The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and it looks like the clouds have descended and taken residence on the tree tops. The other bare trees look on with envy. The fallen petals give the footpaths a snow powdered look. Daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses are tentatively making their appearance. Spring brings with it colour and light, both intent on brightening our lives.
It is International Women’s day today and messages are aplenty as the day awakens. One message catches my eye, “the men we value have always valued us”. A true sentiment, I agree.
The morning sun almost blinds me as I drive towards it on my way to work. The day doesn’t start well. The simbaby refuses to work. The promised catering doesn’t arrive. I show Gopal how to do box breathing. A technique to calm ourselves down. Alcira tries to raise our spirits. Ravi is cheerful as ever, nothing fazes him. Before long we are up and running. The day progresses and ends well despite the depressing start. The candidates seem to have enjoyed the day and achieved what they came for. We get good feedbacks, something we didn’t anticipate considering the going ons this morning.
Back home Lakshmi and Lavinia are waiting. Lavinia is leaving in the morning. Only Lakshmi is staying the weekend. The children are having a great time. I find sticky messes everywhere I look. Chewed orange segments on the ottoman, bread crumbs on the floor and to top it all Lavinia has discovered the joys of blowing raspberries. Her Appu starts her off and there is no stopping her after that. I have my work cut out for the night. Both of them stay past their bedtimes, too excited to go to sleep.
Lavinia leaves with her parents in the morning. Rain is predicted but it stays away and the sun makes a welcome appearance. A blustery day and the windchill drops the temperature even further. We decide to check out the Valentines mansion and surrounding acres of garden situated not too far from home. A 17th century mansion which has been extensively renovated. Lakshmi happily rides and pushes her bike along as we make our way around the lakes and playing fields.
Her new phrases this week are “no ploblem” and “talk to me”, if she thinks we are not listening to her conversations. “Are you a lady?”, she asked me the other day. “I have my doubts”, I answered. “Are you a princess?” “I am the grandmother to two princesses, does that count?”, I ask.
Our new hobby is checking out the latest styles and fashion accessories on the style pages. She has an eye for pretty things and always comments on what I wear if she likes it. The cold weather is still not conducive to wearing pretty dresses but she was insistent that she wanted to wear one this morning. I wonder if the layers she has on is enough to keep her warm. Unlike me, she is oblivious to the cold wind and happily follows us around. The car park closes early during the winter and early spring months. We have enough time to walk around for a couple of hours before the car park closes. There is plenty of space for Lakshmi to ride her bike and practice with her scooter here. We will come back another day when the weather is better.