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It’s that time of the year again – the end of another year, the final month on the calendar – and officially, winter! In fact, since the unprecedented rains in neighbouring Chennai a few days back, winter seems to have arrived a little early for Bangalore this year; with a slight drizzle and an unmistakable chill in the air.
For the last couple of years, since my little one was old enough to read independently and help around the house with simple, small chores; we started a few traditions for the winter holidays that bring with them the joy of togetherness and the much needed family time - we bake, have family movie nights and generally spend time having fun together when the school gives us a week-long winter break. To be honest, Christmas is not a festival that we celebrate at home; but hey, it’s a welcome break no less!
This Friday, as I drive back home from a meeting, the streets are slick with drizzle, and I can already see beautifully decorated Christmas trees peeping from shop windows. Enticing, standing tall, they shimmer in their Christmas glory! The festive spirit is in the air and I smile as I turn into my lane, thinking of the all the time I am looking forward to spending together with my family.
Yesterday when I picked her up from school, my little one told me that she wanted to bake some choco-chip cookies this weekend; and asked if I knew how to make an orange cake! She also reminded me that we had decided a few weeks back to plant some tomato and chili plants to start our kitchen garden; but of course, we never got around to that.
Facing deadlines and looking at the weekend as an opportunity to finish up with some pending work, I had told her, sure I would bake the cookies over the weekend and also look up the recipe for the orange cake she wanted; but that we will have to bake it the next weekend or better still, during her winter holidays when we would both get a lot of time.
She was disappointed. So she changed tactics and offered to help me; said she would read out the recipe and help with the cookies and the cake, if I agreed. But then I felt bad denying her joy because of my work and my deadlines. So I decided to give in; and so, today we are having our ‘movie night’ to kick-start the weekend; and we have some interesting movies lined up.
Tonight we are watching Home Alone I and II! These are movies from my childhood, movies about family, love, togetherness, holidays and the spirit of Christmas! Movies that I have watched with my little one numerous times; and yet, which make me feel amazing every single time we watch them!
Just before bed, we read Well Really, Mr. Twiddle by Enid Blyton. My little one loves humour, and this hilarious book about the exploits of poor old Mr. Twiddle are just what we both need before a good night’s sleep!
The next day, Saturday, I actually plan to sleep in late. But at 7AM on the dot, my little one is next to me, waking me up, reminding me that we are planning to spend the day gardening, baking and watching some more movies!
So, the first order of business, we cook breakfast. My little one loves pancakes, and we make special buttermilk n oats pancakes today, the recipe for which I have printed out earlier; and which she reads out to me.
After breakfast, it is time for me and my little one to don our gardening hats and unleash the magical wonders of nature resting in the soil. We enjoy precious bonding moments planting the seeds, playing with the sprinklers and finally, with filthy hands and shining eyes, we get back in as the sun starts getting stronger.
Next up are the batches of choco-chip cookies that go into the oven – again, with my little one reading out the recipe and helping with licking the mixing spoon clean :)
We are pretty bushed by the time we finish with the final batch of the cookies, and decide to take a break by finishing up the last chapter of The Mystery That Never Was that we’ve been reading in the afternoons, most days.
In the evening, Dad joins us as we go to the park and then we all go for an ice-cream sundae! We then rush back home for the next set of movies – we are watching Finding Nemo today; and Kung Fu Panda! And by the time Po defeats Tai Lung, my little one is softly snoring away.
Sunday goes in a blur, with us baking the orange cake and a batch of apple brownies that I threw in, just for the heck of it (well, for one, I really did feel bad about having said no to her earlier; and two, I just can’t resist baked goodies!) Later we visit the library and rent out books for my little one and me.
On Sunday night, after reading a few chapters of Enid Blyton’s Circus Collection that we rented out today, my little one hugs me tight and kisses me good night. I ask her if she had fun and she says yes! I ask her what was her favourite part, and she says, all of it, because she and I did everything together!
I smile and hug her tighter. I realise I have enjoyed this weekend a lot too. And as my little one doses with a smile hovering on her lips, I understand what it was that made this weekend so special – it was the bonding moments we enjoyed together, it was the joy of togetherness that made this weekend exceptional!
And just like that, I am glad I decided to give in to my little one’s demands and spend the weekend with her. I know she will grow up soon and then I will be left with the same work and the same deadlines which I face now. So by spending this valuable time with her, I am actually giving myself some amazing memories for later! And in the process, I understand from this lovely “khulajye bahcpan” weekend we had; that together is the best place to be!