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Vacations
by Archana Sarat (Prose - Short Story) | Published On: 17-Apr-2017

He came home happy and jubilant. “Wifey, let’s go on a vacation,” he said and gave her a tight hug. “We have been working so hard and we all deserve a break.”

Even before she could react, the kids started chanting, “Singapore… Singapore… SINGAPORE!”

As the intensity of their screams increased, he nodded at his son and daughter. “Singapore, it is then,” he said.

“Yay!” They screamed, one last time, before she packed them off to their rooms. The bedtime story, that night, was short; the hug and goodnight kiss was quick. Her mind was preoccupied.

She had hardly a fortnight to plan an international vacation. Along with completing all the pending tasks with clients, she had to shuffle deadlines. She will also have to turn down some interesting freelance projects. She was a retainer with one organization and her responsibilities there would continue, vacation or not. 

Her husband had made it clear. “We will not book through any travel agent. I don’t want to go around with a dozen other people. Let’s be different. We will plan the whole thing by ourselves.” She had wanted to laugh out loud when she heard these words. Still, she clung on to a bit of hope and wondered if it was going to be different this time.

It wasn’t. She spent hours checking and rechecking the timings, details and options before booking their airline tickets. Then, she made a list of what each child wanted to do during the vacation. While Vihaan wanted to visit the Zoo and Legoland, Zara wanted to click pictures of flowers in the botanical garden and visit the Aquarium. She knew her husband would like to visit the Maritime museum and added that to the itinerary too. She booked the hotels, after bargaining for the best deals, and filled up the Visa forms. Then, she booked chauffeured cars to transport them from the airport, learnt about the local transport and routes and made notes on all the dos and don’ts in the new country.

Then, she started packing. Between convincing her daughter that she cannot carry her doll house on the flight and arguing with her son on why no one wears a full suit to the zoo, the packing stretched for nearly a week. Finally, they were off.

After ten days of touring Singapore, on the flight back, as she was half-asleep conspiring on techniques to cajole the maid into washing three suitcases of dirty clothes, her husband shook her awake, “Aren’t you happy we didn’t go through an agent? See how easily we managed it all by ourselves!” She closed her eyes again with no strength left to correct his ‘we’ to ‘I’. She needed a vacation to recover from every vacation with her family.

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