Yet another magalir mattum (only-women) plus kiddos trip, this time to Thekkady. This time around, it was a coffee-toffee decision unlike the carefree Yelagiri trip. Should I join this time or not? If I do, will Varun go with me or stay behind? I know some mommies out there are ready to throw your daggers at me! Confining Varun to a couple of seats in the train, carrying him for the most part of the trip besides the travel bag, the fear of losing him in a crowd, the power to hold him back when he sees a lake or pool etc, were a few factors that I had to consider. The daddy pitched in here helping me make the decision. He thought the trip would do me good and so I should go with Vyas, and he, with the grandparents, would take care of Varun.
And so, Vyas and I joined my friends on this wonderful trip to Thekkady without Varun, my first stay away from the little one. I’m told, he was fantastic; ate, played, and slept without a fuss! Though I felt a little relieved, there was another side that was disappointed! My baby did not miss me? Felt like leaving for work the first day post the maternity break:) And counseled myself with – ‘No one is indispensable. Face it. You could stay away from your baby and so could he! Move on!’
The bookings were made nearly a couple of months back and none of us were sure if we will make it owing to official and personal priorities. Being a holiday season, we did not risk postponing the booking. We decided to cancel a couple of days before the journey date in case there is huge drop-out. A couple of friends dropped out at the last minute owing to sickness. Finally, we were 8 women and 6 kids (aged 11, 9, 8, 6, 5, and 4!) on the trip and a very fulfilling one at that!
We alighted at Dindugul junction and headed to Kumbakarai water falls. The original plan was to hit Suruli falls but dropped it as a friend who had visited a week earlier told that there wasn’t much water. Kumbakarai was a superb experience. What looked like a light fall from a distance, came with a huge thud on us. The kids got to take one more loooong dip at a stream leading to the fall. As it was shallow and safe, there was a lot of splashing and screaming!
After nearly an hour and a half at Kumbakarai, we were back on the road to Thekkady. The road was one long silk ribbon with a view of the Kodai hills at a distance.
We reached the resort at 10.15 AM on a Saturday morning, parked our luggage, and had a sumptuous breakfast. A tad disappointed at the menu as there was nothing ‘Kerala’ in the breakfast menu:). Half-an-hour later, the kids were at the pool for yet another round of splashing and swimming. We had a hard time yanking them out of the pool:)
After refreshing, we visited a spice plantation at Kumily and the experience was enriching. Despite the hot afternoon, the kids walked without sulking. Vyas had to make a scrapbook of leaves collected over a nature walk as part of his holiday homework. This visit was a blessing and we collected the leaves from a few spice plants. There was this unique plantain tree in which the plantain flower and the plantains grow upwards, facing the sky! See this beauty!
There was another flower that resembled a golden fish! Here is the pic!
The lunch following the plantation visit was a disaster. We should have done at least a 10 minutes research instead of trusting the driver’s suggestion! Happens! Again, the kids did not fuss. We proceeded straight to the elephant ride. A few of us stayed back while most of the group hopped on to the elephant and took a 30 minutes ride into another plantation (there are quite a few plantations in Kumily-Thekkady). We were in time to catch the sight of an elephant being bathed.
We were back at the resort by 4.30. After some sandwiches, coffee and tea, we went to a Kathakali show where an artist enacted the ‘navarasas’, the nine different emotions expressed using the eyes. This was followed by two artists performing an episode from ‘Narakasuravadham’, depicting the killing of Nakrathudi, the demon (sister of Narakasura) by King Jayantha. The overall quality of the performance was okay only that Vyas jumped out of his skin towards the end when the slain demon really looked and bellowed like one!
We discovered a nice Gujrathi/Marwadi dhaba just two blocks away from our resort and compensated for the poor lunch. Despite the splitting headache, we managed to gobble up hot panneer parathas, phulkas, yummy curries and lassi!
This was Day 1 of our rendezvous. More to follow!