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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17

Stories from the wedding

The much awaited and expected wedding of my brother happened. Here I am, feeling a lot more rejuvenated and energized, at the same time yearning for some more family time. As usual, I have a lot to say and whats more exciting than writing it here, reliving some of the best memories all over again!

** Sisters are the highlights of the wedding, apart from the bride and the groom of course 😀 Sister and I occupied the stage entire time and are in every frame of the video/photograph.

** Any number of sarees are not enough, when you are in a wedding. I have managed to use 7 out of my 8 silk sarees, 1 designer saree and all salwars during my stay there. Needless to say, most of the eyes were on us sisters.

** I have had food enough for a month in just five days. Exercise and weighing machine were not even in remote thoughts. *kaanja maadu kambula poontha kathai*

** In all the five days we stayed there, we got no more than 3-4 hrs of sleep every night (if we were lucky). Inspite of sleeplessness, we were so high during the day.

** I don’t understand why one has to sit for 8 continuous hours for his wedding doing all these poojas, without even touching plain water. My bro and SIL were dead tired by the end of the day that I am sure their hands were working, not their brains.

** There are some people who will never get satisfied even if you bring down the sky for them. One should know to ignore these people to maintain his/her sanity.

** I was introduced to more than 100 people, of whom I hardly remember any now. If this is my state, I cant think of how my SIL feels.

** How do you expect S or BIL to react when they got to know that their wives were eyed by many as potential brides of their sons? You say shocked?! Nah… we all had very good laugh 😀

** Wedding is tiring not only for the bride and the groom, but also for people like us – who were with them for all the time. I am my bro’s right hand and sister his left hand 😀 We did nothing much but to flaunt our silk sarees throughout the day and yet ended up feeling very very tired.

** Thought my saree draping skills would have been long gone, considering I haven’t worn a saree after sister’s wedding. And I was so wrong. Give me 5 minutes, I can drape a silk saree perfectly.

** Strange enough, sister can drape saree for anyone whereas I can drape it on me only. Similarly, I can plait anyone hair whereas she can only plait hers 😀

** Wedding == Tension, irrespective of whether its groom’s side or bride’s side. At any given time, more than 5 people were talking and no one listens to the other. It’s a scene in itself.

** Forget bride and the groom, even we got some gifts 😀 😀 *did someone say they don’t like gifts, recently??! Even I am searching for her 😀 * I managed to get 3 new sarees and salwar set along with other gifts and sweets 😀

** Sister and I managed to do some shopping also in between and found time to have street food too * Is someone showing me the weighing scale again? I am not stepping on it for the next one month*

** I was called kids –magnet. At any point of time, I was having a kid along with me. My cousin’s son who is 4.5yrs old, stuck onto me whole time and I had whale of a time with him. So beautiful is the world of a child and I loved the time I was in it. The little bundle who was just more than a year old during my wedding and couldn’t say nothing more than amma – ammamma, now talks non-stop. He told me so many stories, of which I captured some. He is so cute and very smart for his age. Kids from the bride’s family also got attached to me and we all played together. I can keep going on this, so much to tell 🙂

** Having my cousin’s son with me all the time , led people to think that he is my son 😀 Such was my attachment to him. When they knew the fact, they immediately thought I am close to him as I dont cant have kids of my own. I say what crap?! I love kids and kids love me too. End of story. No point explaining mindless people, so things were left there.

** Does it ever feel like time stopped and yet feels like time flied? It has happened to me this time. Everyday went very slowly, letting me enjoy every minute and yet, it was soon time for us to leave.

This is one wedding, very special to my heart for so many reasons. I am glad, it happened now giving S and me some time to relax and forget all our worries. We are all planning our next get-together already! 🙂

PS – I am not sure if I just should continue my 100happyday challenge on my mail only and spare you people from my daily torture. I am going to give it another thought.

13

Stories from my hometown!

Last week was really really short, for I took a vacation – a much needed one. We went to our native, to our uncle’s place amidst all the cyclones. My excitement and joy were too much to contain. Landing at my hometown after 4 years, being with all my loved ones at the same time, getting a break from the daily chores, travelling to many places around with S, looking at the city through S’s eyes, eating all the delicacies prepared by aunt, gorging on the street food and I can keep on going, for the list is endless- the best four days of this year!!

Two full days were gone in train travel only – thanks to the cyclones and long distance trains. Train travel with a company is always fun. S helped me maintain my sanity through out and in other times, I had my book. What else could be better than reading a book, sitting by the window with the cold breeze blowing on your face?

One thing I observed during this round of train travel is that – irctc food services have further gone down. No wonder why none of vendors could sell even a single meal the entire time. A cup of coffee costed ten bucks to taste worst than hot water. Only after I tasted my aunt’s filter coffee next morning, did I get back my senses.

Unlike the usual sultry climate at my place, it was so pleasant – thanks to the cyclone Lehar. Contradicting to all the media hypes, there was little rain fall and all our plans were executed, beautifully. With rain falling our faces, travelling through the paddy fields on both sides of the road, made me realize how much of a concrete jungle every city is becoming. Given a chance, I would buy a piece of farming land and be a farmer (one of my dreams) there. Not easy, not at all easy I know.

There is no best cook than my aunt. p.e.r.i.o.d. We had the best time of our lives, eating everything she prepared. If I say, I had three times the food I usually have for one meal, You gotta believe me. I have never ate that much food in my life. Imagine this – a large kitchen. Aunt sitting in one corner close to the stove. Ten people sitting down in a circle, with plates and glasses of water. Aunt passing on the food. All of us eating as if there is no tomorrow. This continued for an hour and half every meal.

I had a chance to taste some of the special sweets and of course the street food, only available in our place. I couldnt get enough of the sweets, even with the sore throat. All of us came back with bags of additional sweets. Every time I bite into one now, I am transported back to my native.

People are friendly, everyone has time for others – to greet and to help. Life isnt as fast paced as it is in big cities. Something that I had not seen in a long long time.

Before I forget, I should talk about the welcome I received in the railway station. I and S were waiting for my uncle and bro, to pick us up. Its around 3 in the morning, when the entire station is sleeping. I am too restless looking for them, all around the station – not wanting to miss any second with  them. There, I see them. I ditch S and run towards them. My uncle sees me, walks towards me with open arms, shouting  “Ammadu Ammadu Ammadu Ammadu Ammadu…..” until he hugs me and kisses me. There, we managed to wake up every sleeping soul in the station 😉 I love him to bits.

Every night was spent talking endlessly on various topics, laughter filled the rooms and happiness filled our hearts.

The icing on the cake was when elder bro came down just for a few hours to be with us, travelling more time than he would actually spend with us.

With a very heavy heart, we parted four days later, promising to meet again (atleast for a week) during bro’s wedding. I am already looking forward to the wedding.

PS – Suffering from a terrible back pain, have been advised three full days of bed rest. Couldnt resist myself from blogging, thus this post. Will read and comment on all my favorite blogs really soon – promise!

18

I am back…..

……. from my much awaited trip to Chennai – the one that I made after what seemed like an eternity (that is more than 45days from my last trip). So far, this is my highest record. Every weekend when I hear my parents, I would want to run away to them atleast for an hour. But I resisted, for my own good. With every trip I make to Chennai, my health was coming down. Its worthwhile if I would stop missing my family lesser with every trip – No! I would crave for them even more and wish I could get another hour with them. So I decided enough is enough and resisted myself from planning a trip to Chennai until I can get a few days leave. Thankfully I could take off last week and I was too happy to have ten days for myself in Chennai until the reality struck me.

With all of them (parents, sister and parents-in-law) expecting my arrival, everyone wanted more of me with them. One day was spent at sister’s new house (which requires a post in itself), two days at parents place and then I was pulled into in-laws place for the next four days and then another two days at parents and the last day again at in-laws. My nomadic life continues to haunt me even in my vacation 😀 Just when I could settle at a place and a bed, I would have to move my bags to another house. I couldn’t satisfy anyone with my stay, everyone felt I didn’t stay with them long. Sigh. The side effects of all the loving people in my life!

On the day we started our road journey to Chennai, I gently nudged S to guess my plans while we were in Chennai. As expected he didn’t open his mouth which meant I had to make it clear for him. I had very simple wishes.

  • Go on a beach walk – this time I wanted to go to Marina.
  • Go to a movie with Tamil Audience, where I can ask S to whistle for me, when my fav scene comes up
  • Visit some mall in Chennai, to which I got a stare from S. What do I do? I have visited so many malls here in Bangalore but not many in Chennai. I wanted to go to a new mall which got opened recently.
  • Go to my favorite temple.
  • Visit Vandalur Zoo – the one I have passed like some thousand times but never had gone inside.
  • The last one was upto S – to surprise me with anything he thinks will sweep me off my feet.

By the start of the vacation, I pretty much knew none of this would materialize, as always. But to my sheer surprise, a lot others happened.

  • I had left all my hopes on my exercise regime as I know how it would never work out. I was even ready to expect my weigh scale to show me how increased my weight would be by the end of the vacation. Thanks to all the pampering I would receive from all ends.
  • But then, on the very first day – I and dad did walking together. He shared some of his ideas and I chipped in some of mine too and overall it was a great time spent together. When I thought its just a one time deal, sis joined me for walking in a park close by in the evening.
  • The major surprise shock came in, when S got up at 5.50 every morning and took me for walking in the football grounds, that too when we were at in-laws. I mean, my MIL doesn’t understand or appreciate these kind of things, especially when her son has to sacrifice his sleep. But when S did it on his own, she couldn’t do much. We stuck on to our 1hr fast walking sessions in spite of rains, thanks to S!
  • I had such heart to heart conversations with S. We had our arguments, little fights, laughs and hand holdings too. I so want to continue it here in Bangalore too, only if its possible as easily as in Chennai.
  • The beach trip didn’t happen as I expected. It was atleast not how I imagined it to be. We went as a family to the beach, which meant I hardly had time with S. We didn’t even get a picture of us clicked. I sat with my SIL, watching the high tides while S was on guard for the SILs playing in water.
  • What made me happy beyond words is the visit to the Aquarium exhibition on the other side of the beach. What variety of fishes. I was behaving like a kid, jumping with joy everytime I spotted a new fish. There is a proof for the way I behaved there – I got myself a dabba of bubble water and kept blowing bubbles until every around me rolled their eyes.
  • Another interesting thing that happened was that I accompanied S to his office almost everyday. This is my first time after S has started his own company. I helped him in his work, some of it collaborative and some on my own. Nevertheless, everyday I felt so contented though dead tired.  To get addressed as “Ma’m”, Boss’s wife, to get a kind of respect from everyone around me, the greetings every morning – almost made me quit my job and join as an employee in S’s company. There was something great there, that is missing in big corporate office.

Though none of the planned stuff happened, I couldn’t be happier for all that actually happened. With every trip to Chennai, I feel like I should move closer to my roots, to the place where my loved ones are and the one I fall in love with everytime I make a visit. I am crossing my fingers harder now, for some miracle to happen – which could take me to my happy place!

PS – To the frightened me, the weighing scale actually showed 1.5kgs lesser after my vacation. Yippie! I got to have my favorite foods and yet, no guilt at all. How I wish all vacations turn out to be so good as this one!

18

Birthday, Wedding, Anniversary, Rail Trip, Road Trips and Lots of Fun!

I am back with loads and loads of stories from my two week vacation 🙂 Technically, this post should have been written last Monday but as always, work would be at its peak the moment one’s vacation ends right? Last week was one such week which kept me super busy! I was yearning to come back here to tell all the stories and today, I am making time between work or I guess I will never get around doing this post 🙂

Any vacation feels shorter the moment it starts, and this time I felt it grow exponential every minute. The house was full of relatives, there was no dearth of functions going on every day. Every day of that two weeks was jam packed would be an understatement. We were running errands as late as until 12th Feb though the wedding preparations started 3 months back. As such we didnt know how fast time was moving until groom’s family landed at our place on 11th and then the real drama started. We were all running as if wheels were fixed on to our feet. We were always on our toes to get anything they wanted us to – Needless to say we were full on tired at end of each day.

Meanwhile, I turned 26 🙂 It wasnt feeling like my birthday at all, for there were other important things going on and I was one of the key players preparing everything. I did get my gifts from my sister and S a day earlier only and for some reason I didnt feel quite like the bday girl 🙂 Sis got me a super cute hand bag, in spite of being so busy all through out! S first handed me a cover of about 10 nail colors, knowing how much I love them. This man always plays this trick, for any occasion my first gift from him would be a nail color and he seems interested in fuchsia for he has given me atleast 7 until now at diffferent times 🙄 While I thought this would be it, he took me out to the car at night and asked me to get something from inside it. I was wondering why only I should pick it up, when I saw a huge cover inside. The dumbo GB that I am, closed the door without guessing its a gift for me. The very next minute I opened it back to find a huge teddy bear – my first one from S 🙂 During the day, two of my BFFs wished me, while the one who calls me right at the strike of 12 every year from my childhood forgot this round 😦 It was so sweet of Visha to give a surprise call, which I could luckily pick up given the circumstances. The entire lunch party was waiting for me to serve them sweet while I was busy talking to Visha 😀 😀

Sister’s Engagement, Reception  and Wedding happened on 13th and 14th Feb,  I was on her side all the time – I mean all the time 🙂 The fact that its my wedding anniversary didnt strike at all until people started wishing me and S. It felt so special to be in my sister’s wedding on the same day, with same set of people as mine 🙂 I and S were in our wedding clothes was another coincidence 🙂 I should narrate the wedding story in a separate post! It now feels like a dream to see my little sister married and all that now 🙂

We started to the groom’s place for another reception after only a day of rest. We had a van full of luggage and this is the first time I traveled in such a big group with bags and bags of luggage. Since we were going to a village and that my sister was newly married, her MIL suggested she comes in a saree. I and sis were shocked to the core, not expecting something of this kind. Sis had to travel in a saree, her first time. I must say she managed quite well 🙂 I was at the advantageous end as my MIL was not coming with me and I am no longer newly married 😀 I was comfortable in my salwar and slept like a doll the very minute train started, that is at 8Pm 🙂 As soon as the van stopped infront of Y’s house there were atleast 20 people waiting to see the bride. While I was helping with the luggage, people mistook me for the bride and were looking at me in disbelief (that is to find me in salwar) thankfully I found it out quickly and pulled my sister out. It was a totally totally new experience for us staying there. Every minute someone peeps into the house to see my sister and her family, that is us 🙂 More on it later again!

We came back to Chennai in three days while Sister and Y left for their honeymoon. Little did we know about the all -India strike until we saw their honeymoon plans going for a toss. They were suggested minimal changes to start with and as time went by, the entire honeymoon trip got cancelled. They had to find a bus immediately and come back to Chennai. The strike was called a huge success and all that , but seeing petrol prices go up again, what was it the strike achieved except for causing major inconvenience to the public? I stayed at my ILs finally for two days, my MIL was waiting eagerly for me to land there right from the minute the wedding was over. She was highly proud of me, for taking care of so many things during the wedding and was in all praises for me. S had planned a surprise road trip to Pondicherry along with my parents and everything worked out so well. I had the most amazing time there and would do a post on it separately! Last to last Sunday, we tugged along our parents to Bangalore to stay with me for a week and this again requires another post 🙂 Today as I write this post, both S and my parents are back in Chennai and I am back to my routine life here. Sigh!

One thing, that I forgot mentioning – In all the two weeks, I was the implicit food server every time  The minute food gets prepared, I had to take over the serving business and that continued not only at my home but at the groom’s place too. Its as if I am made for that, my name got called every single time. For a person, who knew only eating all these years and never once served food – its a huge learning. Now, serving food is not that easy as there were no dining tables and trendy small casseroles. Atleast 15 people would be sitting on floor in rows and I had to carry/pull along huge paathrams of rice/sambar/rasam/curries/curd/sweet to each and every person. When the hands are job-free, mouth has to function to get the needs for each and every person and cater for them. I must say, I did a pretty good job, though by the end of all this I thought my back would remain bent only for the numbers of times I had to bend and get up 😆

Another achievement is I learnt to drape a silk saree in less than five minutes, I kid not. By end of all the celebrations, I had worn all sarees from my collection including the two new silk sarees that I bought for the wedding. I was in sarees almost all the time and considering the Chennai heat, its an achievement in itself 🙂

When everything seems just so right, something has to go wrong and that’s how it always happens with me. As soon as the wedding preparations started, I started having symptoms of flu and on the reception day, I was having  slight fever which aggravated on the wedding day – whattay a timing! I lost my voice and it resembled that of a buffalo’s. No one recognized me, if I called out to them without showing my face 😦 Most funnily  I have sung so many songs with that voice, during the celebrations. My sister sure has a strong heart 😀 Guess what, I am still recovering from the cold and cough.

I can keep on going, as I have so much to say.It’s already turned out  longer than I wanted it to be, so I better stop now and get back to my work 🙂