My family does not reside in a Sooraj Barjatya film. I must establish this up front. We do not wear caps saying, “Friend”, “Best Friend” and, “Facebook Friends”, nor do we use pigeons to deliver SMS messages. However, we did go together on my honeymoon, all of us. Saath saath!
I prefer to think of that particular honeymoon as a Familymoon. Very few people can comprehend its meaning, as an American tourist asked me, “Familymoon? Is that where a family gets together and shows off their buttocks?” Neigh, perverted American sir, neigh.
Let me explain this wonderful and why it works in the modern context. Couples go on a honeymoon together to get to know each other better but, if you’ve been seeing each other for two years – you really want to know each other a little bit less. Whereas these days, we’re all so busy stampeding across the savannah of work, you rarely get to hang out with your new family. And, you get a group discount while you’re at it. I am after all an Indian and bargains are what drive all decision making!
I must mention in my family’s defense that it was not their idea – it was we who piled on to their vacation. My parents were horrified and found subtle ways to ask if all was kosher in my five-day old marriage. “People will think we torture our bahus or something. Does she even want to come? Everything working down there and all na, beta?”, was asked but, in more subtle ways.
We quelled their queries and The Pants got into a bunch and headed onward and beyond to Bhutan – with freshly laundered bahu in tow.
The urgency with which I introduced my wife to the family also meant that the weaning in period was too swift! She could not comprehend that she was part of the family, which led to some odd repercussions. When my mom asked, “Come everyone. Let’s do a family photo in front of this Valley!” My wife would promptly grab the camera and begin to click us, until someone reminded her, “Er… Iva, we meant you as well. You’re part of this family!”
It took her some time to understand that this lunatic fringe of folks was indeed her new family but, once she did – she promptly replaced me in all photographs. Something about my bald head ruining the lighting or just something about her looking better than me!
As my wife said about the trip, “I felt like Anne Frank. Only, the family with me was a family I didn’t know. I was like Anne Frank in the Bigg Boss house – slowly discovering these lunatic ‘inmates’ of hers”
Usually, when me and my wife took trips together (sneakily before marriage) – she made all the decisions. It was like a Dictatorship. But, going on a Familymoon is like a Socialist Republic. Six different people want to do six different things at any point but, the decisions are taken by the oldest member. Parents are not people who negotiate plans. Once a plan is made, it is immovable. So, you can’t improvise on the trip but, you do plan everything to the T. Any veering off the route was vetoed by the urge to get to our hotel before it got too dark and in time for tea, as if we were being chased by a horde of Bhutanese zombies!
Either way, Bhutan is a wonderful country and I’m so very excited to be returning back there for the Mountain Echoes Festival. It’s especially wonderful to take your family along, so if your wife falls in love with the dashing King of Bhutan – there will be people to pull her back.
I’ll leave you with the words of our guide Mr. Lepcha who said simply, “What you did is strange but, the family that travels together, stays together. You’re in the happiest monarchy in the world – we would know about that!”
P.S. My mother in law was also scheduled for this familymoon, but declined on account of ‘work’. I think she was just shy of wearing a Barjatya cap saying, ‘Friend of The Family’!