The quickest way I know to shift a few surplus pounds is to go on holiday to India. Indeed I would argue that it can be cheaper and requires less effort than a week at a bootcamp. The short bursts of speed required when locating the nearest available loo are pretty much the only exercise required on this regime and I can confidently say that you will still be able to eat whatever you like, as slurping down rich, creamy curries will be the last thing on your mind. I have yet to encounter anyone who has been to India and whose intestines have remained unscathed, although for most it is just a temporary state that resolves in a few days. The first time I went to India I got sick two weeks into a six-week visit, my illness escalated to the point where I couldn’t even keep fluids down and I got so dehydrated I had to go into hospital for two litres of intravenous fluids. I returned to the UK 10kg lighter, with my hair falling out, looking like heroin addict. Luckily in those days looking like a heroin addict was all the rage, so I think I got away with it.
It’s never been that cool to have kids who look like heroin addicts though, meaning that I was on high germ-alert the whole time we were in India. Gallons of alcohol gel were put to good use, hand washing was strictly enforced, but most importantly of all there was no ice cream allowed. I am pretty sure that dodgy ice cream was responsible for my previous downfall as I remember eating some and saying to Spud ‘I shouldn’t be eating this,’ just before hell’s fury was unleashed on my bowels.
So, I was feeling pretty smug the day before we were due to leave India for Nepal. Apart from a few very mild episodes of the trots we had all been fine, the kids had eaten well despite the curry overload and I am pretty sure I had actually put on weight this time, largely due to my butter naan issues. I should have known that India would not release me from her clutches so easily. At 4am the morning we were due to fly I woke up to Buzz tossing and turning and noticed he was running a bit of a temperature. By 7am the poor wee soul was burning up and had it coming out both ends. We got his temperature down but there is not much else you can do for the rest apart from keeping up his fluids. Now we had a dilemma, do we still try to catch our (non-refundable) flight with a small explosive child, or do we sit tight, lose the flight and hope he improved so we can get out of the country before our visas expire the next day. By mid-morning I could have sworn he was rallying a bit and I convinced myself he was on the mend. The decision was made that we should go to the airport; this was a mistake.
Bundling everyone in a taxi, I put Buzz on my knee with a towel between us just in case, and off we went, me muttering ‘come on, come on’ between my teeth as we got snarled in traffic. We were almost there as well, I could just see the terminal in the distance when I heard a little moan from Buzz, who was asleep on my knee, and felt the warm seeping sensation on my legs that confirmed how hopelessly inadequate the towel idea was, and how foolish it had been to think we would be on that plane. Luckily my trousers had managed to contain the bulk of the seepage thus saving the poor taxi driver’s upholstery, and I crept out of the back seat in an awkward crouch praying he wouldn’t notice my soaking clothes. As I tried to scuttle discreetly across into the terminal Buzz unleashed another stream all over me and there really was no hiding what had happened from the security guard on the entrance, who looked like he would like to be transported anywhere rather than deal with this frantic-looking shit-covered woman shuffling towards him with a groaning child.
Now we had another dilemma, security restrictions at Delhi airport are pretty hardcore making it difficult to get in and out again if you are not flying (which we were sure we weren’t by this point). Spud ran in to see if there was anything we could do about our flight, while we sat outside departures, stinking, wet and miserable trying to avoid eye contact with all the people going inside. Eventually, after some strong words and gesticulations, Spud was allowed back outside to fetch us into the terminal with reassurances that the Indigo staff would help us get back out again when we had cleaned ourselves up. Thus followed a ridiculously melodramatic moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. Marching across the departure terminal, soaked all over with excrement, cradling my groaning child, I burst into tears and continued, sobbing pathetically, passing hundreds of staring people on the way to the toilets. I am not sure why the crying was necessary, but perhaps I was just overwhelmed at the sadness of watching the final shreds of my dignity floating off into the Delhi smog.
It wasn’t a great day and it wasn’t over. There was no wifi in the airport for us to find a nearly hotel to escape to and the discount that the airline offered us to rebook for the next day evaporated by the time we got round to the ticket desk. However, as always, people were good to us and we managed fine. The girl on the Indigo check-in desk went out of her way to get us in and out of the terminal, and a guy on a tour desk sorted us out with a nearby cheap hotel and arranged for a taxi to bring us back in the morning, all for a very reasonable price. By the next day, things were a little better, and certainly less explosive, so we were able to catch the short flight to Kathmandu. However, Spud and Newt also quickly succumbed and soon I was the only man left standing, I like to think my previous Indian experience had hardened my guts up and set me in good stead to eat whatever I like. Bring on Nepal and a bowl of melted ice-cream!
P.S Unsurprisingly we don’t have any photos of my sick child or the whole airport fiasco. Spud has solved this issue for everyone by rendering the touching and emotional artist’s impression of the scene below. I think you will agree that he is wasted in physio.