My first anniversary vacation – and how I re-discovered the meaning of ‘enjoy’

It started with the packing. For just 3 days and 4 nights, I was taking more than an hour to pack.


Cos this is was playing in my mind :

The whole saga of clicking pictures and uploading them on Facebook.
– If I wear this, I might look fat – worse than how I looked at my last vacation post – my honeymoon pics. 
– I can carry this Capri  but won’t it look silly to wear that on the beach. Silly, to those who are going to see the uploaded picture, by the way.

After an hour of going mad, I paused. Why am I taking this vacation ? For rest and leisure. To be with Mark. He and I being together, away from the mundane – WE are the focus here, not me and how well I can or cannot look in the pictures.

So, I packed quick, and we left early morning 5 a.m., driving to Goa! All the way I was screaming ‘Goa, baby!’ Two hours down the highways, we realized we forgot the camera! We do have phones, but a camera is a camera. We decided to go anyway, and only later I found out – I was actually relieved and happier without the Point-and-Shoot pointing fingers at me.

The Pictures Craze
Click, check and click again.Share.Upload.Comment.
Share immediately on Whatsapp with sister or friend or sister-in-law – someone. Did it once, twice, and many times after that. At times, I would keep the camera mode on, and wait like a wildlife photographer to ‘capture’ something or I might miss it.

Again, reminded myself, ‘Joy, ditch the camera – whether in the phone or otherwise. Use it for only breathtaking moments.’

Before I left for Goa, I made up my mind –  I wanted to Rest – in the true sense of the word. Rest from anything and everything that has the compulsion “should” in it. “You should click good pictures. You should wear good clothes. You should not miss out on great deals at shopping. You should update close friends. You should come online at least once a day.”

Should delete ‘Should’

Want to delete ‘should’


My rest begins

I pictured myself wearing Goan-style clothes on the beach, not a two-piece, of course, but something I cannot for the life of me, wear in Hyderabad, without getting judged. For Mark, he thought it was more of the girl wanted to ‘buy stuff’ when I kept insisting on buying beach wear, until I told him later, how I longed and loved to wear something comfortable, free and ya, little skimpy. He said yes and I freaked out. 

I did send a picture to my sister in the US, only to realize later that I sent it to my brother-in-law. Number saving problem. Uff – so much for skimpy. 

Lying on the sun-bed, overlooking the beach, and listening to the noise of gentle waters hitting the shore – I just wanted to soak it all in – when again thoughts kept racing my mind – ‘You must finish reading the book in the vacation. Force yourself to finish that chapter.’

I enjoyed reading the book “Eat the cookie, buy the shoes’ by Joyce Meyer, and it was so so so apt for what I was going through – it was unbelievable. In one chapter she talks about how we need to take out time to do what we ‘want’, just for ourselves, once in a day, and that can refresh us and keep us going throughout the day. She talks about how God taught her to just sit back and enjoy life.

So, I loved it all – it was just what I needed. But it was not what I had to finish by taking an overdose of what I think I need. At one point, my eyes started to hurt, because, again, I was going by rules. 

And here is Mark – he seems to be enjoying the breeze, the waters, the food, everything – more than me. You could actually see it on his face – he was so free. He was not wearing anything fancy – nor did he even think it was important. He was just fully free. Man, I envied him.

I think it took me a day to actually start really ‘enjoying’ my vacation, in the truest sense of the word, not bogged down by ‘Must-do’s in Goa’ or what travel websites and friends suggested as ‘must-sees’.

Lottery Thinking

We hired a bike (oh how come, why didn’t you use the car when you took it? shut up), and kept exploring roads and enjoying the breeze. We were on the road for quite sometime, and though our bottoms were getting sore, we knew we will never enjoy this pollution-free ride again. The best part of a free mind ??? Here it goes:

I call this lottery thinking ! There was this flood of thoughts that raced through my mind, causing me to make  stupid expressions, and laugh to myself. We both were undisturbed – we were literally soaking it in. So here I was, undisturbed by Mark who was enjoying himself, and I was free to do whatever I want, in the back seat.

I was imagining showing up for an audition in Dance India Dance, and doing a Madhuri special dance. I was even thinking of what to say, after the dance is over, when they ask me my name – should I say “Shruthi Joy Chouhan, but call me Joy.”

And when they ask me if I can do other styles of dances as well, I would say or rather I guess at that point I decided to rewind, and include some western moves also in the dance, to show how versatile I was. So I scrapped that question, and asked myself another question through Remo D’Souza, who by the way, says, “You are a versatile dancer. I saw how you incorporated different styles into the dance. I think you really dance like Madhuri.” And then a parallel thought is how the producers pick shots of my best steps and actually add it in the DID TV promo.

Back to Remo. “So you’re a fan of Madhuri?” And I start off, without acting too overwhelmed, “Oh yes, since I was  a kid. It is my dream to see her.” And again, parallel thought  – next level, Madhuri comes as a special guest and I get to meet her, and now they take this clip of dreams coming true for participants, and air on the promo.

However, I was like, no. Too much pressure. Let’s get out of this scenario. So rewind, first audition, and then I say that I am just here to perform in front of the three dance gurus and my dream is fulfilled, so let me go, my bum is getting sore on the Enfield, and we just found a place to stop and stretch in Siolim, Goa.

The DID episode was over. As Mark kickstarted the bike, another fresh episode of lottery thinking and imagining began. Passing by the Kingfisher Villa, it seems, I walked in boldly, much against Mark’s wishes, and asked them to show me around. And Mallya is contacted, and apparently he says “No has been bold enough to do this, so let the couple in,” and we go in and are treated like royalty. Ha ha ha. And of course, we become famous after that – reporters get to know as soon as we walk out and oh ya – I insist on changing and doing makeup before the interview.

How I loved my lottery thinking – it  is free thinking to the power of n! Oh did I mention, being caught off-guard by the press, since I was a media baron vacationing in Goa ?? Ha ha !

Didn’t you see that ?

Yet another pressure I could foresee – when people ask you – what ALL did you see? 

We had one day left and decided earlier to see Old Goa – churches and stuff. But on that day, we just did not feel like it and so we just did not do it. And guess what – we were totally fine with that.

So, did we click many pics – yes, from our phone.I might upload a few. The rest are for us, for our close friends and family, and my unborn children.

This was our anniversary vacation, and we lived upto it – by making it – just about us. At times I would feel “we should have special conversations or plan for the future, bla bla bla.”  Nonsense.
We were just doing ‘leisure’ together – whether it was riding around town, watching firangs in bikinis parading around like it was their town and we were foreigners; or lying on the sunbed holding hands, watching some dumb movie in the hotel together, eating different cuisines, driving for 12 hours out of which I was sleeping for at least 8 -but we were still together; planning the ‘Pee-in-the-fields-behind-the-bush-act’ which of course I am certified at; or just agreeing spontaneously to stop shopping after an hour in the hot and sweaty Flea market – so what if we can bargain and get things cheap – I’m not wasting my peace over it; or just adjusting to no-hot-water-in-hotel … we were together in everything, and we enjoyed every bit of it.

While I was flipping through the pictures on my phone, I thanked God for helping me understand that … memories cherished are more important than memories captured. 

Cheers – to our first anniversary vacation! IMAG0002


    • Sunil anna, I can’t believe you said that:) Some day, I will – just that I don’t know what to write about. lol. I am so encouraged though whenever you even read my post, commenting tho door ki baath hai. thank you once again:)

  1. I envy your thoughts and you are so good at putting them in words. BTW us indians dont know what vacation ‘IS’! What we do is a clustro-phobic,rushing to catch things/ save money and dont know what to do when we get there but u are “Hute-ke”. Keep it up.

    • Naveen, thank you. Seriously, I never knew that I never knew how to enjoy a vacation. The firangs are really better at that. You won’t believe I carried my two pouches of makeup and accessories, and never used them once. Except for sunscreen, and lip balm – that is more than enough. First day I applied kohl and I was so not happy – I just rubbed it off. Anyways, you’re right about that – we put ourselves under unnecessary pressure of seeing places and saving money or even funny – getting the cheapest deal there also – ha ha ha. Indian consumer is always price conscious – one of the Big Bazaar centers had 20 lakh customers on the Sabse Sastha Din on Jan.26.Apan nahi badlenge.

  2. Oh gosh Joy ! This really cracked me up !!! 😀 Totally enjoyed reading it and laughed quite a bit as i could relate to most of what you wrote 😀 Glad you and Mark had a lovely , fun, enjoyable first anniversary vacation . Happy Anniversary by the way ! God bless you guys and your relationship forever 🙂
    God has truely blessed you with the gift of writing ….keep going 🙂

  3. hey!!!! its real JOY reading ur blogs….they r so close to reality….
    me tings u shd hv left ur imagination also bk hom like d cam…but ten
    how wud we get such masala tots 2 read…gr8 fun n grippin…luv…

  4. Omg! Can u believe I finally got to reading ur blog after all this time… I can’t explain to you how relieved I felt after reading it… Why can’t life b simple like u described it? Why can’t we leave our expectations from others n ourselves behind n truly enjoy m relax our mind? Why does everything start with the right plan and end with disappointments? After reading this I realized why I am not satisfied with my get aways.. The irony is I have kids n there entertainment to think off first now lol…..loved reading ur post and continue the good work. Very well captured thought!!!

    • Reshhhh, I’m so happy you enjoyed reading it and took a lil’ something from it too. Like you said, we make life difficult for ourselves by putting ‘pressure to perform’. I hope you enjoy with your adorable kids and Imran! thanks again

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