Family is in on it

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It’s been almost a month since I last wrote. But this was expected; I knew that I would not have any time to think about our trip while Madhu’s entire family was out here … and that’s exactly what happened.

Madhu’s family – his brother, brother’s wife, their 2 kids and his parents – were all here between June 5th and 22nd. It was a fun and exhausting visit. Fun because it was great to have all his immediate family together under one roof for 2 weeks – something that has never happened before. And also fun because the kids, aged 6 and2, were just completely adorable. I fell in love with them and had a blast. But exhausting because managing a household of 8 was not really an easy task. The whole logistics of it, especially around food, was a thing of constant work – grocery shopping, cooking, eating andcleaning. They left 2 days ago but I’m still reeling with exhaustion…

One of the best things to happen over the last 2 weeks, though, is that we told Madhu’s parents about our plans to take  off andtravel around India, and they accepted and blessed it whole-heartedly. I think they were just happy to know that we would be in the same country as them for a lot longer than the 2 or 3 weeks that we are usually there for. Dad offered his car for our travel, which was extremely sweet of him. Madhuhas been of the opinion that we should drive around India as much as possible so that we chart our own routes and be as flexible as possible – plus we can take Shayna along everywhere. I was against the idea mainly because I’ve always loved the concept of traveling in buses and trains, and I thought that was the best way to interact with locals and ‘feel’ the journey. Moreover, driving in India is not easy, especially withcrazy truck drivers on the roads. But over time I have realized that having a car at our disposal will definitely make it easier to travel around without having to rely on public transport – plus being able to take Shayna along would be a great advantage to have. Anyway, we thanked dad for his offer and said that we ‘may’ take it up depending on our plans.   offered to put in a word for us with her influential, astrologist brother – he has many politicians, actors andother powerful people as his clients – to help us withour travel. Overall, both dad and mom were very pleased with our plans andleft with the hope of seeing us soon again and that too for an extended period …

Seeing their positive reaction, I was restless to tell my mom about this as well. And today morning that’s just what I did. However, her initial response wasn’t as positive as Madhu’s parents – her first question was ‘is everything okay out there?’ . I guess her instant reaction was to assume that maybe our jobs are in jeopardy because of which we’ve decided to sell everything and move back to India. Once I explained our plan in complete detail, she relaxed and seemed to get it. The fact that Madhu’s parents had accepted our decision also made it easier – even if she doesn’t fully understand why we would want to quit our jobs, sell our beautiful home and be nomads in India for a few years, the fact that other elders in the family have accepted and blessed our plan, is good enough for her. I hope to talk to her more over the next few weeks and make sure that she doesn’t stress over anything.

Now the only person in the immediate family who doesn’t know about this is my brother, Bittu. I will write or call him later this week…

The weekend before the family’s visit, we invited a local real estate agent to check out our home and give us some ideas. She assessed the home andseemed pleased with it’s decor and upkeep. She said that June thru September was the best time to sell as buyers find this to be the best time to move without disturbing their child’s school year. She also mentioned that currently there are no homes, of our floor-plan and type, up for sale in our neighborhood so it is probably a good time to sell. We plan to talk to her again this week to finalize the home sale process and, hopefully, take the plunge. The fate of our trip depends on the sale of our home – leaving the home behind would mean risking the equity we have in it and also managing it from overseas. So the next 2 months are going to be crucial to our plan…

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