When Deserts Are Cool

I was calling the parents in India, flushed with excitement from the week-end trip. A Girls Trip to Sedona, Arizona! I twirled the words around in my mouth relishing the effect it would have on the mater in particular. She was bound to be critical for ‘leaving’ the children on this ‘unnecessary jaunting’, and I looked forward to telling her about the trip, for this very reason. (My teenage years have been long drawn out, I know)

I had seen the pictures of all-girls trips on Facebook with a tinge of yearning for so long.

I had read the slightly romanticized version of Kate Harris’ version of two girls traveling on the Silk Road in The Lands of Lost Borders.

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I had followed XPD 2470, the all- women’s group that set out on a road trip from Coimbatore, South India to London via the vast plains of India, through the mountainous regions of the Himalayas, the difficult (socially and physically ) terrains of Afghanistan through Iran, Iraq – emerging into Eurasia and traveling on towards the heartlands of Europe over 72 days and passing through 24 countries in all.

How marvelous it all sounded?

Our own modest trip was nowhere close on the adventure scale or on the hardship scale, but it was exciting nevertheless. I did not have to take care of everyone’s packing, hygiene, hydration, and food? Liberation comes in various doses and forms I tell you.

Anyway, the mater picked up the phone and launched into a Grade 2 complaining session about the pater almost soon after saying Hello. I listened amused – “He doesn’t allow me to go alone and he won’t accompany me either!” she said.

I don’t know whether Jhansi Rani got an opportunity like this when she came in to lay down her sword after a rigorous day of training. Imagine, Jhansi Rani’s mother or aunt complaining to her how that she is never allowed to yield the kitchen knife. I felt like that.

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Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi 

Image: By Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi – Gallery, which that says it is from the British Library’s ‘Images Online Collection’, but the provided link to the Collection is dead., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5624069

I launched into my version of “Take up your own butter knife!” with gusto.

“Why do you care what he says? You go where you want. As though you don’t know how to get around. Its your own fault for listening to him.”

“As if! I cannot be like you people. Just go wherever I want whenever I want!” she said. I ignored the dig.

The pater sensed what was going through my head and quickly chimed in, “Nothing of the sort ma! I allow her to go anywhere, do anything!”

“First of all – who are you to allow her to do anything may I ask?” said I.

“True True – she allows me to allow her to go anywhere she wants!” said he.

“Secondly, what are you holding her back for? If she goes, you can have some quiet time of your own too, can’t you?”

He chuckled.

Then, in all grand glory, I told them all about the amazing trip we girls took to Sedona, Arizona. “Isn’t that a desert area?” said the pater who had touchingly moved to the map of the United States that hung on the walls of the home, and was now tracing his finger on the places I was telling him about.

“Yes it is! But when the girls go together, even deserts are cool!” I said and beamed. Lost on them of course, for they couldn’t see me, and by the sounds of it barely hear me as well.

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“What did the children do when you weren’t there?” the mother asked.

“Why?! Had fun of course -what do you think they did?” I said smartly and felt the glow of a battle won.

 

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