Our holiday has just begun and I am not talking about the man of the house's newest `100 crore-plus blockbuster (Please note: The sentence above is factual and also enables me to wangle a few more handbags out of him as payment for a PR job well done), but about our annual summer vacation.
This is the time I switch off, work on my tan and leave carpenters, cement dust and wax fumes behind.
9 am: I am sitting on my bed, sipping coffee and enjoying the idea of doing absolutely nothing, when my son barges in and declares that I have to go zip lining with him.
Technically, zip lining is riding a wire that is tied between two distant points very high up in the air. You get into a harness, send a prayer up to whatever God you believe in, let go and hope that you will reach the other end in one piece.
I put away all thoughts of lazing on the beach, reading a new book about spaceships and aliens on my iPad and decide to give 'Mother India' some stiff competition in sacrificing my needs before the needs of my offspring.
2 pm: We have reached the island where we are supposed to participate in this strange sport. I am ready in my harness and as I start, I realise that this is not just plain zip lining that I have been cornered into doing, it's zip lining with an aerial obstacle course.
The next 40 minutes pass with me crawling through nets, trying to walk on a balance beam and doing splits to go from one moving step to another; all the while trying not to look down because I am 40 feet above the ground.
2.45 pm: Every muscle in my body is sore. I hurt my wrist last week and all this climbing and crawling is really causing it to flare up. All I want to do is give up when my son who is merrily crossing each hurdle calls out, 'Mom why are you moving so slowly? Are you already tired?'
I want to yell at him for putting me through this; yell at him for not realising that I am not 12 like him, or 22 or even 32 anymore.
I don't say a word because children are always learning from us. They don't pay attention to most of the stuff we say, but are always watching what we do. Do I really want him to see that when life gets even remotely challenging, one must complain, crib and quit?
I strengthen my resolve, plaster a cheerful smile and finish the obstacle course.
3.15 pm: The ordeal is over and when I am finally climbing down the exit ladder, I realise that I am exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. I feel truly alive because I have been living in the moment, hurdle to hurdle, with no time or energy to think about anything else.
We grown-ups always try to take the easy way out, the laziest way. We seem to have a great fear of getting tired, as if any energy depleted is lost forever. We want to plan our fatigue the same way that we plan everything else. Most of us barely move till we have that one hour in the gym that we have decided we should expend physical energy on. And there, too, we time ourselves, count the precise repetitions we need to do, adjust our speed to what the heart rate monitor indicates we should move at and go on practicing our robotic routines day in and day out.
I wish we lived like children. Run till you are out of breath, flop on the grass, stare at clouds, jump up again, chase a squirrel around every tree in the park, walk on your hands because the world looks different upside down, climb little hills and roll down the other side, do somersaults... just because you can.
What do we do instead? We surround ourselves with all these big and small blinking screens while our bodies and minds slowly forget how to tumble, how to wonder, how to live.