This post is long due..

Our annual ‘magalir-mattum’ trip last May was to Poovar. We had booked the Poovar Island Resort (Club Mahindra) and it was worth every penny.. The stay, the ambiance and the food was excellent! Most of our time was spent soaking in the pool and hogging the food like starved pigs:) The resort provides a back-water cruise and there is access to the beach.. Poovar is for people whose idea of a perfect holiday is plenty of food, sleep, pool and books:) Floating cottages are not provided for folks with small kids.. So we had to opt for land cottages which were equally great!

We made the most of our stay at the resort and also visited the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.. Again, the lake is worth a visit, but the sanctuary is a big disappointment.. You’ll find close to half-a-dozen lions, all malnutrition-ed, and its highly likely that you’ll mistake them for huge dogs.. And all the lion/lionesses wear a very bored look and they look far from wild:) Another part of the sanctuary is marked for crocodiles.. Again, its a tiny fraction of our very own croc-park in Chennai and OMR. The place stinks and you can actually count the crocs!

A few pics from the trip:

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Chandni Chowk to China (A trip to Uttarakhand – part II)

Part 1: A trip to Uttarakhand

I mean, Delhi to Dehradhun. The AC Special train from Delhi to Dehradhun seemed to have arrived on the platform right out of a deep freezer, and the Vs were mighty excited at the prospect of enjoying a similar temperature the next 3 days in Mussoorie. It was a late night train and Varun dozed off the instant we were inside.

Vyas insisted on sitting and gazing out of the window for sometime despite telling him that he’d only see darkness and that it was already 12.00. I think he doesn’t appreciate the advantage of ‘borrowing’ wisdom yet and thinks he has to experience everything first hand before coming to a conclusion. Ten minutes later, he realized that even his spectacles were of not much help and did not shed any light on the outside world.

A few minutes later we all were comfortably tucked in our sheets only to be woken up by a fellow passenger, aged around 40. He had somehow remained invisible till then though his baggage was there and was asking us if we had taken his rug. We double-checked before denying because mistakes happen.. Varun and I were sharing one, while the other 2 Vs had one each. The man was not convinced.. Why would the Indian railways deny him a rug- no? So it must be one of us.. And since we had kids with us and it was also freezing cold, he persisted the matter further saying… “I understand.. yahaan tho chaar honi chahiye… aapke chote bacche hain, agar aapne ne..” (there must be four rugs here, how come only 3? you have small kids and if you have taken it….) and was checking our berths personally, validating if it was one or two rugs. We let him ‘examine’ and one more time of polite ‘explaining’ happened. With the AC blower right on top of our heads, we had to maintain our cool and besides, we had to empathize with him because without that rug, he’d wake up stiff the next morning..

He continued to sulk and kept asking no one in particular a little loudly as to why only his rug disappeared, and that he was sure somebody had taken it. At which point, the hubby reminded him that the rant will help if directed at the TTR (TTE) /assistant in the coach… Looked like he got the ‘Mohammed should walk to the mountain’ message because he walked up to the TTR and there ensued some animated conversation and I don’t remember if I saw or imagined him pointing towards us once or twice during his conversation. After some more mumbling and grumbling, the railway folks gave him another one. The next thing I heard was at once a guttural and nasal snore. This time, it was not the hubby😉

Next Parts:

Part 3: Lake? What lake?
Part 4: Naini Devi was Kind
Part 5: V.I.P
Part 6: Delhi to Chennai- Kabuliwala
Part 7: An end and a beginning

A trip to Uttarakhand – Part 1

Between a coffee-toffee decision of whether to head to Mussoorie or to Nainital, the older Vs decided to bunk a week of work and settled for a cocoa plan that combined both. Combining two weekends, we bid a temporary adieu to Chennai heat for 10 days to embrace a 40 deg C temp at Delhi for 2 days, a 30 deg C at Mussoorie and a surprisingly pleasant weather at Nainital. Nature conspired exactly on the day we left Chennai by sending out thunder and lightning, a good amount of rain, and a blessed weather that weekend while we were being reduced to a royal fry by Ra, the sun god, at Nai-Dilli.


Despite the burning Delhi heat, we spent 2 cool days with my dear friend Geetha and her family. Its years since we both got to spend so much time together… Marriage does change a lot of things!

I had only two items on the agenda for Delhi – Geetha was one and another was meeting a V.I.P.

When the trip plan was being discussed, Vyas would butt in and insist that we show him the monuments in Delhi- the ones he’d studied about in his EVS lessons:) First on his agenda was the Qutub Minar and Rashtrapathi Bhavan, the Parliament House et al. The Vs, Geet, her ever generous hubby RR, and their two lovely kiddos, son aged 9, daughter aged 7, visited these places, besides the wonderful Rail Museum. It was a lovely experience climbing in and out of the heritage coaches and engines.. Our Maharajas had really lived life king-size!! This place is worth a visit and the kids had a lot of fun. They were excited on seeing a real Turntable which they’d all along seen only on TV in ThomasTank Engine show!

Visited the much talked about temple complex, Akshardham on day two in the late afternoon. It took nearly 4 hours to go around the place and sit through the history of Swami Narayan.. Good use of Robotics (audio- animatronics it seems- which to me is Greek) to trace the life and history of the child yogi – Nilkant who went on to become Swaminarayan. Just that Varun got scared in the mini-theatres there and kept saying, ‘polaam pa, polaam ma’.

Vyas found the show boring but liked a boat-ride taking us through the Vedic Civilization which is considered 10,000 yrs old. Did not bother to do any math to ascertain the age of that civilization after some interesting information on display there. Did you know our folks propounded gravitation theory even before Newton? I mean the scientists from the Vedic age.. Those of you who have visited this place would know. Well, that is a tall claim on display there. And we (I mean, they) were the first with the air crafts business and atomic theory too. I was hoping that Vyas would ask some questions but he was kind of distracted by too many models of too many people on either side of the boat, but made a special note of Sage Vyasa to check if he and the sage had anything in common besides the name;) When asked if he had any questions, he said, “Yes. can I have pop-corn once we go out?”. Period.

We were left with just the time needed for dinner before heading out to catch our train to Dehradhun.. and my meeting with the VIP did not happen on our way up.

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Related Posts:

Part 2: Chandni Chowk to China
Part 3: Lake? What lake?
Part 4: Naini Devi was Kind
Part 5: V.I.P
Part 6: Delhi to Chennai- Kabuliwala
Part 7: An end and a beginning

The Verdict

While most of India was tuned in to television channels for news on the awaited judgment, Vyas had his own concerns.

Dad: I think we may have to call off our trip..

Vyas: No appa, please. Let us not cancel the tickets, pleeeaaaseee!!

Dad: If it were only the 3 of us, we can probably risk. What if we get stranded somewhere? Thambi is too small.. and….

Vyas: That is negative thinking!! Be positive!

Dad: Its not that. Certain things are beyond our control or reasoning.. You will understand when you grow up.

Vyas: I know. What is so confusing about the case though? All they need to do is give equal rights to both!

Dad & Mom (jaws dropped): But… yeah, you are right and hope everything is fine… how did you know?

Vyas: I asked thatha. He told me there is this dispute. I think the place should be shared. Aditya (his 10 yr old cousin) thinks that the government must convert it into a farm land and feed the poor..

Me: Both your ideas are good, but right now we have no control over it. We’ll see if we can advance the travel by a day. If we are able to book the travel, we go. Okay?

Vyas: Cha! Can’t they postpone the whole thing to the next week, after we are back?!!

National interest for an 8.5 yr old is for now an item on the ‘larger’ agenda! Peace prevailed even at the V house. We advanced the trip (Pollachi and Valparai) by a day and were back this morning. Vyas, a little disappointed at the thought of 4 days slipping by so fast observed: ” Ma, its cheating”. “What now? Who cheated you?”, I asked failing to make a connection. “This TIME ma.. It moves fast when we are away from Chennai but crawls when we are here, specially when there is school!”. “Or work” I added! The other disappointed folks were Arnab Goswami, Barkha and their kind albeit for different reasons:)

Those Vacations!

My cousin Shankar was one great entertainer during our school/college days. Without saying it in as much words, he showed how easy it was to enjoy life and derive pleasure from small blessings. With him around, non-stop entertainment was guaranteed!

Small time gossips, fun cooking (making bhel poori, cutlets, veg tikkies), polishing brass lamps, a dozen of us watching movies after movies through the night with snacks and tea to keep us awake, arranging road trips from Chennai to Vaidheeswaran temple or to Mundanthurai, taking a dip at every stream on our way, taking us for a night show to watch the movies Mackenna’s Gold, Fast Forward, Where Eagles Dare and few others for the nth time, making us sing ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’ or ‘Ra Ra Rusputin’, getting us listen to K.J Yesudass’s rendering of ‘Thayee Yeshoda’, fooling us with his recorded speech mimicking Karunanidhi (or was it Anna Durai?), and playing a game of cards for hours together like there was no tomorrow! We’d never know how to be sad with him around! But all this came at a price. We had to make several cups of filter-coffee for him. He derived a great kick in yanking us from the couch and shoving one of us girls into the kitchen to make him that coffee. We feigned anger and heaped curses for tormenting a ‘girl-child’ thus, but still made him that coffee:)

Adulthood alters a lot of things and shuffles all our priorities, introduces new ones and pushes back some old ones into oblivion. But am happy that we ‘lived’ those days like there was no tomorrow:)

During one of those lazy vacations (which I so miss now!), we had a lot of fun translating a few Tamizh cine songs to Tanglish! He came up with this translation and the fact that I still remember it goes to show how popular it was among us! Looking back, it kind of sounds a little silly perhaps, but we laughed our guts out that day!

Here’s how it goes:)

(Kuzhaloodhum Kannanukku – from Mella Thiranthathu Kathavu)

Flute blowing kannannukku,
nightingale singing songu hearing-aa
cuckooo, cuckooo, cuckooo, cuckoo

This voice-odu machan
your flute music -challenging-aa
cuckooo, cuckooo, cuckooo, cuckoo

Leaf-odu flowerum
head-shake see-eee
leaf-odu flowerum- fruitum
head-shake see-eee , see-ee

Mountain- air blowing podhu
jasminnu singing-aa
dark-cloudsu gatherum time-u
peacockku dancing-aa

If you liked it, well I take the credit for posting it here and ‘popularizing’ it, but if brickbats are coming my way, am going to gladly pass it on to him! By the way, both are welcome! And would also love to hear about the little things that added infinite mirth and color to your holidays with near/dear ones!

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