The European Dream – Day 0 and Day 1 – London

Hello,Bon Jour,Guten Morgen,Ciao (Chow),Pronto (pronounced Prontho)...

Its been a week since we (5 of us-Hubby’s cousin B,Wife S and 10 year old daughter N and the 2 of us,unless otherwise mentioned ‘we’ would be all 5 of us) are back and I want to do this travalogue before I forget the small details. You can expect really lengthy posts with minute details-Im doing this as a memoir for myself – so go ahead and skip the series if you wish, or Ofcourse-you can only look at the pictures πŸ™‚

Day 0/Day 1: London: We started on 7th Evening to London via Dubai on the Emirates flight. The Check-in and the security was smooth and we settled down to eat some rolls and have coffee in the airport before boarding the flight. The initial excitement was high and the flight was just 2.5 hrs, so instead of sleeping watched a movie that my brother has always been recommending – Before Sunrise, ate the dinner they gave on the flight (By the way, why do they give freezing drinks and fruits to eat in-flight with the temperature also freezing inside?) and before we knew it we had landed. OK, once and only once will I admit – Im scared of flight take-offs and landings and any turbulence in between -paranoid that something will happen in a split second and I will be dead soon… I was even contemplating that I will talk to my Bro and SIL in London ( ie; if I make it safe till there) to sign up a bond that if something were to happen to me/us during the flight then they would take care of my son…

In Dubai airport-What do I talk about this place? We had about 5 hrs transit and all we did was ogle and ramble across the different gates browsing through stuff we could take back on the return journey πŸ™‚ Chocolates – it was decided would be picked up from here and we would not be lugging it in luggage all around Europe-1 problem solved. And then we finally reached out gate with aching feet and snoozed until the rest of the tour group reached the gates. Did you know that no matter how many restrooms you have in the airport-the one you enter will always be full,with people waiting and smelling? Murphy’s Law – Eh? Onward to London – a longer 8 hour flight with 2 meals thrown in πŸ™‚ and by this time all I wanted to do was get some sleep-but they kept waking us up to eat something or the other, and I decided to watch another Prateek Babbar and Amy Jackson’s movie-Ek Deewana tha – What? Free entertainment and more than that-Free time for myself!!! I also managed to apply some nail polish just before we got off the flight – Ha! Optimum utilisation of time! πŸ˜€

London-Landed in London-Gatwick at 7.10am local time and realisd that the hotel check-in wouldnt happen until 2.Met the tour guide who gave us an hour to ‘freshen up’ at the airport and we would visit our first place of site seeing-Madam Tussauds at 11am. By the time we collected out baggages and brushed our teeth and combed our hair it was 9am and we were to start immediately.Ofcourse, no bath that day πŸ˜€ Getting out of the airport,we saw typical London weather-gloomy and rain.We had plans of meeting my Brother and SIL for lunch that day thinking that there would be no activities planned (as per the itenary).There was some frantic phone calls made, taxis booked and cancelled, tube maps consulted and then it was decided we would still go to their home for lunch after the wax museum visit. The tour guide was generous and kind enough to take all our big baggages to the hotel and pick up our room keys for us. The highlight of London – Rains and more rains! Still we stood in queue for Madam Tussauds in the rain, and though it wasnt all that much fun as we already had an idea of what if would be-a photograph with George Clooney and the ‘London Taxi ride’ at the end was worth the experience. Oh! And we were given hot coffee right in front of the museum as part of the Compliments from the tour company πŸ™‚

From the wax museum, while the rest of the 38 members went to the hotel to Rest and Recuperate we took the London Tube train and reached Canary Wharf close to which my Brother lives. Had yummy SIL made lunch of Pulav,carrot halwa and exchanged exchanged gifts πŸ™‚ while brother called the hotel we were staying at to figure out how to reach there later. We then left to go to Oxford street-roaming around aimlessly while my Co-sis Savvy wanted to check out Hamley’s toy shop. After a lot of searching we reached Regent street and Hamley’s only to realise that the shop closed bang at 6pm. So, with a dejected mood we walked back to the Bond street station, ate hot Crepes at the empty stall on the way and got into the train to the hotel. Getting off at the designated stop we took another bus to the hotel – running all the way from the train station to the bus station in pouring rain πŸ™‚ We reached the hotel by 9.30pm right in time for dinner and it still looked like how it would be at 7pm here.Oh! by the way, I only had the carrot halwa that SIL had lovingly packed for us to carry back – it was THAT Good.Dinner and crashed to bed.

London – Day 2 – 6am wakeup call and after breakfast started a bus tour of London. Picked up the guide (An old well dressed lady in a peach shirt and skirt,matching nail polish and lip color) who told us the history of the place, where we saw the change of guards,london tower bridge, big ben,westminster Abbey,Buckingham palace. Post lunch in an indian restaurant, we asked the tour manager that we wanted to do some souvenier shopping-so he took us back to Oxford street,gave us an hour to shop there and we had already reserved tickets for London Eye at 4.30pm. Since we had already checked out Hamley’s the previous evening we all literally just ran to that place, did hurried shopping (bought a few cheap toys for Chuktu-what? it was not in my budget!) met SIL again for a few mins and ran back to the bus after hurriedly picking up some souveniers and magnets.In the 1 hour given, running took 40mins and shopping took 20mins-so you can just imagine! London Eye was fun and there was no crowd at all,so the 45mins or so that we take the ride was unhurried and relaxed. After a point we stopped taking pictures and just enjoyed the sights. After a hot coffee we boarded the bus back to the hotel half heartedly-there is so much more the experience in London! – Next time maybe (Keeping fingers crossed)…

For those of you who read through 1145 words (Did you really read through or skipped straight to this?) above-here’s a small visual treat πŸ˜€

Friday Fun -Chutku, While we were away and now that we are back…

[ETA: Wrote the post yesterday and wanted to post it, but network settings at work and then yesterday being Varalakshmi pooja – visiting houses in the evening all added to me crashing to bed by 10.30 without publishing this]

Hello people, well yes, we are back from the 14 days whirlwind Europe trip and landed in Bangalore on a rainy evening last sunday. And I want to start my travellogue of the 14/15 days…But before that, today being a friday and expecting all you Maasi’s and Atthai’s and Aunties of Chutku would be more anxious to know how was Chutku in our absence – I thought I will give you all that information first πŸ™‚

Oh! Before I begin telling my tales – let me first tell you, that the past 2 days at work,every given free moment has been spent catching up at all your spaces – The Bride, RM,SnS, Seema, Deeps, TGND,Scribby, SummerScript,LF to name a few. But ofcourse, office network not allowing me to comment is a big hinderer…So those of you who have kindly added me on your readers-I hope this post gets to all of you to say that Im back in circulation!

So how have you all been? SnS and Scribby – howz the new job treating you? Seema – Why no new posts? All OK? Thirdy year old RM – how much to say to you in this little space? LF – All the best for your new move!

With that out of the way – Howz Chutku been-you ask? According to his grandparents (both sets) he’s been a wonderful child. NO tantrums what-so-ever in our absence.

I had been preparing (is what I would like to call it) him for our trip for about 2 weeks before our travel, telling him that he has to stay with Amm-Amma, Thatha, he has to eat and sleep like a good child, he should not throw tantrums – and I would like to think that it worked… No tantrums, only requirement was that on some days he would get very clingy to mom and asked to be carried all the time which gave her no scope for getting any work around the house done.
Eating-as always, mom had to spend an hour behind him every meal but that is nothing new. Sleeping-the first 2 days apparently he didnt sleep well.He was very restless and was fidgetting between my parents,trying to get used to sleeping with them on their bed. But no major tantrums asking for me…
Activities-He must’ve roamed the city these last 14 days like he never has these past 2.5 yrs! The grandparents have hired taxi and taken him around to visit relatives, the other set of grandparents have taken him to meet cousins and to Lal Bagh, to park to play in sand – what not to keep him occupied. MIL has gone home every morning and taken him cycling for an hour so that he tires out, has his milk and a good nap before lunch giving mom some much needed break to have her bath and get other things around the house organised… Over all he has been much pampered and spoilt.Everyday we called, he either refused to talk to us or just always told us only one thing – Amma/Appa Baa (Come) and he would be off to play with the cycle/legos or whatever else would be occupying him at that time.

The day we got back, Mom had been preparing him since morning that Appa/Amma would come home today evening so that it would’nt shock him much. None-the-less he was sooo SUPER excited that I could hear his voice from inside the house when he peeped through the window on the first floor and Dad brought him down by the time I got out of the taxi. He just jumped into my arms and huGGed me tight. And started screaming to the world in general “Amma bandaru,Appa bandaru (Bandaru=came)”. Mom had to force dinner through his throat because he refused to stop talking! Non stop talking, and showing me all his toys-his cycle,legos, his soft toys-emptied the cover full of toys like I was going home for the first time and he had to show them to me…It was kind of overwhelming to watch. And then when my mom asked if he wants to sleep he first said “Thaachi beda” (No sleeping) and then again when mom asked after 1/2 hr he told her “Naanu melale (melgade) thaachi maaDtheeni,amma jothe” – I will sleep upstairs with Amma.And that was the beginning of the Chipku-ness. I didnt even think of having a bath that evening before going to bed and the little fellow was so confused still with where he wants to sleep, I decided to tell all the Europe story to my parents while patting him to sleep on the sofa-so he had the satisfaction of having both mom and Amm-amma with him.
Monday and Tuesday were the same-he wanted me to keep the door of the bathroom open – no matter if I had to pee/poop or have bath and I did just that to keep him satisfied (Yeah-go ahead and cringe, but all you mommy bloggers must surely know that this is nothing new). AndΒ  unasked for hugs and kisses were given (being given) in plenty. Suddenly on monday evening, while I was washing the vessels (Yeah,back with a thud-no maid the whole week) and he was playing with his toys he comes to me,hugs and gives me a kiss. And when I asked him if he wanted a kiss too-he said “Bummy ge kissie” and then says “Amma, neenu London ge hodyalla, nange bejaaru banthu,aLu banthu” (When you went to London, I got sad,I got tears) then I cried too-hugged him and told him that I wont be leaving him anymore and he will come with me everywhere and asked him “Happy?” he asks “Appa?” and I told him Appa too wont leave him and we will always take him with us everywhere. I thought the matter ended there but on tuesday while we were visiting my aunt he heard me talking about the trip and suddenly comes to me and says in front of everyone “Amma, neenu nanna bittu London ge hogbittya? Nange bejaaru banthu” (You left me and went to London? I felt very bad)!!! And you can imagine the reactions of all the aunts and uncles there!! :-O And Oh as per mom’s words “See how he behaves when you are around! He never screamed and threw tantrums like this the last 15 days and I see a different side of him now!” -so you know how the sight of mom changes the personality!!

But now we are back to work and his mood is back to normal, he even threw a tantrum last night and insisted that he wanted to sleep next to my parents-though coming to office and daycare is something he doesnt want to do now that he knows what it is to stay at home with the grandparents πŸ™‚Β  But such is life-the vacation is over Baby! And its back to the Chakki peesing and peesing and peesing-yes even for him…

Here Comes the Much Awaited Trip

Aha! After a wait of more than 6 months, running around and away from office for visas and documents and foreign exchange, we are finally off on our 14 day Europe trip today! The past couple of weeks have been horribly hectic. with too much to do at work, shopping,parents returning from their trip, leaving Chutku to see if he will get used to staying at home with my parents,hubby’s hectic schedule (why do project kick-offs and closures ALWAYS happen when there are already enough on the plate to worry about?!!)

Am I happy – yeah, this has been my dream trip since I saw DDLJ πŸ˜€ Cliche’d, I know.But in my defence,until then I had no idea how Europe (lets admit, Switzerland) looked like! And then as I grew up the list of things to see in Europe has been increasing. And finally now its happening! Sherlock Holmes in London, Langdon in Paris,Rome and Louvre (Da Vinci code-remember?) My brother’s stint in Belgium, the 007 bond movie in Venice, the romance of the Gondola in Do Lafzon ki song, and oh! The Tulip gardens of Silsila fame (sadly we wont be seeing this). So,like I said the places to see just kept increasing. And as cousins and friends began to travel to study and work – the exposure of these places began to increase, and today Im ready to get into that flight and see it all (well, most of it) for myself…

But still the Yippeeee!! excitement is not there. Mostly because Im leaving my heart back here with my parents. The past 2 days that husband and I travelled to work leaving him at home was enough to put our moods off.We have mostly travelled the 1.5hr journey in silence-each of us thinking how he would keep us occupied with his tantrums or nonstop nonsense conversation, how he would not want us to talk (for 2 years that he has been coming with us everyday)- and we could’ve spoken so much these past 2 days and we had nothing to say to each other?!! Yes, we miss him, b.i.g time. And I admit the heart is very very guilty for doing this.I feel Im deceiving him because despite telling him for over 2 weeks now that we will go to London and he will have to stay with his G’parents and him having accepted it,I feel Im forcing him to accept it-isnt it? He HAS no choice,rather we’re not giving him any. I know, practically we are doing the right thing-with 15days of constant travel, weather changes, food availability and most importantly finances added to the fact that he wouldnt remember any of this even if we took him.Sigh! But Im not able to convince myself… Im not worried about his day time-I have complete trust in the 2 sets of grandparents who will spoil him silly…My thoughts are only about his sleep time and night time when he needs me (or Dad) to be next to him, waking up in the middle of the night to check if we are there… I just hope these 15days doesnt become a torture for him.Am I putting my baby in distress for my selfishness? These thoughts are just not letting me be…

Good friends and family who have the experience of having left their children with grandparents have all assured that this wont matter to him at all in the long run, cousins and aunts have promised to come home to keep him distracted, so now once I get into that taxi for the airport- I NEED to leave these worries, if I want to enjoy-and I hope I can do that…God! Please dont let our selfishness affect our baby in any way…

Well, this became more of a worries post than about the trip -so lets get back to that-We need to leave today afternoon, Im all packed-sat up until midnight to get that done and I hope I have kept everything and its all within the specified weight limit! The husband is yet to wake up and his packing has to start now! I have already hit the panic button and he is still relaxed.whew! so its pretty much expected that I will end up packing for him-he will just throw all his things in 1 place.He knows how to sweet-talk me into doing it-saying you know how to do it most efficiently blah blah! Im trying to keep the morning free to spend with the little fellow, finished the haircut session yesterday evening, bought groceries for the next 10days for mom-dad, showed mom all Chutku’s medicines,clothes…hmmmm…cant think of anything else at the moment except keep the tickets and passport! πŸ˜€

So see-ya people, will try to upload atleast 1 photo a day πŸ™‚ so I will remember where we were and I can come back and write the travelogue post…