You may have noticed that my writing has been a little quiet lately. And no, it’s not the summer burnout with kids at home. I had a big reason, one from a land far far away. Visiting India with kids is a big undertaking but the opportunity to connect with family and the rewards of being immersed in the India culture make the cumbersome journey to the other side of the world worth it.
Every summer my husband and I pack up the kids and fly from Toronto to New Delhi. The timing of the vacation has varied in the past when coordinating work and school schedules required some serious juggling. Since I started to work from home these trips have become more leisurely and easier manage.
I wanted to share with you a little taste of my travels over the summer – experiences that I will miss on those quiet days when we slide back into our normal lives in Toronto.
Visiting India With Kids
While my husband and I have lived around the world, our closest friends and family still live in India. Even a few days immersed in the warm hug that is India is enough to re-invigorate my senses. And with all this family around there’s nothing like competition between cousins to get the adrenalin pumping and generations cheering together!
We usually start the journey from my parent’s home in the town of Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi where my mom makes our favourite food. For each one of us. On the first day! Yes. Lauki ka halwa for the hubs (a sweet mixture made with bottle gourd – delicious and high in fibre), baingan ka bharta (roasted eggplant hash) for me and Saag Paneer (Spinach and fresh cheese) for my oldest. This daily food fiesta is well planned and meals for the following day are usually debated the previous evening. Is it any wonder that my hubby and I switch to salad and cereal after we return. Waddle Waddle!
While we are on the topic of food there’s always mangoes! Yummy especially when eaten local and in season during summer in India. But they are even yummier when they are on the dining table for breakfast lunch AND dinner. And there’s always some left over for a midnight snack. The Indian summer weather really SUCKS but a plate of full of luscious mango slices go a long way in making the heart happy.
India is an assault on the senses. And it’s noisier, smellier, hotter and infinitely more colourful than you expect. A big reason for the trip this year was a family wedding that made our clothes more colourful and exciting than usual. It’s tough to sway sway my youngest though. She doesn’t like prickly” clothes and that meant her outfit at the wedding was a cotton dress, a purple Dollar Store necklace and her rainbow braid. Thank god for the bangles she took a shine too.
On this trip we also ended up watching a lot of TV – not because we lacked for entertainment but because it was Olympics time. From the Opening Ceremony to Penny and her powerful swims, our throats are still hoarse from the cheering. What was especially exciting was the Canada vs. India hockey match last week. That was nerve wracking and battle lines were clearly drawn. For the sake of peace I was thankful the game ended in a draw!
Summer time is also monsoon season in India where the warm showers and cool breezes are more than welcome. This is usually the time that people munch on pakodas (vegetable fritters – and we are back to food) and sip cardamom-scented tea. And dance in the rain. That along with soccer and skipping we ended up soggy down to the soles of our shoes.
This week was a special day for a large number of people in India. Rakshabandhan is a festival that traditionally celebrates the protective relationship that a brother has towards his sister. Growing up this was always a special day for me when I would tie a decorative thread around my brother’s wrist. I have always loved the sentiment behind the festival and am delighted that people are expanding this tradition to include sisters. Last year my daughters started tying a Rakhi (the thread) around each other’s wrist with a promise to love and protect each other. I was delighted to be able to continue that tradition this year during our stay in India.
It has been an eventful trip visiting India with kids and as we are approaching our final few days here I am packing in as much excitement as possible. With all this going on I have a feeling the next time I write I will be on the plane flying back home to Toronto.
Catch you later!