Celebrity Column | Stay my vacation, writes Shweta Bachchan Nanda

Hell is the inane chatter at post-summer vacation parties. The months July on to September, are a minefield of smug holidaymakers holding onto the last vestiges of their South of anywhere tans and squeezing themselves into impulse buys from that charming boutique in the ultra luxury hotel they stayed at — oh so subtly marked, as their location on every single ‘gram post of the bleedin’ sunset. Yes, you have spent a packet on your summer vacation, writing it off as giving your kids “exposure” (which they have spent texting their friends back home), but does it have to be the cornerstone of every conversation you have for the next few months?

I mean did you just turn a discussion on whether or not Trump could get impeached into a veritable captain’s log of your time in Sardinia? Some of us, (read me), have not had the good fortune to be away during the summer months and on top of having to contend with your incessant posts #jetsetgo, it’s extremely unfair to subject us to the minutiae of your wonderful life. There are only so many tables loaded to within an inch of its life with exotic mouth-watering food and excellent wine you can see, without them all becoming a bit of a blur. I, on the other hand, had a tough time coming to a consensus if my family would prefer Schezwan prawns or Malai Tikka at a multi-cuisine restaurant that made up the one fancy meal I had all summer. So, obviously I am cranky! That said Staycations, if two weekend trips to Alibaug count as one, are so underrated.

I am sitting having TV lunch with my kids (hell every lunch is TV lunch on a staycation) and they’re actually talking to me. Of course, once lunch is over they are hypnotised by their phones and run off — perfect. I have all the time in the world to read (a record seven books in two months) and finish my writing. The roads are a dream to drive on, school’s out and the congestion has eased up enough to enable “drives” that mythical pastime every ’80s kid has fond memories of. Reservations at movies and restaurants are a shoe in; you actually get to eat a meal without inadvertently eavesdropping on your neighbour’s relationship drama. Or having them get an earful of yours. There is also an unspoken camaraderie between those of us who haven’t been away on holiday. We meet for dinners and poke fun at all you vacationers (that printed Hawaiian shirt you wore to Nikki beach — totally not feeling it, also as a rule of thumb it is never not vulgar) and never, ever discuss what we could have been doing instead of what we really are. Instead, we talk about delayed flights and missed connections that are at par for the course during the summer.

Scenic beach clubs smelling of sun block, champagne and one-upmanship where you’re paying twice the price for your Sole Meunière than you ordinarily would, just so you could have some sweaty DJ (in all white) rupture your eardrums as you shout to your neighbour “I am so relaxed!” And thank our lucky stars disingenuously that we sat this one out. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to go on holiday? So the other night a smug holidaymaker asked me what I did this summer? “I’ve been here all through, but perhaps end August I go away somewhere for a few days.” I reply. “But the season will be over by then,” I am informed. I smile, that’s pretty much the idea.