Saturday, December 26, 2020

A Mysterious Windfall (Not)

 Our holiday in Corbett Park last month was wonderful. The best part of it was of our having no agenda, no itinerary beyond the walls of our resort. On the first two days of our three day stay there, the other room on the ground floor of our cottage was vacant, so we also had sole access to the drawing room, dining room and kitchen, besides our room, of course. The sitting room also had a powder room, which was a blessing, because even with only the two of us, one toilet isn't always sufficient. (On our Nile cruise I was personally delighted to find that our cabin had two tiny bathrooms!).

I digress. Given that we were were just planning to relax, I had brought very comfortable clothes which didn't require immediate unpacking. In fact, I only hung up my jeans and jackets, and left everything else in my suitcase. If you know me, this in itself is a minor miracle. I usually unpack immediately and completely and put my suitcase out of sight. Living out of a suitcase is not my preferred way of living. (Childhood trauma here: our childhood home had very strange storage spaces, so my sister and I actually had to keep our clothes in suitcases for many many years). Our hotel room had two tall wardrobes, one also had a safe, both had a few hangers and a drawer. I shoved assorted bags and handbags, including a bag full of oranges and apples, (road trip snacking), camera bag and laptop bag into the wardrobes. My extra large handbag was carried for the express purpose of carting along the gargantuan wrist-breaker I was reading, A Suitable Boy. I was also carrying my regular, smaller handbag, and had divided my cash between the two bags. I didn't even bother to open the safe and put anything inside it. The staff cleaned our room in our presence, and it just seemed unnecessary. 

Over the next three days we walked to the river bank, strolled around, sat on the deck and read, walked, ate, slept, enjoyed the Diwali campfire with live music, and relaxed. Before we knew it, our three days were over, and after a good breakfast, we loaded our stuff into the car. The boy who came to help us with our luggage also opened up the wardrobes to make sure that we had left nothing behind, and so did I. Nothing.

We had barely been on the road for some twenty minutes when my husband's phone rang: it was from the hotel reception desk, telling me that I had left some money behind. I was quite sure that I had done no such thing, but we stopped to check, and both my handbags had the correct amount of cash within them. The spouse called the hotel, and the man said there was an envelope with cash in it, some four thousand rupees. My cousin in the NCR had paid me for something, and had put the money in an envelope, which I had put into my handbag. I checked, that envelope was there too. The man said that there was something written on the envelope in Hindi, the gist of which was 'Sorry I didn't give this to you earlier'. That's when the proverbial penny dropped. I had opened that drawer, noticed the envelope, and because of us living in Covid times, I did not pick it up or touch it, I probably would have otherwise thrown it straight into the dustbin without even looking inside it. I was so pleased with the honesty of the staff member who took it straight to the manager, and to the manager who immediately phoned us. They planned to call the people who had occupied the room before we had.

An interesting end to a wonderful holiday!

Boxing Day 2020

 Boxing Day has, for me, always been special because it was my father's birthday. As a family, we liked the idea of special dates, and we also liked the way my mother's and father's birthdays, in August and December, flanked those of us three children.

Among Daddy's many legacies to us, besides K.L. Saigal, whose songs insidiously entered into my soul, and PG Wodehouse, and books and music in general, was the gift of age appropriate entertainment as well. Scratch me and I can remember all of The Little White Bull and The Ugly Duckling and Waltzing Matilda and so many others, which I have subjected my children to, and have inflicted upon my granddaughter when she was around. (The little one is safe, so far). Between him and my brother, we had a veritable treasure of all kinds of music, which are there, deep inside, an integral part of me, so many decades later.
While making tea the other morning, with the rising sun peeping out from behind the water tank on the roof opposite our kitchen, I remembered an old Rolf Harris song from the early sixties, Sun Arise. I am so blessing the Internet for making so much so easily possible. (In his final years, Daddy was most impressed with Google, and trusted its information, especially when we were arguing about some fact or other, and he would ask me to go check with Google Ji).
I don't know if you even particularly liked this song, Daddy, but I'm playing this here because it made me think of you, yet again, with joy and gratitude. Happy Birthday, Daddy, with all my love.