22 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Suresh Menon: home sweet home?

Our columnist thought a staycation would make the best holiday – and then his Mr Fix-It side took over

Suresh Menon
25 Jan 2016 | 02:39 pm

Ah! Staycation!’ he said, affecting wisdom and humour in a single gesture as he stroked his chin. 
This was the 34th time I was hearing the same word being spoken with the same I-just-invented-it-don’t-you-think-I-am-brilliant tone in the first week of the new year. For we had decided to stay at home for the vacation as the year changed. 
I was excited we’d all be under one roof, something that hadn’t happened in months. The weather was wonderful, 
and there was always something to do, even if that something was to go goggle-eyed binge-watching movies and favourite TV shows.

There is always DIY to be done around the house – fixing the tap, straightening the shelves, painting this room or that, getting a newer and fancier TV, working in the garden. The plumber, carpenter and gardener all of a sudden become virtually a part of the household. ’Tis the season to be jolly (and say things like ’tis and ’twas and ’twillbe), so you watch your movies with special sound effects provided by these hardy men.

This is a good time to fix things in the car too. And what better occasion to get that root canal or visit the optician? Fun for the whole family, in fact.

Then there is the question of dealing with distant relatives. Unvisited for years. If ’twere done when ’tis done, then ’twere well ’twere done quickly, as Macbeth said, (doubtless in the holiday season, considering the ’tweres and ’tises). That’s so many hours spent in the traffic, and arguing about the need for disturbing a perfectly balanced ecosystem by popping up on the porches of aunts and uncles and meeting cousins one never knew existed.

With such hectic activity – from fixing moving parts to setting right immoveable ones and combining the two in visits to relatives – where is the vacation? Or staycation?

Plumbers, doctors, carpenters, television sets, new furniture to watch the TV from, road trips… they don’t come cheap. A rough calculation has revealed that as much money was spent on staying at home as a trip to London. 
It is cheaper to travel, and you don’t have to pretend to have missed relatives you haven’t seen since either they or you were five years old.

A playcation would have been more fun, or even a straycation, where you merely wander around without a plan. 
Or an aircation – where the focus is mainly on breathing good air – or carecation, darecation, naycation (saying ‘no’ to everything during a holiday) – any or all of the above is preferable to a staycation. Even a workation.

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Suresh Menon

Suresh Menon

is a writer based in India. In his youth he set out to change the world but later decided to leave it as it is.