The stories the pictures don’t tell

Today evening I watched that crimson sunset from our tiny balcony; the perfect orange sun descending in a rush to the depths of the blue sea. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I was so rapt in the moment that a toddler in tow and the five year old asking one question after another, didn’t seem to distract me.

And just like that as the sun vanished, I snapped to reality. We made the restroom breaks and we were off to find a fruit platter to soothe their tummies before the hunger crankiness sets in!

The moments of getting lost in the beauty of this place and finally getting a minute to soak it in have been far removed and in-between. And I have been reminded umpteen times less by my own volition and more by my surroundings that this land or rather the Cyclades are not forgiving of kids being kids.

It comes in gentle incessant reminders at stores to watch them, or someone telling us that kids have a separate pool away from the unwritten “quiet” zone of the bigger pool. Or at the icecream place, where we were asked to take paper cups to-go and not sit there, since ceramics weren’t safe with the kids.

Mind you the positives are aplenty too! The food is fantastic. I can’t think of one bad experience so far. The little coffee and breakfast place in Santorini run by the sweetest lady who made wonderful omelettes and was extremely patient as our children rearranged all her decor. And the weather, is a tease. The equilibrium is so unfair, because of how consistent it is!

But in all, it is already hard to term a vacation with little children “relaxing” and when it is further taxed with having to ask them to “keep it down” because their presence and voices and antics are detrimental to the reputation of this destination, it can wear you down pretty fast.

I say this because not all parents want to camp or make annual Disney trips. It should be conducive or atleast accepting that kids live in the same world as adults. And a toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the road shouldn’t make the parent want to cry in ignominy.

My boys have been amazing. They have complained so little and rarely with all the time zone changes, early wakings, packing repacking, bus, ferry, train and hours of walking. But still they have born the brunt of the pressure we have felt at many times that their discipline has failed to match the expectation of this place!

As i hear their gentle snores next to me while they are getting a much needed rest from a long day in the sun, I make a mental note to make tomorrow easier for them and for me. That helping them live in an adult’s world of embracing boredom is important. And so is learning to accept their ubiquity and varied personalities !!

The tragedy of oedipus

I awoke from a deep nap; the one on a moving vehicle that is neither relaxing nor disturbing. As I pulled my toddler closer and patted him back to sleep, I noticed the landscape outside and realized it was nothing like the labyrinths of Athens that we had experienced a day ago. We were in a bus to Delphi and the blue water and green mountains simmering in the golden sun seemed surreal.

The landscape washed over me but not without an aura of sadness, something I felt touched everything in Greece I have seen so far. There was a burden, a pallor that I noticed in her people, on the streets, in the glory they clung to, in the resurrection of archeological marvels, in the remains of a economic downturn, almost like a curse that has taken thousands of years and still hasn’t lifted.

The guide had a mellifluous voice and it paired perfectly with my still subconscious state. I was drawn into her story. Like most legends of Greece, this one too ends in a tragedy. Of an ill fated marriage of mother and son, unable to escape a terrible prophecy and hands of fate. A moral we have often heard but in optimism. “Thalela ezuthu ” as my mother would say. What is destined for you cannot be changed.

But the Greek legend had floored me. They were masters of tragedy indeed. They couldn’t have said this moral in a more tragic and dramatic way!

My thoughts raced to the acropolis museum we had been to yesterday and the exorbitant check we had paid for our lunch there. But mainly how underwhelmed the archeological remains of the Parthenon had made me feel. A magic that the history-tellers and touristy places in Italy had so easily spun, completely failed here. The ruins had a shroud that was hard to shake off. Almost like the country couldn’t break out of the concoction that is ” history” told in terms of gods and mortals and not knowing when one is not the other!

The guide was starting to talk about yet another legend of Zeus and how the sanctuary of Apollo had come about. I decided that the only Greek god or demi god I was currently inclined to dream of was brad Pitt in Troy. I zoned out and decided to get lost in the surroundings of the mountains and valleys that had by now engulfed my every view !