Apologies for going AWOL (in case anyone is still around).
And now my excuses for doing so. I caught a fever through some viral infection (that's what the doctor said) thrice within about a month. Two of those times, the Guy passed it on to me.
We had our vacation to Assam planned for January, and were leaving on Saturday the 17th. I had planned to write a nice au revoir post on Thursday or Friday. But we both got the fever about a couple of days before we were to leave on our Assam vacation. What with me being on leave the next week, I couldn't afford to call in sick, and worked through my illness. It was hard enough for me to get through my regular day's work without giving in - I had simply no energy left to take up the laptop after I got home.
Our flight was from Bombay on Saturday. I worked my regular hours on Friday, and then came home. The Guy had been working from home, and he had kept dinner ready for me. I was home for an hour before we left to take an auto to the station. I suggested checking my temperature, hardly thinking it was necessary, as I was feeling okay, though tired. It turned out my temperature was near 100.
The Guy went to find an auto but returned unsuccessful. We piled our things (including my mom's sewing machine that she wanted back) into our car, drove to the Guy's office, parked the car there and took a rickshaw to the bus stop. Our urgency had increased because we found out that the bus wasn't starting from the regular place but from somewhere a bit further.
We found a very helpful autowallah who got us there on time and helped us find our bus. The bus was supposed to start at 11, but finally started moving at midnight. It dropped us near the airport at a quarter past 2. (Fastest ride to Bombay I've ever had!)
We took a rickshaw to the airport, a mere 2-minute ride. They were cleaning the airport and refused to let us in till 3.30. Then we went in and whiled the time away. Our flight was at 10.40. But it was a Kingfisher flight, and while the seats were close together and uncomfortable, the food and the service were excellent. We reached Guwahati feeling tired but not ill.
We had planned to go to Kaziranga, but decided the drive down would be too tiring, especially for the Guy, whose back was giving trouble. So we spent a nice relaxing week in Guwahati, attending a wedding, meeting relatives, playing with my niece, and making friends with my ten-year-old cousin who lives with my mom.
We got back on Sunday. Regular blogging is expected to resume.
It was a hurriedly planned trip. The Guy's sister, brother-in-law and niece were in town, and they asked if we wanted to accompany them. I've always wanted to go, and the Guy and I had been trying to plan a visit. My mom's an enthusiastic traveller too. So there we were in a car hurtling towards Aurangabad.
I am so glad we went. My only regret was that we had too little time. From all I had read, I expected Ajanta to be wonderful, and Ellora much less so. But the Guy and I enjoyed Ellora (where we got to spend only a couple of hours) thoroughly. If I had a choice I would go there again rather than to Ajanta. Ajanta has luminous - now sadly decayed - art. But Ellora has magnificent sculpture. See for yourselves. The first picture is of Ajanta and the next two of Ellora. But pictures really don't do the caves justice - it's dark inside and you're not allowed to use a flash in most of the ones in Ajanta.
On our way back we stopped by some temple that the in-laws wanted to visit. The place was filthy and stank strongly. We needed to go to the loo but when my mom enterprisingly looked into the public toilet she found it covered in shit. People came over and asked if we needed 'arrangements for bathing'. Apparently it was auspicious to bathe before you go into the temple. (In those bathrooms? I didn't ask.) We waited by the car for the in-laws to come back.
The Guy pointed out to the next car, where a little boy peed out of the car door. The rest of the inhabitants seemed unconcerned.
I fumed. "Why doesn't he go pee on his mother instead?"
"Maybe he does," suggested the Guy.
"Yeah, but why don't they just pee on each other instead of dirtying the rest of the place?"
A little while later, the lady who was sitting by the car window (I assume she was the little boy's mom or some other relative) dropped her hanky. Right near you-know-where. And another boy helpfully picked it up and gave it back to her, and then trod over the ground barefoot. I wonder what their house looks like - actually, I'd prefer not to think about it.
Something else I prefer not to remember is the sight of all those men clad in nothing but dhotis. "The sight of all these topless men is enough to turn me off for a year," I said to the Guy. (Thankfully, I was proved wrong.)
But I would like to go back to Ellora and walk within those cool walls again.
The Guy went away for two months - our longest separation ever since we got together. And while it was a tough time, I'm glad we had it. I enjoyed some of the solitude, the leisure, and I feel more grown up as a result of it.
I got some wonderful new readers, and am thrilled that a couple of bloggers I read and admire read this blog. Lekhni, Banno, IHM, Chandni, Aneela, Praveen, Pallu, Emma... thank you all for making me feel I'm not speaking in a vacuum.
In a year that has had so much bad news on terrorism and the economy, I am thankful to have so much good happened in my life.
On a more cheerful note, the Guy and I celebrated the New Year properly for the first time last night. We had a long (and very large*) dinner at our favourite restaurant. (That place has good food, nice decor - and excellent service.) We also - another first for both of us, I think - set goals for the next year. Financial, career, and health-related goals. I suggested we bring some of our professional planning skills to our personal life. Let's see how it plays out.
To all of you - and us - may this year be more fabulous than any that came before, and may we exceed all our goals.
*A full list of what we ate: potato and leek soup followed by a bell pepper starter, a Virgin Mary for me and a Coke for the Guy, then a plate of potato wedges, a Coke for me and a lime soda for the Guy, a main course of spagetti, and tiramisu for dessert.