Daddy Diaries 4


The Joy of narrating an adult holiday to children

The only people who did not raise their eyebrows when I told them I was going on a boy’s weekend trip to Phuket somewhere at the end of August were my 7- and 9-year-old daughters. Six of us in our early forties, all friends from the same school, made an impromptu plan to travel to Phuket to relive our lost youth – which doesn’t necessarily involve indulging only in the nefarious activities you’re thinking of. We wanted to spend some time without domestic and professional responsibilities; the last time we were on a beach holiday together was to Goa, over two decades ago. “Why didn’t you guys go earlier?” my daughters asked. “Because we were all busy working and making babies like the both of you and raising them to be wonderful children,” I reasoned unreasonably. 

“Tell us what you did there,” they asked after we had returned from 3 days of enriching experiences. “What happens in Phuket, stays in Phuket!” I replied, teasing them, but who can resist the urging “Tell ya, dadda!” of a 7-year-old. “Well, we got onto an early morning Indigo flight, which will soon change its name to Bhaago once India becomes Bharat!” I joked, but they didn’t understand. We were there within 4 hours, I told them, and a man called Jimmy picked us up in a minivan and took us to the villa we had rented, a beautiful six-bedroom white palatial mansion atop a hill, with a swimming pool overlooking the turquoise water of Patong Beach. 

Among several housekeeping instructions printed on a laminated notice board was one that caught our eye in particular: “Your three resident maids will take care of all your daily needs, in discretion.” In Thailand, this could mean a lot of things, so we checked with our lawyer friends in India if it should have been ‘with’ discretion and not ‘in’ discretion, but they refused to opine on cross-border transactions. Like good boys, we decided to steer clear from testing it out and left for lunch instead, where we feasted on local seafood at a roadside cafe and topped it up with their prized mango sticky rice. 

Marijuana is legal in Phuket. Every second shop that adorns the streets emanates that musty odour that typifies the drug. Even though we refrained from trying it, we got our education in it. Marijuana cookies had three categories – Good Boy, Naughty Boy, and Bad Boy – with increasingly accelerated concentrations of the dose in each square inch. We walked the famous Bangla Street with an eclectic array of nightclubs and bars brimming with scantily clad women doing their thing, all looking relatively unhappy. It is somehow the brutal reality of life that those who bring the most joy to others are most often internally fractured and lost. We got some Thai acrobatics performed on us in a traditional Thai massage parlour that had the words “No sex” inscribed in bold and an earnest request not to ask for a happy ending in fine italics below. We returned home well rested.

The next morning, we got onto a giant catamaran that took us an hour into the verdant sea for scuba diving. Along with breakfast aboard, we were given instructions on how to breathe underwater and what to do in case we ran out of oxygen. We put on body-hugging suits used by thousands before us, got cylinders strapped onto us, put on our foot flippers, and 1-2-3 dived into the water to get intimate with the fish. We swam 20 metres below the surface of the water and I was mesmerized by what the sea world had to offer. Corals of varying hues, even though bleached by the harsh rays of the sun, were magnificent to be at a breath’s distance from. Fish and turtle that we’ve only seen on television suddenly came alive, and the million bubbles emanating from fellow divers’ snorkels looked like we were swimming in a sea of diamonds. We made three such dives interspersed by an hour each, the scorching sun turning us a shade darker each time we surfaced. 

After 10 hours at sea, we returned to our villa in a neon pink auto rickshaw, from where we saw the golden sun set on the white sands of Phuket. On the television, we tuned into India landing Chandrayaan 3 on the moon. We lounged for the rest of the evening at our private pool, sharing stories from school and why those seemed to be the best days of our lives. “If you could live the life of anyone else in the world encompassing every single thing they’ve been through, who would you choose?” one of us asked the others. Everyone said they would rather not be anyone else. I chose Roger Federer. 

“What’s your answer?” I asked my daughters. “Taylor Swift,” came the reply without batting an eyelid. “I am told that that the scientific community has organised Swiftposium 2024, a 4-day conference to be held in Melbourne in February 2024, to understand the phenomena that is Taylor Swift,” I gave them some insight. 

The next day, I continued telling my daughters, we rented a speed boat to go island hopping. In shorts and singlets, we took pictures at the edge of the boat from where we jumped into the ocean with no one in sight for miles. We floated away all our worries as we stared at the vast expanse of a clear blue sky peppered with white candy floss. We went into obscure islands with malachite caves that were a few thousand years old and kayaked singing retro Bollywood songs. I collected some fossils and shells to take back home. We made a pit stop at James Bond Island, made famous in the epic movie The Man with the Golden Gun – a metaphor for what every man my age wishes for.

“Are you truly happy?” one of us asked the others on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere. Of course, the conversation then moved to what ifs and past loves, with all of us quickly reminding ourselves that, in the words of Cheryl Strayed, all those sister ships we were imagining had sailed away, and all we could do was salute them from afar. “Don’t forget we have a speed boat with us; we can catch up anytime,” one said joyfully. 

As we sailed back, we saw the sky mesmerise us with its colours, dancing under a setting sun. We made a pitstop to the Big Buddha on ATVs and meditated our sins away. We drove back to our residence, stopping for Nutella crepes on the way. Confucius said, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” That’s what we did on this trip, I told my daughters.

“When you grow up, I hope you travel the world,” I told them. “I hope you travel with friends who make the experiences worth reliving a million times over. I hope you make the kind of friends I did when I was your age and I wish you hang out with them until they’re my age and beyond. I hope one day, when I’m old and rickety, you’ll tell me endearing stories of your travels,” I professed, as I unleashed all the goodies I had gotten them. “We’ll take you with us, dadda, don’t worry,” they said, as they disappeared to play.

16 Comments on “Daddy Diaries 4
  • MANOJ MALKAN says:

    As usual beautifully explained an experience of Phuket. Unfortunately the reputation of the place is spoiled. Wish I would gather few old friends and relive old memories

  • Sanjay P Sonar says:

    Beautiful pics,and enjoy the memories Mazda

  • Godfrey says:

    Role model dad

  • Daisy Jesia says:

    Mazda, next time do try Mauritius. It’s not called Paradise Island for nothing! Really very beautiful place and I would love to hear your description of that trip!

  • Kersi Naushir Daruvala says:

    I believe no matter where you go in this world, it’s best to know who’s company you keep and then relax, you will be happy and your battery of youth will be fully charged.

  • Anjali Patki says:

    Lovely pictures and vivid description of a holiday well spent. You’re right about having a break from the mundane routine so one gets back to it rejuvenated. I recently had a holiday of a lifetime in norway with my undergraduate besties, 5 girls…just as you describe yourselves as ” boys”…welcome midlife pleasures! Enjoyed the write up

  • Lalita Chauhan says:

    Wow, beautifully penned down. While reading all the Phuket was getting live in front of eyes. you forced me to put phuket in my bucket list.

  • Dr. Vishnu Mulchandani says:

    Phuket …Good memories are described in words to good people and those who only think phuket is bad ….they should go to phuket once with their families and then with their jolly go lucky friends Males with male friends and females with their female group and ENJOY

  • Dr. Rafat Ansari says:

    So so sweet!!!
    That’s what daughters are!!

  • Sharifa Moorad says:

    Multi faceted being. What an interesting insght and account. You cud whip out a bestseller with that level of writing. Kindly consider that. Beautifully authored.

  • Vipul shah says:

    Dearest Dr Mazda sir……

    Another brilliant piece in series of daddy’s diary a travelogue to Phuket……..🌹
    Rocking Life of yours sir is really appreciable for perfect balancing between Profession & personal Life❤️
    You are too good combination of Surgeon, Writer, photographer & Super Human being ❤️‍🩹

    Please keep on enlightening us with your different Articles on variety of Topics ❤️

    God bless with more power on your fingers sir 💗

  • Yasmin G says:

    Lovely. Graphically describing your unforgettable experiences. Feel like a voyeur looking in. Glad you had a great time. Everyone especially you deserve it after your hectic work schedule. Keep traveling and entertain us with more such travelogues. Thanks

  • Cusrow Sadri says:

    Doc, after your Australia Sky Diving trip with Dad, another beautiful trip with school friends. Envy you Doc 😜
    Beautiful pics 👌 Cheers 🍻

  • Setu Ram says:

    Beautiful vistas of Phuket.. Cheers! Harper Lee said – You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family..
    You lucked out twice!
    Close friends of our youth are a joy forever
    Loved the travel sketch

  • Narendra Gathani says:

    Best trips r those which make u feel young and childish again.they may be school /college friends or friends who give u those old childish feeling.
    I feel it’s not the journey or destination which gives us happiness;it’s the company.
    Please continue with many more pleasurable trips for some and escapades for others

  • Pravin Gore says:

    What an experience beautifully painted with articulated vocabulary. Felt as though I was there with all. Well done dear Mazda, keep writing


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