Bombay, bas

Published on December 4th, 2014

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Ah, December!

A Mumbaikar makes a wish list for holiday destinations as December sets in, with its festivities and wonderful cool climate.
Pooja Birwatkarby Dr Pooja Birwatkar

I find that December, of all the months, is most charming, the most awaited and most celebrated as we look forward to the new year while waving goodbye to the old year. It is also the time of the year when the holiday mood that sets in with the Diwali break is on the brink of culmination.

With the chill in the air (though Mumbai is still battling with humidity and heat in the day time), our  moods also calm down as we await the Xmas spirit and the excitement of the impending new year. For most of us, however, it’s a time for a mini-break from the city, especially if we’ve had a less-than-happy year.

Few years ago, holidays were actually visits to grandparents and the homes of extended family members. However now with our ultra-nuclear and condensing family structures such plans are in for a face change. As a devoted Mumbaikar, my getaway plan comprises filling the void created by missing so many things I want to do but never get the chance to. And hence, my ideal holiday destination must have the following:

First, the place must not be crowded. We see so many people in Mumbai that my idea of a holiday is to be in a place where there is nobody around for miles. Though my experience tells me that after the initial euphoria of being in a place without people in it, we Mumbaikars start feeling uneasy with the lack of crowds. Pretty much like the classic tale of the fisherwoman who, when given a chance to sleep in the most luxurious room devoid of any noise and smell of fish, kept tossing and turning the entire night and could finally sleep only when a basket of  fish was kept near her bedside. She was probably a Mumbaikar.

Next, the place must have greenery. This is something we long for and satisfy ourselves with the small potted plants kept on our window sills and the few unkempt gardens around us. We want to Saying goodbye to 2014run on green grass, swing on the drooping branches of trees, feel mud under our bare feet, smell the aroma of wet soil, see the blooming flowers and the hovering butterflies, and for once, see some beautiful birds other than our constant uninvited guests, the pigeons and crows. We also long for tree-lined roads with branches swaying in a light breeze. I am sure it would be most Mumbaikars dream to lay their hands on a hose pipe and water the plants in a garden.

The next on my wish list is for many of us a place that offers sumptuous sea food or anything that satisfies a non-vegetarian’s delight. Okay, I don’t mind eating vegetarian food as well, as long as it is affordable, because I find Mumbai eateries rob me of my hard-earned money with every meal I eat out.

Oh, and the place must be a commuter’s delight. I don’t want to stand in long queues for transport, I don’t want to be pushed and shoved while travelling. I want to occupy the entire seat on the train and look out of the window at green meadows and peaceful scenes.

When I go shopping, I want to pick up stuff that I will not find in Mumbai (where one can find anything, trust me). I want to pick up things that will adorn my shelves and keep reminding me that I will take another holiday in the coming year. Besides, I want to boast and make those people jealous, who don’t go anywhere for a break but prefer to sit at home in the holiday season.

Most importantly, the place should have no technology, at least, no Internet connectivity. Okay, I want no Internet connectivity for work, but I do want Whatsapp and social networking sites to function because I want to put up pictures of the places I am seeing.

Now to the most crucial element: arranging the money for the trip. Every Mumbaikar has a wish list of this sort, but not the finances for the expensive holiday that it will inevitably become. I propose a special provision for us Mumbaikars: Give us a mandatory tax rebate on our annual holidays. We deserve breaks more than the others do.

(Pictures courtesy www.sparomdee.com, ww.itimes.com)

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