12

The Vacation (Not!)

It seems almost all our trips have to be eventful. As we were coming back to Bangalore yesterday, after a lot of physical and emotional stress, I was wondering if we ever had a holiday where there have not been any issues. No. Right from our very first together, our honeymoon to this latest one – we have had it all.

From co-passenger issues to random arguments to a whole night of power failure to google maps taking us through reserved forest trouble to nearly missing the train to reaching too early to the station to scary driving experiences in non-existent roads, we have faced almost everything that is usual to very unusual. To add to our repertoire is the latest highly expensive supposedly inexpensive two day holiday at Yercaud.

We had been planning things and then we planned some more that I really lost track of how long we have been planning to take a short trip. I know I have been very irregular here and that there is a lot to be said but for now, all I can say is going off on a weekend was also getting impossible for us. Last Thursday, both of us decided enough was enough and booked a night’s stay at one of the resorts in Yercaud. What we didn’t realize in our excitement is that it would turn out to be most stressful trip we have ever made.

Things started really well. Early morning sun, long drive through empty roads, best kind of breakfast, lots of songs, whole lot of talking, breath taking views of the hills and the valleys, we finally reached our destination. The resort was so beautiful that we strolled leisurely around clicking pictures and then after a delicious lunch, we set out to explore the locality. We were at the top most peak at Yercaud, enjoying the view when S decided to take the car to the other side of the view point. Seeing that there was nothing but few guys on high, we decided to leave that place immediately. Except that our car was not starting. We tried for more than half an hour with no help around. On top of everything, our phones were out of coverage (something we thought of to be a boon at the beginning). Luckily S saw a police man and went to him for help. After interrogating him for few minutes, he started calling around for help. In that small town of Yercaud, a mechanic was hard to find by. He then advised us against staying there and to walk around checking for any mechanic advertisements. Everywhere we turned, we saw bunch of guys heavily drunk involving in some sort of games or car adventures. At one point, I had signal on my phone for a brief moment. I stayed put there for next 45 mins without moving an inch, while our hotel arranged for a mechanic to be sent. After a long wait, the mechanic did come but we were not sure what he was up to. He plucked and prodded every wire he could find. Looked for fuse box (!!) under the car seats. Tried to check for diesel pipe (!!) all around the car. It was not a simple battery issue and even otherwise, he didn’t know how to jump start. It was getting very dark and that’s when he told us to push the car downhill in the hope that it would miraculously start. It didn’t. We were stranded on the ghat road, with zero lights (as the mech wouldn’t allow us to turn on the lights) with heavy traffic on both sides. After a lot of drama, we towed the car down to the hotel and somehow parked it in the steep narrow parking spot.

We were yet to realize that the worst is ahead of us. Our hotel had arranged for a movie screening, bonfire and live wood fire pizza. But we were in another world altogether calling out road assistance, fighting the weak mobile signal and dropping phone charges. We had to run around crazy without having a moment to ourselves. Since it was the weekend and this place being new to us, we were suggested that we tow the car to the nearest service station which happens to be Salem. It was past 12 when the towing truck came. By then, every soul had gone to sleep. Between S and me along with a helpful watchman, we had to push the car out of the steep parking, push it upwards on to a safe point where it could be attached to the towing truck. It was worrying to look at S and I couldn’t just stand there by myself. In spite of him shouting at me to stay away, I had to help him. As such, we had spent all our money thanks to that mechanic and his towing service. This towing guy demanded that we pay him 5K. We bargained as much as we could and in the end, had to pay up. We had to search lows and highs of our bags to count every note we had to pay him as advance. Sad, I know.

We came back to the room after 1 and I broke down. It was not supposed to be this way. All I wanted was some time to relax. There we were in a new place, without our car, no money in our hands and had not seen anything yet. S then ran down to the reception to arrange for a cab for some sight-seeing. It is at times like these, I realize how lucky I am to have him in my life am. He looks at positive things, however tiny they might be. Since the reception couldn’t arrange for a cab early in the morning for us to see the sunrise, S had apparently gone around asking cab drivers and found a cab! I actually have tears now thinking of how much he does, just for me.

S talked me into putting this car issue behind us and to enjoy the rest of the trip. We saw the best kind of sunrise, with the entire view point just to ourselves. It was as if there was no one between those hills, sun and us. The cab driver then took us one of the most beautiful viewpoints, which again was secluded. As S held me, I felt like the happiest person in this world and that has reflected in our pictures too. We had a hearty breakfast at our hotel and they were courteous to arrange us cab service to go to Salem.

We went straight to the service center and the next shock awaited us. While towing the car through the hair pin bends, the bumper had been badly broken. Sigh. But guess what was the issue otherwise with the car – the sensor in the key had malfunctioned. And it decided to do so while we were at a peak in Yercaud not while we were in Bangalore in some mall. And in the service center, the car started without any issues. I was lost for any reactions. Once we started back to Bangalore, we dared not to stop the car even for a quick lunch and took the car straight to the service center.

After every vacation or holiday, we come back tired but this was on a whole new level. We skipped food and went straight to bed, sleeping like logs for 12 long hours. I was bothering myself with a lot of why me, why us questions but at the end, let it go. We have to take this as an experience. Yes, it was not a good experience but quite an eye opening one.

On that note, I must thank God for showing us some way when we were totally lost. Everyone we had met or talked to were courteous. Yes, making some profit was on their minds but atleast they were willing to help and were not day robbing us. The biggest boon was that we could converse in local language, which was quite handy. But then, I can’t count the number of people who were only there for questioning us or giving us suggestions without moving an inch. Everyone has better options once we have fixed the issue. That’s people I guess.

On some good day, I share happy pictures from this trip.

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8

A tired mind..

At the beginning of this week, I had so many things on my mind.. Many happy things that I wanted to share here in all my excitement. Of all things, Thomi was turning one last Thursday. The sister had a small party planned at home and we were working on many things, to be done at home. And then I were to travel to Chennai taking a couple of days off, to be with the family forgetting everything else at work. I wanted to write a special birthday letter to Thomi, the little darling who has changed our lives for good. S was to join me at Chennai for the weekend and I was looking forward to the long drive back home.

Today as I’m on my return journey back to Bangalore, my mind is more tired than my body. Last three days were a blur, not of the good kind. It started with Amma falling severely sick on Thursday. A visit to the hospital, injections and medicines didn’t get her up on her feet. I have never seen Amma coil up like that and sleep unconsciously. Such high temperature she had. The party was planned and invites already sent. Rest of us had to take care of the pending arrangements while managing Thomi. She was an angel that day sticking to me, playing with whatever I gave her (or not). By evening amma was much worse but people started walking-in for the party. We quickly cut the cake and what followed next was the busiest thirty mins  of our lives. Between the four of us adults, we had to serve thirty people snacks and cake, all the while managing a little cranky Thomi. All was done.

We cleared up everything at home and rushed amma to hospital again. As expected she had to be admitted in. I stayed put with her, monitoring her through the night. I will admit that it was the scariest night of my life. As the monitor beeped every second, my eyes were glued to it. I am not an emotionally strong person unlike the sister and it took a lot of effort to not break into tears. By morning, my heart skipped few beats in between but things looked much h better. And then the morning the sister told that Thomi was running high fever too, they were at another hospital. My heart sunk lower. It was not supposed to be this way. Sigh.

When I saw the sister I cried. And that made me feel much better. Later amma started talking again and told me not to worry. At home Thomi played excitedly with me for sometime  before succumbing to fever again. Meanwhile we got Amma’s test reports and she had tested positive for typhoid. Few more injections, continuous IV and another bit so scary night at hospital, amma started talking normally this morning.

Last night as I laid on the bed next to her looking at her, I wondered how had she managed us single-handedly growing up with the sister and I falling sick often. Many a times she would rush through her work at home, run to the hospital, take care of us and then run back home to finish off pending tasks. While I fed her some idli this morning, I could see how weak she was and how our roles had reversed. Repayment of this kind never feels good. Period. Wish I could stop the clock and not see my parents age.

Thankfully amma was discharged just before I had to start to the railway station this afternoon  (S couldn’t make it which is another story) and thankfully Thomi was out of her high fever spell too.

This trip will be etched in my memory but for different reasons. It is not end of the dark tunnel yet, but I can see some light and that gives me hope. I’ll write about Thomi’s birthday soon.

PS: posting from my mobile while on the train – not grammar checking. Pls ignore any typos.

7

You and I, Forever

The last letter of A Letter to You

Dear S,

The D-day is here! On this very day, we decided to start our life together and entered the holy matrimony. When we fell in love with each other, we had a goal. We had to get married. We struggled a lot to get to it. And we ended up getting married. What was our plan after that? Nothing. At that moment of you tying the scared knot, I had only one thought running on my mind. I am getting married to the best person in this whole wide world and I am going to be the happiest. After six years, I can still vouch for that thought today.

Six seems to be a big number, isnt it? But why does it not feel like a long time? I know. When you enjoy something so much, you hardly feel the time passing(Newton’s theory of relativity. Heh.) That has been my life with you so far. We have had so many ups and downs but the fact that we are in it together, makes me feel very content.

As we step into another year, do I have any plans for us? No. Even as the control freak between the two of us, I feel liberated getting into this year with zero expectations. I don’t want to anticipate what’s in store for us this year or the years to come. I am stepping into this year with the hope and contentment that you are next to me and that we can withstand any challenge thrown our way.

You know, in all the letters that I have jotted down for you, I just wanted to convey this – You are very special to me. My actions need not necessarily always tell you so. The words that I utter might sound a little too harsh at times. But I know it in my heart that you know how much I love you.

Happy anniversary, S! Always in love.

1

Little Things

Letter-7 of A Letter to You

Dear S,

Can love be measured? I am not too sure. But if we are to measure our love for each other, surely you would win. In all these years I have realized that love is not about giving material gifts or taking pricey vacations together. It is in all the small things one does for the other that screams love more than anything else.

Technically today being our wedding reception day, let me remind you something. Before our wedding reception began, I had to walk to the entrance of the marriage hall and bring you in, onto the reception stage. I was trying to act shy and avoided looking at you in the eye. With all our family, extended family and friends around us, there were 100s of pairs of eyes on us. As it happens, you walked on to the stage while I was struggling with my saree to climb those steps. Not only you came back for me, you helped me get onto the stage. Soon, we were given garlands to be exchanged. I quickly put the garland in my hand around your neck and you did the same, except that the garland got stuck with my hair. Instead of calling anyone for help, you started detangling my hair, right on the stage, not bothered about the crowd that had started murmuring and laughing by then. This might not be such a big deal for you, but it is for me 🙂

The way you always walk on my left, holding my hands wherever we are.

Everytime you insist that we sit together to eat, not wanting anything straight off the pan.

All those times you happily step out of the house to treat me with an ice cream or a cake.

The way you let me have your share of food just ‘cos I like it more than mine.

For all those times you insist on shopping for me, getting the best of the lot.

And many such little things you do for me day in and day out. I feel loved and special when I am with you 🙂 I don’t know what did I ever do to deserve all this, but I am eternally thankful for the life I have with you.

Always in love.

 

1

S.O.R.R.Y

Letter-6 of A Letter to You

Dear S,

Many a times you tell me that there is no place for thank you or sorry in marital relationship. But then, what do I tell you for all the times I have hurt you?

I know you probably won’t even remember this. It was during the first few months of our married life together. You had come in late from office. I was very hungry. You didn’t offer to help me in the kitchen right away. I was beginning to get mad. And then all you had to do was tell me how I was making the dosa wrongly. I went crazy mad and threw the metal spoon on the tawa, walking out of the kitchen. It took me more than ten minutes to get back to normalcy and another twenty minutes to talk to you. Now that I think of it, there was no need for me to act the way I did that day. I was so mad that I didn’t even realize how I must have terrified you with my actions. Such incidents have not been repeated thankfully, but that day is etched in my memory for all wrong reasons.

All that venom I spill when I get angry, all the silent treatments I give you when I am mad – believe me, I feel ashamed and embarrassed when my senses return after I cool down. Especially since you are so nice to me and understanding. I have and am consciously making an effort to control my temper, but I don’t win over my mood every single time.

While I mend myself, all I can tell you is sorry. From the bottom of my heart.

Always in love.