Well, I did it again! I tempted fate! Yes, I sure did.
While Wednesday morning was all bright and sunny and beautiful, by the afternoon, the EO started to lose his voice, walk around listlessly and develop a slight temperature. By the evening, the fever was well and truly in place and the Frog King had magically switched voices with my boy.
Not that it stopped him from listening, dancing (read jumping in bendy contortions) and singing (here, read croaking!) to "Where's the Party Tonight?" at least 15 times that day! By the end of it I was feebly mouthing "Where's my sanity right now?"
That night, the EO's fever kept the MIM and me on tenterhooks. The temperature wasn't high or anything, it was just there. While I sent up all sorts of prayers to the Ones Above, I kept a silent vigil over his head. Sometime in the middle of the night, his fever broke and I finally and happily settled myself into the pillows to shut my tired, bloody-red eyes...only to be woken up ten seconds later by my screeching alarm clock! Yes, I'm exaggerating, but it certainly seemed like that! I quickly shut it off, stuffed my face into the pillow and promised myself "Just five minutes!" This time I was woken up by my mobile phone...THIRTY minutes later! My brain was too frazzled to work out what kind of Time Relative Laws were at work, so I just looked at the time and name flashing on my mobile instead. It was the friend who was organising the picnic! Yikes!
With one hand on my son's forehead and my eyes on my sleeping-snoring husband, I answered the phone as sunnily as possible, hoping that it was a voice that would portray that I had been up and about for a long while now.
Friend-G: Hi! Utte gechhish? (Are you up?)
Me: (now on normal days I probably would have snapped, 'Well, I am now!' Truly, this question belongs on the list of the Greatest, Stupidest Questions of All Time, right with 'Have you got a new haircut?', when you so obviously have!! Anyway, I couldn't snap. I was pretending to be sunny and awake, right?) So, Me: HIIIIIIII! Henh, henh! Anik khhon! (Yes, yes! Long time!)
(I think I sounded like one of those drunkards who try too hard to show that they're not drunk, but a-ok, but hopefully she didn't catch on.)
Then, Friend-G went on to rattle off a list of instructions, but since my brain was still shut-down, I didn't register any of it! After she finished, she asked me if I had got all of that and I enthusiastically replied in the affirmative!
My morning mug of coffee-flavoured milk helped my brain switch on and I went about trying to organise things that I would need for a picnic; things that are usually written on a list and brought together the night before the day of the picnic, But hello! This is M4 and she's the one who starts packing her entire household, belongings and life into boxes and crates an hour before the packers are due to arrive to transport them from City A to City B.
Right...I am digressing way too much here. Let me edit all the un-fun bits and shorten my ramblings. Suffice to say, that I got my band of Merry Men ready in record time and bundled into the car, just in time for another family of four to pull up into our garage, all set to go a-picnicing! The EO was all excited about inaugurating his wooden cricket set at the picnic. It was but into a fancy holder with a strap and everything and my EO slung it on across his shoulder and strutted (read struggled) about with the paraphernalia that was almost as tall as him. He looked at the full-length mirror and said, "I am looking handsome, naa?" Awww, my baby! When do you not?
Well, after all the petrol-filing, air-in-the-tyres checking and sandwich buying, we were all happily on our way to Raichauk, a gorgeous piece of heaven attached to The Ffort Radisson, a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute drive away. We all met up near IIM Joka and carried on.
I can not begin to describe to you the beauty of the place. Green, green, green as far as the eye can see. The Ganga flows on one side and there are gorgeous cottages and bungalows dotted throughout the place on the other.
The picnic was exactly what he doctor had ordered. The kids ran around all day, feed huge geese, the husbands played cricket with their little ones and we womenfolk went for long walks and exchanged tidbits, catching up on each others' lives. We lunched at a lovely Indian restaurant on the premises, called The Courtyard, and we were ravenous. The food was delicious, but maybe it's because we had worked up quite an appetite...who knows, who cares? The bottom line? The food was delicious.
Erm, I can feel many of your brows forming question marks and wondering "Picnic? Restaurant?" and I don't blame you. We did indeed pack food and drinks. We packed breakfast, Vodka, Bacardi and chips. Isn't that what a picnic spread is made up of? (she asks all sweetly and innocently...)
All in all, the picnic was FANTASTIC! At times filmi thanks to some moments of drama, at times as noisy as a birthday party thanks to all the cricket and at times serene thanks to all the lying about wordlessly and peacefully.
The drive back was slow thanks to all the traffic, but it was also nice since we sighted a couple of trucks carrying idols of West Bengal's favourite Goddess and Her Children. Yes, Durga Puja is just a few days away! The festival of madness, chaos and traffic jams is just a few days away. But attached to all the noise and commotion are sights of such creative wonder; idols crafted with such beauty, dedication and devotion; and pandals that are absolute architectural marvels, that you really would't want to be anywhere else.
But of course, that's another post waiting to happen! In the meanwhile, thank you Friend-G for organising this outing and for bring all our friends together! Can we have another one please?