METRO PLUS

At home – on a holiday

JUST BE Staying home is the best break

JUST BE Staying home is the best break  

Would you rather be home on a holiday than out vacationing?

Here we are, in the middle of the Christmas break, possibly the world’s most popular holiday season; a time when one half of the world is snorkelling/skiing/surfing, while the other half is impatiently waiting to board a budget-flight to go snorkelling/skiing/surfing. But wait! Before you start wondering if this is a treatise on exotic holidays or a rant about the impact of budget airlines and their carbon footprint, we’ll cut to the chase… We are here to substantiate, with evidence from highbrow scientific experiments, how differently the two sexes approach the holiday season.

Now, for the experiments…!

We sat a group of youngish, upwardly mobile men – whose names we shall withhold (you’ll soon know why) – and conducted this really path-breaking trial. We asked them to close their eyes, focus on the Great Nothingness, and tell us the first thing that came to their mind when they thought of the word ‘holiday’. The answers were um, interesting, but not entirely surprising. Almost every single man, told us that their dream vacation was to be stranded on a remote, God forsaken island with Angelina Jolie, who would then proceed to erm…, read aloud The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. Well, ok, we cooked up the last bit, but that’s only in the interests of any readers below 18 or above 65.

Next, we repeated the experiment with stay-at-home mums…the answers were, surprisingly, similar, as the vast majority said they too would like to be stranded on a remote, God forsaken island…only, they didn’t care much for the Jolie bit. Instead, they saw themselves surrounded by a solicitous, extraordinarily good chef (preferably good enough to eat), eager-to-please masseur (more eye-candy), and most importantly, not a clothesline, lunch dabba or steam iron in sight. Their idea of a perfect vacation, they said, was putting as much distance as possible between the gas-range and themselves.

And then, we got onto working women…and guess what they said? They, most of them anyway, actually told us they would like to stay at home! For the holidays! No white, sandy beaches, no tall, crinkled, snow-capped mountains, no hot-stone therapies… just home!

Home alone!

Dashing off to explore new pastures, for some reason, doesn’t seem to appeal to the majority of working women. Given that they spend the greater part of the week - and some weekends - tied to their dreary old desks, they reckon that holidays are simply the only time they can lounge around their carefully done-up homes or, better still, sink into a rose-petal filled bath, enveloped by the strains of music. “Considering I spend nearly half my life just staring at the monitor at work, I would love to simply potter about the house during the holidays, doing, at the most, a spot of gardening,” says Anushka Kannan, who works in the banking sector.

“For me, the ideal holiday is just spending time all by myself doing things that I’ve always wanted to do - an early morning swim, lazy afternoons with an interesting book, evenings spent in solitude, watching the sunset, trying out new cuisines and finally winding up the day with some soothing music,” says Divya Anand, software engineer. And her wistful list is, more or less, seconded by most of the working women we spoke to.

Time-out… with the kids!

Vadivu Vijayaraghavan, business consultant, for her part, prioritises spending quality time with her children. “I love vacations of course, but I would rather spend time with the kids than travel,” she says. But, we asked them, is spending time with the family and going on a holiday mutually exclusive? Sowmya Ashok, software professional doesn’t believe so. “I would like to enjoy the world with my family, especially since we hardly get any time together at all.”

But Anushka begs to differ. “If its one of those check-list/packaged trips, it’s just one big rush, and at the end of the day, there is no time to bond either. I really hate being run off my feet, especially during the holidays…and instead of paying money to get stressed, I would rather relax in the comfort of my own house!” she reasons. And this is a view that a journalist friend vouched-for too. “It’s my boys who need a break,” she said. “For me, a real break is just sitting at home!”

Hmmm…. to each his/her own?!

APARNA KARTHIKEYAN
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