So it is barely four days before we take off to the mountains. Along with mega supplies of Avomine and plastic bags knowing the child’s penchant of spewing out all the contents of his stomach onto unwitting copassengers. I think I might just have to order in a plastic bubble suit for myself for all the infinite rides that we will have to do. It would be safe to say that I am looking forward to this trip with a fair amount of dread. It is a hectic schedule. We leave for Pune. From there we go on to Delhi. From Delhi we go by road to Haldwani Junction. From there we go onto Jaageshwar and Binsar and Nainital and Almora and finally end up for a day at Corbett National Park. Hopefully, we get to see a tiger up close and personal but not too close and personal for it to decide that lunch was at hand. And then we drive down to Delhi, stay in Delhi overnight before coming back to Mumbai. The scariest part about packing for a trip that included varying climatic conditions is the need for different kinds of clothes. Pune will be hot. Delhi will be an inferno. As will Haldwani. And I am told Binsar, Jaageshwar, Nainital, will be chilly, pack the woollies. This is too much packing for my addled brain. I need to make out lists on excel to keep track of my day to day schedule and plan my outfits according to perceived weather at place of stay. To add to this I have been warned by all and sundry to keep my luggage down to one single bag. One single bag. Hmmph. What am I supposed to pack in one bag? I pack one single bag when I go to Pune for a weekend? Going to diverse climes for a fortnight means I should send out my luggage in advance through crates consigned to packers and movers to wait for me upon arrival. You know. How can a girl be coordinated head to toe with one single bag of clothes to pack? Packing for the beach is easy. Swimsuits. Check. Matching sarongs. Check. Straw hat. Check. Matching flip flops check. And I still have the entire suitcase left for make up and cosmetics of importance like a Bronzing brick to add on the tan after I’ve spent all the day on the day performing all sorts of brazen contortions while sitting in a deck chair to ensure not a stray ray of sun hits my skin of my face, which has anyway already by slathered with copious amounts of humungously high SPF laden Sunblock which promises on the cover to be non greasy and sweatproof but which inevitably makes me look like I’ve dipped myself into a vat of oil, and been fried about a bit in it. Which reminds me, I need to pack the sunblock. Them rarified mountain climes are a bitch on the skin, I’m told. And I need proper shampoo and conditioner because the hair will get frizzed out. And I would need appropriate body lotion and such like to ensure I dont pass for the reptile woman on return. And how can I leave the premises without at least five lipsticks, a few glosses, a pot of eyecolour, bronzer/blush on, eyeliners in various hues and plain vanilla compact, and more industrial strength compact? Add to this the brat’s medicines. Medicines for cough and cold, for vomiting, for fever, for indigestion, for ‘you name it and he could get it and I’m damned if I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere without the medicine for it’. All in one single bag.
I ambitiously began the packing yesterday. Read, I dug through the lofts and got one suitcase and one strolley down. The maid had to be called to hold the stool steady. The grandmother sat in the immediate vicinity to loudly direct the proceedings, the child insisted on coming underfoot and narrowly missing an avalanche of ‘stuff we dont need but refuse to throw out’ coming down on his head. The bags were cleaned up nice and proper, and the zips tested. The child hauled in all his action figures and some assorted vehicles and dumped them into the suitcase, occupying around 80 percent of the space within. The remainder 20 percent he stuffed with his sunglasses, watches, belts, underwear and some sleep wear. There is no debate as to what his priorities are and from which branch of the genetic family he gets his from. I gently took out an old disused duffel bag and transferred a majority of what he had packed into it to much agitated squawking in the background from the offended party.
I began with my basics. Jeans. How many would I need given I would be gone for over 14 days? At the rate of one per day and no access to reliable laundry services? The math was a no brainer. But I compromised with half the number and a few salwar kameezes thrown in for the family visits. Now with the jeans in the bag, the Tshirts got thrown in. Struggling for coordinated outfits becomes easier when 90 percent of what you pack is black. Hides the dust and grime of the road too. For warmth I chucked in a black sweater and a black shawl. No toosh one. Just a basic warm rough hewn one I wouldnt mind leaving behind if it became the repository of contents hurled from churning stomachs.
Now for the shoes. The only pair of walking shoes I have are in two different shades of brown thanks to an unfortunate encounter with the washing machine. I really need to make that shopping trip right now, I must must must buy myself sensible practical shoes and sandals. Or be doomed to teeter up slopes with my ridiculous four inch stilettoes, albeit coordinated. If I dont, I might just have to get myself a coordinated cast for that foot I will undoubtedly fracture.
And yes, I must remember to pack the toothbrushes. In the side pocket. I always forget the toothbrushes. It is so not a good omen to wake up on the first morning of your trip and blink furious eyes realising that no, you dont have a toothbrush, nor a tube of toothpaste. And no, you didnt pack it at the bottom of your suitcase, this realisation achieved after you have emptied the entire contents of your suitcase on the bed. Yes, I better start by packing the toothbrushes.