Daughter is back in Calcutta for her college after spending the last 6 years of school at Boarding in Pune and Bangalore. Major cultural change for her – from the protected environment of Krishnamurty Foundation (KFI) Schools to a basic (‘pati’ – as we would say in Bengali) Government College – though she seems to be having a ball with all her new found independence. Travelling on packed Metro-trains and auto-rickshaws or ‘bussing’ it across the city for “outdoors” – are thrills she is just beginning to discover and the charm hasn’t worn off yet. Then having “lemon tea” in plastic cups (that have replaced the earthen “bhaars” of our times) and ghugni by the road side are another level of education.
There are different dynamics playing at home between the mother and daughter – sharply contrasted with my recollections of the father-son tensions of my late adolescence and early youth. That both are undergoing hormonal changes of their respective ages don't help matters surely.
I am going through my umpteenth bout of professional ‘burn-out’ and the idea of retirement teases as seductively as ever. But, a cursory look at the Bank Statements and Credit Card Bills is enough to shatter any idle reverie – and one shudders at the thought of the unpaid Home Loan EMI like hearing the sound of crash on Dalal Street. Getting out of Calcutta remains my biggest challenge. The city sends me into throes of despair. All the Prozac in the world can’t cure me of the depression that Calcutta brings over me.
So, the best I could do for the time being was take another one of our standard therapeutic break in the Nilgiris, as we have been doing for years - whenever the blues become unbearable. This was a trip of sinful laziness – with the spouse’ leg impaired by a medical condition (synovitis) and my sagging spirits badly needing to be propped up by some real stuff (Beefeater Gin in the afternoons and Glenlivet in the evenings – to be precise). Had a lifetime’s quota of fresh cream – with an assortment of pies and pastries – as fitting finale to loads of red meet (no rubbery chicken or the tasteless scavenger Bassa for me, please). Coonoor Avocados and Acres Wild Cheeses (from Mansoor Khan’s farm) were at the healthier end of the food-chain. To hell with Cholesterol and Diabetes !!