I'm back home after what seems like a looong holiday, back to Gurgaon from Chennai via Bangalore and Hyderabad. I've missed reading my favourite blogs, blogging and generally being online for anything other than a quick email check. But first things first. Exams are DONE! More importantly, I thought they went well, though I haven't exactly started burning my books yet :) The first paper was good, though I had to scramble (unsuccessfully) to finish it. Knowing too much is a good problem, isn't it?!!! The second paper was an adventure. I was 90 minutes into it (with another 90 minutes to go), when I started feeling really ill. Nauseous, headachy and extremely giddy. I mustered up every ounce of willpower to write fast but with half an hour to go, I was feeling too horrible to continue, so packed up and left and hope fervently that I wrote enough to scrape through. How I got back home to my parent's place, is a haze. I sat in the auto hoping I wouldn't throw up or pass out right then and there. The kids jumped on me as soon as I got home but my mom shooed them away and I collapsed on the bed. Such drama!!!!! I figured that was my body's way of telling me to chill; waking up at 4 am everyday for several months and getting all tense about exams was clearly counter-productive.
The last 2 papers were easy. By that time, I had stopped waking up at odd hours and felt much better, physically. But the last few days were very tough, mentally. Just knowing the finish line was so near, and yet so far - was incredibly frustrating. A friend of mine, who runs marathons, described how he ran the last few kilometres of his last marathon, with cramps in both legs; I felt like that. I'd open my notebook and feel like bursting into tears. I was literally counting down the hours to my freedom, like a prisoner strikes down the days to his release! And release it has been. A big burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm not recommending to anybody a course of intensive study with 2 young uns (well, as young as mine anyway!) in the house. Go to work, instead and maintain some semblance of sanity! The low point came one evening when Ads innocently asked me "Amma, when will you be able to spend time with us?"
I buzzed off to Bangalore a few days after the end of exams. I had some long-pending admin work there which I'd promised S I'd take care of. I stayed with some very close friends and had a blast. First of all, just being in my adopted city is a huge mood-lifter for me. I always feel cheerful and happy in Bangalore. It's got something to do with the weather and the friendly people obviously; more than that, it's just the awesome memories I have of the place in all the years that I lived there that create a sort of virtuous cycle of more good times and more good memories. Does that make any sense?!! Long conversations with friends and some relatives over leisurely lunches and dinners, just hanging out for hours and talking, chewing slowly and appreciating tasty food - it's been a long time since I've done any of that. It was a wonderfully energizing two days and I freely admit that I did not miss my kids at all, being this starved for some me-time.
I returned to Chennai, and just a few days later, the kids and I bid adieu to the grandparents and headed off for a 5-day holiday in Hyderabad. We stayed with a good friend who I got to know in the US because her son and Ads were classmates, and who has now relocated to India. Sightseeing with 4 kids, all under the age of 6 - was obviously a challenge. Unsurprisingly, we didn't do much. But what we did was enough and again, the fact that the boys were engaged and happy and my friend and I were able to chat and catch up, was the biggest plus point.
So now, we're back. Unpacked and with another 10 days of the summer hols still left! This has been a summer like no other. The summer I worked like a dog. I couldn't have done it without my parents and mom-in-law, who themselves worked very very hard to keep the kids out of my way, and keep them busy, well-nourished and happy. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It took a village (and then some!) to get me through this course. Oh well, fingers crossed and all that - I haven't passed yet and hope that I will!