A Europe trip has been on the books since I can remember. Baba always kept going on and on about Switzerland. Mamma about Paris. And me about working hard to be able to take them on this trip.
But if you think this article is about my achievements as the daughter that everyone wants, you are sadly mistaken.
On our last day of vacation in Dubrovnik, Croatia, we woke up slightly later than most days. We had had very fulfilling days of staring at the beauty of Europe and on the last day we decided to have a lil celebration of our own.
Baba took a quick trip to the meat market near our apartment and bought a Kg of lamb. Mamma prepped for lamb chops and lamb curry. I ate strawberries on the front porch.
Ate a heavy Koli-Style lunch in Dubrovnik and got ready to explore the city one last time.
It was particularly hot that day and I was already looking like the piece of toast everybody leaves untouched at breakfast buffets. So with close introspection and the lil knowledge of science I have, I picked my favourite white linen jumpsuit.
All the ‘Black absorbs- white reflects’ BS was making complete sense to me.
Picked up our bags, locked the apartment and started walking towards our bus stop.
The bus was crowded but we are from Mumbai.
Got off at our stop and started walking. We’ve walked so much on our trip.
Walking’s great. Helps with digestion.
Old town Dubrovnik is gorgeous. It’s a fairytale bound safely inside the 2km long city walls. Looks like a dream. Feels like one when you walk through the narrow cobbled streets.
We had walked through old town the day before so we decided to go see the rocky beach front on the southern end. The walk from the north end of town to the south was a total of 7 minutes.
The day was getting hotter so we decided to get ourselves a cone of ice-cream each.
Maa got raspberry and I got Nutella.
Walked our way to the docks. There were a bunch of small boats and salesmen screaming at us with offers to ride the boats. Chose a stall randomly and got us 3 tickets to the boat that takes a panoramic ride of the entire island in 60 minutes.
An hour of staring at the clear waters.
An hour of chilling in a boat with a glass bottom and staring at all the fascinating marine life.
An hour of clicking the best pictures to bomb my Instagram feed.
One whole hour.
Got on the boat.
There were two more families with us on the tour. Everyone exchanged smiles. One of them was Indian and they recognised me.
Yay. I am international now!
Meeting fellow Indians in foreign lands is a whole new experience. You really step on the gas with patriotism in such situations.
I have always loved boat rides. I remember mamma baba taking me to TalavPali, a lake close to my childhood home, every weekend for boat rides and candy floss.
And there we were again, several years later, in a boat. One happy family.
What do you call the guy who drives a boat? Who cares.
The boat driver got on board and started the engine.
Three.. two… one.
And we were at sea.
The coast kept getting tinier as the boat shuddered its way away from it.
Everyone was all smiles. Ahh what a jolly ride.
We were about 4 minutes into the boat ride when it first happened.
I looked down at my tummy and whispered, “Not now.”
I trust my understanding with my body. We’re good.
Went back to staring at the sea.
And then it happened again. This time slightly scarier than before.
I clenched all that can be clenched and kept staring.
And then it happened again.
This time the pang was hard enough to knock me out for a couple seconds. Came back to my senses only to be welcomed by another hard hit in my lower abdomen.
Kept pacifying myself.
Kept staring at the sea that looked so average all of a sudden.
God loves you.
She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
Chandu ke chacha ne chandu ke cha…
I am wearing a white jumpsuit.
I AM WEARING A WHITE JUMPSUIT.
Maa and baba kept observing my lil performance from a distance.
Yes. Don’t worry.
“Do you need to…?”
I said I am good, Maa.
Somehow I was convinced that I needed distractions so I kept moving seats on the boat.
I am known for making bad decisions in desperate situations.
Please note: Do NOT move when you are in a sticky tummy situation. Movement circulates blood and increases pressure.
SWEET MOTHER OF GOD.
The sea looked so ugly now.
Water so blue, I could see my face in it. Clinging on to dear life. Staring at my reputation, which was hanging by a thread. Along with last night’s dinner.
“You are making that face. Do you have to?”
“But how? We are in a boa…”
There was a 3 second silence before my parents burst into what was the loudest laughter I had heard in my entire effing existence.
Its crazy how your own people turn against you at the time of crisis.
But I was strong. I was gonna pull through.
I just had to sit tight for 50 more minutes.
Should be easy.
I was on the verge of having an emotional breakdown when the Indian family next to us thought, ‘Hey, now is a nice time to initiate conversation with this YouTube star who is known to 2 Million people back home.’
“My daughter is a huge fan!”
Thanks, aunty. Tell her I said Hi.
“Should we get a picture together? For memories?”
Sure. I don’t see why not.
Baba generously offered to click.
My job has never felt like hard work till about that moment.
False are all the prayers made at temples and examination halls.
Ask someone stuck in a boat in the middle of an ocean for an hour with an upset stomach praying for everything to stay where it is!
The clock has never ticked slower.
I was beginning to get dizzy. My stomach was a gas chamber and explosions were happening at regular intervals.
The shore and the sea became blurry.
Whoever invented Massaging Toilet Seats must have spent an hour on this boat. The boat-shudders were hitting the right spot. EVERYTIME.
Why can’t Boat makers put tiny toilets on board?
Should I ask everyone to shut their eyes so I can free myself from all this torture in the ocean?
Should I ask the boat driver to dock on hell’s gate because there is no way I am getting through this alive.
20 more minutes.
My parents put no effort in hiding their clear amusement.
Instead, baba clicked this picture of me.
You could laugh now. But just think about that one time you wanted to go so bad but life had other plans.
God had mercy and we could finally see the coast.
I started prepping for my marathon treasure hunt.
“The coast isn’t even close yet. Stop standing at the tip of the boat. Come back. Sit. Look how pretty this view is.”
DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
If you are thinking about what everyone else on the boat was thinking of my lil adventure?
Important lesson learnt.
Not the easiest way though.
The guy took forever to dock. Ugh. Wasn’t this his everyday job?
Inefficiency is the cancer of the working class.
I have the weakest eyes but did I spot the restaurant washroom from 1200 kilometres away or WHAT!
The slowest boat driver in the world finally docked the boat and I flew out of it and dashed to the restaurant.
Knowing how down my luck was on the day, I was prepared for the worst. And worst was what life gave me.
The ladies washroom was a single stall room which was occupied. I counted to 3 and dashed into the men’s room.
There were two clueless but very attractive men peeing and an empty stall in there.
Its a new country, they don’t speak the language, they don’t know me. I dashed to the stall and locked it.
Good Job Prajakta! I could feel the storm approaching but I had it covered. I was good on time. Until I realised I am wearing a JUMPSUIT.
The outfit invented to make you sit butt naked on the toilet seat. And also came with the worst zippers.
The zipper and I got into a heated argument. Which unfortunately didn’t last long.
Much like my self-respect.
I was quite young then though.
I was 24.
Yesterday was my 25th Birthday.
Happy Birthday to me.