Me (taking 93248273427 photos with the bride and the groom and the 23847328947 cousins) - OMG where's my kid??
Me (1 second later) - Oh.

Me (in the middle of the wedding) - I wonder what Viv and Xena are up to.
Me (1 second later) - Hope they're having fun.
Me (1 second later) - Bet they're having fun.
Me (1 second later) - Wait. Hope they're not having too much fun without me!


Whatever said and done, it was nice to have Roby the robot carefully placed on my keyboard to welcome me back (Xena was at school when I got home from the airport). 


The Gardener said...

So, being without Xena for the first time, was a weird experience!

Sowmya said...

Hahaha! It really is a weird experience. On one hand I had no idea what to do with all the free time on my hands and on the other, I would subconsciously start panicking about delayed lunch or nap times because I was at a massage or a movie. And I could write a book about people's reactions on hearing the kid is spending a few days with dad (the horror!)

wildflower said...

This is such an incredibly sweet and entertaining post!!

How do we know said...

I cannot love your posts enough!!

Charan Deep Singh said...

Hi Sayesha

Didn't see your "April is coming" post...

Are you participating this year???

I am.