Just when I was about to say cheers to lost weight, a 3N/4D vacation ensured that I found more than I lost – the weight that is. Amazing, rather exasperating, how a short outing can tilt scales in ways you never imagined.
After a long flight, you take a quick shower and saunter into the hotel restaurant to occupy the window seat overlooking the sun-kissed mountains. At a time when you are normally tending the door, waiting for the maid, packing lunch and ordering groceries, this is heaven. Never relaxed so much at breakfast time and you are so happy that you could cry. You soak in the atmosphere and fetch up to take a look at what’s on offer. Most buffet spreads are an assortment of Indian, Mediterranean and Continental delicacies served to challenge your midriff. For reasons unknown, even the oatmeal and sugar free porridge which seem puke-worthy at home invite you with healthy hush – come savor me. The boiled eggs and omelette you find mundane back home begin to croon, ‘Is it me you are looking for’. The stuffed paranthas look at you in all their oily glory and hum softly, ‘aaja aaja mein hoon pyar tera’. The wide arrays of chutneys next to steaming idlis wink at you. The aroma from baked beans and grilled potatoes sautéed with parsely nudges you – try me. The cold cuts beckon, the stir fried veggies whisper, “Darling, we aren’t deep fried, try us no? The little gateaux’s begin to dance around your nose even as the creamy fondant plays hide and seek from behind the slim, crisp, hot and curvy jalebis melting you to mush. Yes, jalebis, miles away from home.
When you are debating difficult choices, the steward approaches, “Should I toast brown bread or multigrain bread for you?” You look so profound and thoughtful as if you are attending the G20 summit and wondering whether to vote in favour of the climate deal or go the Trump way. Back home, your toaster is a breeding ground for cockroaches but toasting, popping and smothering bread with dollops of butter is suddenly comforting. Almost calming. You are tempted to try every brownie, bun and bread with jams and marmalades of every flavour.
There are other multiple choice dilemmas, ‘Mam watermelon, mixed or orange juice? Sparkling, mineral or regular water? Green, regular or masala tea?’ You are tempted to make the most because eventually you are destined to fall back in the arms of muesli and cold milk. But you summon all the self-control at your disposal and count backwards. 10, 9, 8…
The steward hovers around your table with an assortment of maple syrup coated pancakes and juiciest falafel in town, here try some, we’ve used herbs from our garden and you won’t get this anywhere.
There is laughter in the air, the beautiful couple next to you is relishing their scrambled eggs, their kids are jumping like dolphins and everyone’s so excited that you surrender.
Given that breakfasts are included in your room rent, you decide to land a delicious kick on the hotel’s rear by vasool-ing every penny.
After all, what is one day of cheating?
The following day is worse. You head out for a long drive, you are not sure if you’ll stop for lunch so you stuff enough to last for dinner. Eventually, you have lunch, snacks, beer, dinner. The last day is the worst. You are about to check-out, you haven’t vasoolo-ed the room rent and the next vacation is a tiny blip on the radar. So you say, what the heck, I will shed the darn kilos again. Then the three day buffet breakfast takes three months to leave your midriff, if at all. But that’s what life is – diet, work, save, travel, repeat. Even if it means death by buffet.