A Short Trip To The Land Of Dreams

Meera Srikant

“Life has given me a window to relish every moment. It offers not just interesting sights, but opportunities to participate in meaningful ways that excite me.  I am a content developer, I write books and edit manuscripts for the publisher, a dancer, a mother of two children and a loving wife, I await, in all humility, for more surprises that life has to offer.” – Meera

The Land of Dreams

Though the US was never my land of dreams, I did dream of going on a visit there one day. Now I wonder what I am missing…

No trip is easy to plan. The one to the US took real long – just under five years! From the time the idea took grain in my mind to the time I could finally bully my husband into getting the visa and then decide on the ideal time – summer or winter – five eventful years. Discussions and debates highlighted June-July as summer trip seemed out of question and winter seemed too cold.

Finally, we settled on visiting only San Diego in California – where my brother lived – because in an enthusiastic spurt of emotional blackmail moment, I forwarded the argument, “He has been inviting us for so long! I am not so keen on the rest of USA.” My husband took me literally, so that when my brother proposed a trip to San Francisco, he was startled. “That’s an eight-hour drive! Do we need to do that?” The description, “San Francisco is considered one of the greatest cities in the world for many things, including five-star dining, a happening theatre scene, and gay and lesbian culture.”, not one reason appealed to him! We did enjoy San Francisco, though not for the reasons mentioned in the website.

The Unrelated Exciting Bits

Cold and cough are familiar sights for parents of young children, especially before a trip. Fates must have felt it was too tame for a trip that took so long to materialise and so, blessed us with a hairline fracture – my daughter, who had been cycling for several years without a single fall – slipped and broke her wrist. It was minor, but involved a cast.

Just as I thought we were done with our quota of disasters, my son developed infection in the eye! And to cap it, I slipped down the stairs. But that is the advantage of being well padded – the fall hurt but caused no damage.

This was not all. There was more excitement awaiting us – our luggage followed us four days later! And guess what, when we returned to India, our luggage took two extra days to travel the same distance! Must have been really heavy!

It’s Cold, It’s Hot

“Short sleeves should work,” my brother had assured me when I asked him about the weather there. The weather reports were saying a different story. The Mercury was touching 8 deg C, and that, to me, was cold. But assured by my brother’s confidence, I assumed temperatures worked differently abroad. Maybe some latitude thingy!

The day after reaching San Diego, we ventured out on the cloudy, windy day, for some grocery purchase. The heater in the car did not prepare us for the chilliness outside. Used to hot, hotter, hottest weather of Chennai, we had to grit our teeth to stop it from chattering. My cotton salwar was no match for the wintery morning. As I pulled my jacket tightly around me, I watched amazed as many locals entered the store in just t-shirt and shorts. The real test came when we neared the cold storage. Like a cat looking for a warm spot, I scuttled out of the way and watched a man come out in cotton trousers and t-shirt looking absolutely unfazed.

Imagine how I felt when I met people from further north who complained that San Diego was warm!!!

And then, on the other end of the spectrum was my father-in-law. On our return, when I went to visit him, I was startled to see him take out a sweater and a cap to protect him against the chilly evening of 23 deg C when he returned from a concert in Chennai!

There are no absolute truths, and there is no absolute cold. You are as cold as you feel! And my children, on entering our house from the airport, put it in a nutshell as they chorused: “We are used to the US now. Switch the A/C on, I am feeling hot!”

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