This, that & Chikmagalur


Have spent a lot of time wondering if I’d really hit a writer’s block. Or if I was running out of stories to tell, or tidbits to share. Or if life had become less eventful, or if I have been really that busy. Well, turns out that I have been a bit blog-lazy.

Well, trying to break out of the slumber with a few updates:

My boys turned 11 and 4 this summer. Vyas had his Upanayanam last month. Thoroughly enjoyed all the festivities surrounding this event, with most of the near and dear ones attending. Vyas had agreed to get it done and seemed to enjoy the attention.Looked like a painting of Vamana avatar:) He was a little irritable at the way his dhoti was tightly wound, making it difficult for him to sit, and the garland had some tiny twigs that kept pricking him. During the entire event, I caught sight of Varun twice. Several people, and several things kept him busy. Good for me.

Varun transitioned to L.K.G and is convinced that he really is a big boy, what with uniform and all that. Was more than excited the first two days and woke up before the rest of the household did. On day three, he woke up and wondered if kids really went to school every day, and why he had no holidays, followed by a major show-down. So much for being a beeeeg boy. We counseled him for like 38 hours about how he had attended just two days, and there was another 200 days to go! Phew! So, every work-day evening, I’ve set up a reminder on my mobile to remind the fellow that the next day is a working day too and how he has to wake up with a happy face and go to school still sporting a happy face. Our Mondays now begin with a count-down for the weekend to follow!

Vyas seems to have grown a bit wider and so has his mouth, though a few assure me that he has also grown an inch taller. Well, haven’t bothered to measure. He is thoroughly enjoying dragging his dad into doing Sandhyavandhanam every day. The sonny and I do a secret high-five before and after the task. Evil we ARE.

A trip to Chikmagalur with my friends was another awesome thing to happen this summer. If you are planning a trip, you must give Eagle Eye Holidays resort a try. It is 50kms off Chikmagalur town with very little human presence other than the resort folks and those visiting. A welcome thing. The food served there was nothing great, but just good enough. It was great hiking up the Mullayanagiri peak, and trekking our way down and up through a winding path to Jerry Falls, another trek to a view point from the resort- the other side of Bhadra reserve, and a plantation walk.. The campfire with barbeque and mindless dancing on all the 3 nights we stayed there was enjoyable..

The best experience however was that of taking an open jeep ride to the Bhadra reserve for a safari. Just as we hit the forest entrance, the skies opened up and it poured like there was no tomorrow! We were a group of 11 women and 9 kids. We took shelter in the verandah of what looked like a guest-house. The rains showed no signs of relenting even after an hour of waiting it out. It was already 5 in the evening and a forest guide dissuaded us from proceeding because the animals would have receded and also because it was an open jeep and as it continued to pour heavily, there was no way we could take the kids inside. We decided to head back to the resort and so tied a tarpaulin over the open side in the jeep. We managed to pack 4 small kids on to an adult’s lap in the front which had cover. Despite the tarpaulin cover, the water was seeping in and it was chill. Two from the gang were thoroughly drenched. I’d give anything to experience the jeep ride again!

While I go back and retrieve more stories, here are some pics from the trip. Also, let me know what you all have been up to. I don’t know what you did last summer 😉

Women’s Day Out at Yelagiri


Some laughed at us, few mocked at us, while some others sincerely dissuaded us. But we had made up our mind and were all set to make the trip. And what a lovely trip it was. The month of May is hot anywhere in South India and some ‘regulars’ told us that the weather at Yelagiri sucks big time during summer. The big idea was to ‘dump’ the men-folk (dads and spouses i mean) at home and have a get-away of our own. Not that anyone would have missed us. On the contrary, it must’ve been a break they were looking forward to, and we ladies were magnanimous enough to LET THEM BE:-) We were 6 ladies and 4 children in addition to a nice driver.

We had hired a Qualis and started very early on a Friday morning, carrying a light breakfast, plenty of water, some games and books for children, cameras, plenty of money, some medicines just in case..The Bangalore highway towards Vellore is like a neatly stretched-out ribbon. Our agenda had just one item, and that was to just chill out and enjoy. And that we did and after 2 full days of ‘peace’, returned home wishing that the trip had not ended!

One, the weather God pleasantly surprised us by being doubly nice and other folks back at work or home could hardly believe it was Yelagiri-in-May. Two, the resort was very homely and quiet, with very hospitable staff, and three, the food was simple and clean and they cooked based on what we ordered. This custom menu went well with the kids too and there was hardly a cranky moment. The only disappointment the children had was a strict NO-NO to their request to bathe in an artificial water-fall in a park. The water was not clean and was re-circulated. Children forget and forgive very soon and that makes them extra-sweet…

Our trip to Yelagiri
Yelagiri at its best
Here are a few pictures from our trip, clicked by the ace photographer from our group- Jyoti. She also doubled up (and still does) as the best friend of all the 4 chotus in the group! While a 2.5 yr old Harish kept asking his mom, JC, ‘amma, Jothi enge’, the then 5 yr old Vyas called to her saying “Jyoti and deepa! Why are you locked up in this room? Come lets play cricket. You will bowl and I shall bat”. Little Hemant and Diya discussed camera angles and other ‘grown-up’ stuff..

Let me know if you have seen Yelagiri like this! For those who had bitter experiences with this place, all we had to say was, “everything around nice people turns out nice:-)” and derived a lot of kick out of it:-)!!

PS: Was not able to embed the ppt. View it full screen..

Person next to you…


It was a ten-days trip to Kolkatta (hope I got the spelling right) and Darjeeling. We were a team of thirty, going on a holiday. All of us were visiting this part of India for the first time.

Train travel is a mega-event in itself. We had decided to make the most of our two nights and one full day travel. There were plans for music, dance, card and chess games, snacks and what not!But for two seats, the remaining were continuous seats, in a single compartment. These two seats amidst our group was occupied by a father and a son. The man was aged around 40. It appeared that they were speaking in some other language and not Tamil. From what we heard, it sounded like Bangla, or so we presumed! We decided to request this friend to exchange our two seats with his. We were not asking him to compromise or settle for anything less. He was offered a Window seat and the one next to it. It was a cosy place. We were surprised to hear an uncompromising ‘no’ (not rude though!) from him. Obviously, we not not happy with this unfriendly person! We decided to show him that we were’nt pleased and that we considered him an hindrance.

The Howrah Mail started at around 10.30 pm or so. Originally, our plan was to start off on our fun programs the following morning after a good night’s sleep. But this man changed our minds. We started right away by playing our favourite cassette in full volume. Our claps and taps compounded to the already gruff sounding tape recorder. Our man did not flinch. We expected him to excuse himself atleast after one hour and accept our exchange offer. But here he was, reading a bound book. Never stirred for a second!! Our impatience was growing by degrees.

The war which was going without any dialog between our party and him, was now getting verbal, but only from our side and only in our local language, Tamil. One from our team was looking into our faces while calling our man all names. Another joined this game and lots of things were spoken. Blessed in the knowledge that our man did not understand what was being said of him, the game continued the whole of next day. All the while, the man was busy reading his book or was engaged in an animated conversation with his son in his language. We had no clue to learn if he was playing the same game which we were playing on him, calling us names and passing funny comments!

Next morning, the train was nearing Kolkatta, perhaps another two hours to go. Our friend got up from his seat and probably went for a wash. His book, that he was religiously holding on to, had fallen down and was open. And what did we see! It was in Tamil! I took the book and was looking at it, open mouthed when our friend returned. I’m not sure if he saw that ‘Oh No!’ look on my face. He took the book from me with a mere ‘Thanks’ and kept it aside. No expression what so ever on his face. A few minutes later, he called for our attention, in Tamil (?!) and pointed to some factory through the window. He announced (in Tamil again) that it was a liquor factory belonging to the famous Hindi actor, Danny Denzongpa!!!

He spoke a couple of sentences after that. None of us actually heard what he said, but only knew that he was talking in Tamil.

The train reached Kolkatta. We got off, and so did our friend. We parted ways. It was more than thirty minutes before we realised that none of us had uttered a word after we heard the man speak!!! What was on in his mind is still a mystery which we’ve never dared to unravel!

I’m sure he’ll never forget, but has surely forgiven.