Finally! The end of Jan-2015 Blogathon

Whew! The last day of the blogathon! 31 days of nonstop blogging – come what may! And I have surprised myself that I completed it despite having a lot of reservations in the beginning.

But like last time, I’m dissatisfied with the worthiness of the posts. Ofcourse, its my online diary and sure it will serve me years down the line when I come back here and read the 2014 travelogues and Chutku tales which have given me maximum fodder for posts. But, I question the usefulness of these posts for anyone else coming here. These posts are useless in terms of being helpful to anyone. I wish I wrote something more socially productive and something that someone will bookmark to come here later.

This blogathon, has therefore, opened my eyes to the fact that I’ve been so steeple(d) in my own cocoon world that I hardly observe much beyond it. Which is sad actually. I need to look around and get involved in a lot of other activities than just work,cook,eat,sleep and take care of Chutku.

However, Im not going to stop coming here like how I did last year. I intend to keep this blog as alive as possible and Im sure I will have a lot of fodder at least for some time while I shut shop here and move countries.

The best part of this is the friends – so please don’t stop coming by here to check on me and my life πŸ™‚ Do stay tuned!

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Friday Fun – Latest Chutku talks and Updates

– I have told the little fellow that we will be joining the hubby in 100 days starting from the day Hubby travelled. Now, the little fellow obviously doesnt know when the hubby travelled so I have conveniently fooled him by starting the date from Jan 1st. He has happily gone and told everyone he has met – in school/in daycare that he will not be coming back to that place after 100days. This past saturday when I went for his PTM, his class teacher asks me-what is this 100days he talks about – it gave me an opening to tell her about taking the
Transfer Certificate and talking to the Head Mistress! He has also told anyone who has asked to take them along “You need a VISA first, appaaaaa. You have to stand in long queue and go into office, talk to them and then take the VISA. You cant come just like that. Im going because my Apppppa is there…”!! (Apppppa is not a spelling mistake-thats the stress of pride in his apppppaaaa! Sigh! The little daddy’s boy!)

– He talks, and talks, and talks, and talks and talks and talks! Whew! Sometimes just listening to him tires my ears out! And he interrupts when 2 adults are talking-which I’ve been trying to teach him is bad manners but he NEEDS the attention and *right then*-so he chooses to ignore my “wait”s. Finally one day, I got so bugged that I asked him to ZIP his
lips and guess what – He did zip it and didnt open his mouth-but the sound continued. So next I told him, “Im muting you” and he starts talking but without sound! It was hilarious!! πŸ˜€

– He loves to be out of the house-ALWAYS! He is most happy when we are out of the house and keeps asking “Where next”. As long as the next is not home he is happy,else he can start a tantrum anywhere and for the smallest thing.

-He has this Stories for 5 year Olds book that I’ve been reading for him for nearly 6+ months now and he has his favourites. He always asks for the same Danny and Sam story who go camping in their backyard and the Meg and Mimi story of getting lost in the forest – Im so bored reading the same ones over and over but he refuses to listen to any other. Even if its any other-there HAS to be 1 of these stories along with it. Another is a book about a little lion Cub that keeps getting into trouble while the daddy lion is sleeping-his super favourite – I guess he relates to all the naughty things that the cub does-he keeps giggling at the antics.

-These days, he refuses to sleep early. I have to tell him his bedtime stories and he chooses to play for somemore time when I just fall asleep. He says “Appa is not here, so I will park the cars in Appa’s place” and he knows I will refuse, so he insists he will play in Appa’s place and then keep the cars on the floor before sleeping-which he would’ve done.My little boy is growing up…

– We have been telling him that he needs to stop shouting and throwing tantrums otherwise when we go to USA, there will be police who wuold come and check why you are screaming and might decide to take you away. That put him off the travel! For a couple of days he said he
will not go to USA atall! Now, that was not done, we had to reverse the damage – so I told him about snow and playing in snow – his idea of snow – that Cadbury Ad where the couple throw snowballs at each other, roll on the snow-like that! He says him and I should make snowballs and throw them on Appa and then run away and hide :-D. That was a close call!

– He loves Spiderman-for a few days he had become one himself. He would hold out his wrists like Spiderman and tell me-Amma, “Im putting web to you” and pull his arms – I had to run to him like he was pulling me with his web and hug him. Sometimes the opposite-“Now go” and he
would push out his arms like Spidey and I had to run away from him πŸ˜€ But, one time,just one time, we let him watch Spiderman on TV, guess what-he got scared of the black spiderman and woke up with nightmares 3 times that night 😦 Who knew?

-Another one of his favourite movies is Dhoom 3. He loves the bikes and the bike scenes. When we went to Bandipur, and were waiting for the safari, he spoke to a forest officer and asked him who he was. The forest officer (inspector?) was good enough to respond to all this fellow’s questions and asked him what he wants to be when he grows up. This fellow first says Police and then immediately changes it saying “No nooo, I want to be the Dhoom 3 kaLLa(thief)!! Because he has the super bike and I want to ride a super bike!!” Thankfully I was not there and hubby didnt know where to look so he just got him back to the car. The cousins who were with us were ROTFL!

– Day before yesterday, at night, he was fidgetting at about 2:30am. I asked him to go to the bathroom and then come back to bed because I thought that was the reason he wasnt sleeping properly. He woke up, sat ul, said “ok amma”, went to the bathroom, switched on the light, finished his job, flushed, washed hands, switched off the lights, closed the door and came back- and promptly fell asleep right on top of me! Instead of crossing me and going to his place… He did all the activities and was wide awake and then the next second he falls asleep on me, so much that even when I called him to move to his place he didnt hear! I then huggrd him for a couple mins and gently moved him to his place πŸ™‚

-Finally, he calls out to me every single minute if Im not in front of his eyes-
Ammaa,amma,ammmmaaaaa,ammma,ammmmm everything. He wakes up when Im having bath or in the bathroom at 5 in the morning and starts calling for me loud enoigh to wake up the neighbouring households 😦 Sometimes when Im right there and he hasnt seen me, to hide his smile he tells me “I only called to say I love you” πŸ˜› Cheeky fellow.
And I have to respond everytime – “I love you -say!” Say-because I cant say too – too means katti in kannada as per the school kids – and I should’nt be katti with him at all…so I always respond with “I love you Say” πŸ˜€
The other day I took him to the supermarket and he was sitting inside the trolley. Since it was a large trolley and I couldnt push it into an aisle, I told him to wait there will I go and pick up the stuff. 10 seconds into the aisle, I hear him calling Ammmaaaaaaaaa, I turn and look at him and make an action that Im right there and he gives me a huge grin and says in the same LOUD voice “I LOVE YOUUUUUUUU” πŸ˜€ everyone around turned to see who this amma was that he loves so much! Needless to say, I had an even bigger grin of pleasure and embarassment mixed together… Im just enjoying while it lasts πŸ˜€

Letter to Chutku

Inspired by RM I thought I should write some of my thoughts to Chutku too. But ofcourse, I always feel, Im not clear of what I want and how I want things to be, myself, so am I even eligible to advise him? Here are just a few things
that I would want him to know though:

Chutku, here are a few of my thoughts that I want you to know, that as your mother, these are a few things that I would want you to learn.

Study – Lets start with Education, because now at 5 years of age, you know what going to school means. Learn all they teach you there and also dont stop questioning. Questioning is what helps you find those answers. If you think, this is how something should be, you can never think of an alternative to it! Like how you park your car at the edge of your 3 story
lego home and dont care about how it reaches there-thats your imagination and I never want that curbed. Education is important, but let that not hamper your growth. You need the education that school gives you to grow up and be able to compete with any crowd.

Play – Play hard and play by the rules-It will teach you discipline. Learn every game possible. Its ok if you are not the best or if you loose. It will teach you that you cant win everytime, it will teach you how to handle the loss. It will also teach you to appreciate a fine game when you see one and help you learn better-if you want to.Whatever you play-play because you enjoy it, play because it makes you smile and laugh-play because it will get you involved in a group.

Music – If you dont want to learn music, thats totally fine with me. But, I would want you to listen and appreciate, atleast enough to be a bathroom singer….There is something about expressing your state of mind through a song…just humming your favourite song to yourself is enough to make you smile, its a mood lifter-for that, I want you to open your mind to music. Any music is fine, you can enjoy the drums, the background music, the piano or violin or flute or even the lyrics of a song-whichever appeals to you-will you share it with me too? πŸ™‚

Money-Ofcourse, now you are beginning to understand that everything needs money. Yes-it does. So, earn your own money-through the right means, by your own hardwork-nothing gives you more satisfaction of getting that salary at the end of the month when you feel you deserve it! And nothing gives you more satisfaction than buying something essential with that money too.
But-understand that money comes and money goes-dont hanker for it- as long as you have enough to get you all that you NEED, its enough. It need not get you all that you WANT – save for your wants and then spend it when you have saved enough.In the meantime if there is a NEED – spend it and start saving for that WANT again-no big deal…It will make you evaluate and respectΒ  that Want and keep you grounded.

Friendship – Make friends, loads of them. As your mother though, I hope they are good company – so judge wisely whom you want to make friends with. Like the saying goes “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are”. Be that 2am friend to somebody. Thats what friends are for. Let go of small arguements when you value that friendship. But dont let them walk over you either-let go, if you have to. Its ok not to be in touch everyday, but have friends that you can call at anytime and start from where you last left-off – thats friendship. Make those 2am friends for yourself-but think twice before you call them at that time-call them when its most important to you,so they know it must be important to you to be calling them at that time – dont take them for granted.

Fights and arguments – are a part of every relationship. No two people can have the same thoughts and ideas. No two people can think the same thing always. So its ok to fight and argue. But try to never start a fight if you can avoid it. Think if its your fault and apologise if required. An apology can instantly resolve a lot of differences. But dont say sorry if you dont mean it. And stand up for yourself in any argument when you know you are right.

Love and Marriage -Love like crazy, like its blind, like there cannot be another. Express it-if you dont say it-they wont know it.Dont just say-act on it too-Actions speak a lot more than words. Not just when you are wooing, through out your life.Express it in different ways-in ways that matter. Give your trust and respect. Like friends, never take your partner for granted.
But, expect the same. Its a relationship of 50-50 partnership. Dont depend on anyone for your own happiness-have your own space too. Dont give so much that you cant take it back if things go wrong. And IF they go wrong, dont hesitate to end it either.

Job – Remember I told you, you need money? So you need a job.Its a long long way to go, but still, we cant take care of you all your life. You need to make a living on your own. Do something,anything as long as its not negative and antisocial! Work for your living. Enjoy what you do and take pride in it. Pride in a job well done, pride when you get rewarded too.
But dont let that get to your Ego that it stops you from growing and makes you an obnoxious person for others to work with – always be humble and learn from the others-there will be something thats better in someone else. As simple as a shortcut in an excel sheet or as complex as time-management.

Religion – I have kept this for the last sweetheart, because for me its the last thing that matters and the toughtest thing to explain. Dont let anyone fool you that religion means God. Its not. God is a belief, a faith, a hope that keeps you going in tough times – someone you imagine is your own fairy that you can fight with and demand and expect to make things right for you. Religion is made by the people-so they can divide and rule.Dont fall for that at all. Again-religion and culture are 2 different things-dont follow a custom if you dont believe it it. Go to church or a mosque or a temple-anyplace that gives you a feeling of peace. A feeling that things will work out at the end. Celebrate a festival because it gives you joy in sharing, giving and meeting family and friends. Dont do it because our ‘religion’
demands it. Dont be forced to read any scriptures or perform any rites if you dont think it matters to you-all those rites and scriptures are for keeping the mind at peace-they will not serve the purpose if it agitates you further!

I know that most of these has a ‘but’ part too…There is just no one way for things Baby. When I think of what I should tell you-I question myself if I believe in it or not, if I think it is right or not-these are just the surface of such thoughts – answers to very basic questions-they cannot explain everything or give you 100% answers sweetheart.  Infact, You teach me something new everyday Chinna-keep doing it!

Distance makes the Heart grow Fonder?

Its now been a month since the hubby has left for the far shores and I have been quite comfortably managing myself and Chutku. The stress of his travels and work was pretty high and I have to admit there were a lot of arguements in the process. The Rajasthan trip was a good break with company that ensured that we didnt have the time for any arguments!

But there are times when suddenly, I miss him – Just a fleeting thought before I get back to doing whatever it is that Im doing. Even though I dont want to admit it to myself or him that this happens! After reading LFs hugs challenge -I thought how sweet is that! I really appreciate the couples who make time out to nurture and cherish their relationship. Yes, we are all professionals, parents, children, friends and have a million other things to do, and in the due course, promptly ignore, take for granted the one person who we trust and expect to be there shoulder to shoulder in everything! Or rather dont realise when they are around? I thought WTH, if not now, then when else – he is anyway not here and if he reads it too, I hope he would also have a happy moment and a happy day πŸ™‚

The day my friends and I took a short break and went shopping – though I liked a couple of things, I just couldnt buy anything – I thought, wish he were here, he would’ve told me if its worth spending the 3K on those boots. Or even told me to indulge and I would’ve been guilt free spending so much…

The day I took Chutku alone to the indoor play gym near the house-Wish here were here. We couldve comfortably let the little fellow play and we could’ve had a cup of good coffee in peace like the other couples here – I had told him, when he was here about it, but sadly we never got that chance..

Chutku’s birthday, well, nothing more to say there…Who else could be more important?

The day I went to the supermarket and was looking for the right veggies-when he would say”You pick up the greens and I will choose the tomatoes and onions” knowing I dont like doing that choosing.

“Do you want …. or should we pick up that particular juice?” “you never buy that pumpkin or sweet potato” . “Lets try this for Chutku”…”Lets start green tea from tomorrow”…I missed all these….

I know I’ve cribbed enough about us working in the same office and same floor, but I now miss looking up and seeing his head from across all those cubicles and just knowing that he is there…I dont like to see some other nearly bald head sitting there anymore 😦

Someone to take Chutku to midnight bathroom breaks, or silently giggle at his midnight speeches.

Someone to just look at and roll eyes when we are out in not very good company and laugh about it later. Not having him around in any gatherings adding his own version of really silly PJs. Not having him for festivities – I didnt even celebrate Pongal because it just
felt so boring…

The 2hr bus journey home, wish we could go home together!

And on the other side, when he tells me that he bought a crockery set and hopes I like them, he thought about what those pans would be useful for-thinking about me cooking, how he went to the Indian store and wished I were there so I would know what to pick up, or how he went to CostCo and thought if I were there I would have asked a million questions before buying the stuff…Or just that he suddenly messages “Come here soon, very lonely and boring”… I know he is missing me in those fleeting moments too and it makes me happy…

But but, he calls and we argue – about so many things, trivial things, vital things or
sometimes dont even spend a couple of minutes talking to each other before the bus horn cuts the signal (yes!) or Chutku wants to speak or he gets some other call, or he is rushing off to work…

I think this is enough for 10 years worth of marriage – Isnt it? Its not like we cant live without each other, but we would rather be together just out of habit and feel a little lost without the other? Such fleeing moments are when all other hurts and differences are forgotten and a smile spreads knowing that we still mean something for one another…

So LF I might just take up your challenge – might persuade hubby too…But I would like to start from the month of June when I hope we will be together again and is also the month of our 10th anniversary πŸ˜€

Finally a sort of book post

Finally a Book Post

Thanks to blogging and book reviews, I got inspired by the reviews written by TGND and Maya and read a few books from their recomendations. With too many things happening, couldnt actually read a lot though this year.

Books by Michelle Moran – Started with Nefertiti that TGND had highly reco’ed and then couldnt resist buying Cleapatra’s daughter and the Heretic Queen. Totally loved these books – transported me to a different Era. The view points in Nefertiti, the politics, how young girls think of powerplay – I was astonished and shocked! Really? A 13 year old can plan and plot so much?! Loved the love story of the sister and then partial continuation of the clan in Heretic Queen. Cleopatra’s Daughter comes as a much later date but that again was kind of an eye opener about the Roman empire. For someone like me who likes history but cant read it because its very dry and boring – these books like those of the Taj Series were a good insight into history wanting me to read more.

The Krishna Coriolis Series by Ashok Banker – This is a series of only Krishna stories that as the author himself mentions, has been gathered from around the country-most stories that we know and some that are very local and interesting to read. Ofcourse, the series hasnt ended yet and after finishing reading the 7th book, Im now waiting for the next part of it.

Not the best series like the Mahabharatha but still good timepass reads.

That reminds me – anyone reading his MBA series? I wonder when the next book will be out.Β 

Ramesh Menon’s Ramayana – I had read Ramesh Menon’s Mahabharatha and loved it, and since Maya keeps talking about Ramayana – I picked that up too. I liked the story telling but didnt convince me of Rama as God again – sorry Maya! But what I did like about the storyline was that it never wanted to preach about Rama being God-which is acceptable to me and so finished the whole series though it took me nearly a month of night reading to do so.

I also caught up on some of my regular Nora Roberts and JD Robb fixed along with reading some of the other books by Indian authors that I’ve forgotten-so totally not worth mentioning here.

Currently, started reading Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama- like it but its not giving me that urge to read and finish. Maybe I need to mentally re-adjust and tell myself that it IS a book to slow read and assimilate.

This year, post april, I think I will be sitting at home for atleast 3-4 months and I need a lot of books to keep me occupied-so please, put plenty of book reviews that I can pick up later… Sooo looking forward to those days πŸ˜€

Another Travel Post-Kanyakumari

2013 saw us do a Kerala trip for a whole week of all offbeat places. But it didnt cover the places that was in my bucket list since the husband had already seen it – mainly Kanyakumari.

Kanyakumari is one place that I had dreamt of visiting every since class 10 when we had an english lesson on how the Kanya kumari place came to be and how she was waiting for her lord Shiva or the fact that its the very tip of our country. I had a fantasized notion about the place that I had to see it. I had been bugging the husband about it and finally once his
VISA formalities were through, he suddenly said – “Plan your Kanyakumari trip for your Bday – who knows when I might have to travel after that and we might not be able to do it for a couple more years.” Thats it! That was enough for me to plan.

Hubby, being him, loves to drive and insisted that we drive the 12hrs through Madurai to Kanyakumari. So that was the plan – Start early, drive to Madurai – reach Madurai by afternoon and then drive to Poovar island for 2 nights there. Then drive back to Kanyakumari, spend a night there and then back to Bengaluru. I did all the bookings accordingly.

As luck would have it, the previous week Ms. Jayalalitha was pronounced guilty in Bengaluru and we heard that there were some riots in Madurai – the parents insisted we drop the plan. 😦 When we spoke to hubby’s cousin B – yeah, the same who is the trip expert, he suggested
we start a day sooner and drive all the way through Kerala – totally avoiding Tamil Nadu.

But the journey would be another 12hrs longer. The plus point-we could see
Thiruvananthapuram too…Thats exactly what we did – started a day sooner and drove to Thrissur via Wayanad for night
halt. We stayed at a hotel where the Kerala football association players were staying-Sachin Tendulkar’s team which thrilled hubby πŸ™‚ The nice play area was a disaster since it was raining continuously through out the evening. We promised Chutku that he can play the next morning as according to Ms. GPS the journey was a lot shorter.

The next morning post breakfast, we let Chutku play in the play area for sometime and then started towards Thiruvananthapuram. It was a 6hrs drive and the idea was to reach there by 4pm, visit the temple and drive to Poovar by 6-6:30pm since the distance was only 35kms.

Whew! Though we were told that the Kerala roads arent that wide and there would be a lot of lorry traffic – we really didnt imagine it to be that bad – it was like driving within the city limits through out and the hubby didnt enjoy the drive a single bit. Narrow 2 lane, 2- way traffic highways with really bad driving- worse we got stuck in Cochin traffic for nearly an hour. By the time we reached Thiruvananthapuram it was 4:45 which was still ok-but we hadnt stopped for lunch anywhere. So we took a quick pitstop at a coffee day and then drove to the temple.

The temple is beautiful. Spacious environment with sand everywhere-we saw kids playing on that beach sand though we didnt have the time to visit the beach. We had to buy our mundus
and wear them on our clothes-hubby and chutku being bare chested inside the temple :-).

There wasnt much crowd and it was an experience viewing the Sri Ranganatha in through 3 doors – starting from the right most where his Feet are, then the middle where his torso is and then the last where he is sleeping on the Adishesha. I think its a difference experience viewing in candle light, but I would still prefer to have better lighting and a couple of minutes to stand there and really *look* at the God than being hurried by the priests –
though there wasnt really any crowd. Within 1/2 hour we were done and we started from there by 6pm still thinking we could reach Poovar island by 7pm.

When we called the resort and told them that we are starting, the man who recieved categorically said that we would not be reaching sooner than 7:30 because of the traffic. We never expected “Traffic” to be that bad though! It was bumper and bumper and hardly moving in a narrow single lane! By the time we reached the ferry point for Poovar island there was lightning on the back waters and everything was pitch dark – it was 8pm 😦 Forget Chutku – I was a little scared myself. We waited for 1/2 hour for the ferry to come and by the time we
actually set foot on the resort, it was 8:45pm. It had been a horribly long day and we were just ready to crash. A quick dinner later we were taken to our floating cottage where all we did was hit the bed!

The entire next day was spent at the resort – beach first, then breakfast, play area where Chutku made friends with a girl and was busy playing while hubby and I just relaxed on a hammock each for sometime, swimming pool before lunch – this time around I bought a swimsuit and got into the water too which just thrilled Chutku who hung onto me inside the water like a little monkey πŸ˜€ No, I dont know swimming either, so I was petrified of moving away from the edges, lest I drown us both!! :-O The pool had a sunken bar where the little fellow did ample “shoki” and had a watermelon juice too, while the hubby had his holiday fix of
Coca Cola πŸ™‚ Post lunch we all relaxed for a while and then went to see the evening program and Karoke with dinner. Chutku found his morning friend and decided to dance to Kolaveri and other such jhatak numbers while we sat and watched and made friends with the girl’s parents πŸ˜› We decided to call it an early day since we wanted to go to the beach again in the morning the next day and then drive to Kanyakumari by lunch time. We had now realised how bad the traffic can be.

The next morning we went to the beach again where the hubby and Chutku went to see the fishermen in action and while we were playing in the water a snake went between my legs which totally put me off the beach after that. Got back to the resort and a quick breakfast later we checked out by 10:00 and drove to Kanyakumari by noon. It being Dussera period,there was a procession for the Goddess that we missed but we checked in after seeing Gandhi Samadhi,in time for lunch. Unfortunately, Vivekananda Rock memorial was closed for the procession that day so we couldnt take the ferry to the place though our hotel room had an uninterupted view of the place and the sea and we had an eye-full πŸ™‚ We went to the Kanyakumari temple and to the edge of the waters where I took a deep breath and saw those vast waters and felt patriotic! A pleasant evening later, we sat at the restaurant looking at the lights on the rock memorial and had dinner. Again, since we wanted to wake up early the next morning to see the sunrise, we slept early.

The alarm rang at 5am the next day, I woke up, looked out and realised that it was still totally dark. Quickly had bath and came out and sat at the window overlooking the sea. Meanwhile hubby too woke up and got ready. We saw traces of the sunrise in the sky – the orange and pink hues and a little light but never actually got to see the sun ‘rise’ from the sea 😦 before we knew it, the sky had turned blue and the sun was up… However, I felt that joy in seeing a sunrise over the seas of Kanyakumari-the one it is so famous for. Quickly got Chutku ready while the restaurant sent us some packed breakfast that we had requested and we were on the road towards Madurai by 6:30am. Thankfully by this time we heard that all was quiet and peaceful in Madurai. While hubby drove, I ate and fed Chutku his breakfast of sandwiches and fruit and then for the first time, I took the steering while hubby could relax and have his breakfast – felt good to give the poor guy a break from the driving πŸ™‚ We reached Madurai by 10:30 am and rushed to the temple. OMG! The temple complex is HUGE! If you dont know from where you entered you could get lost! We memorised our gate of entry and then spent the next 2hrs within the temple. Despite taking the 100rs coupons there were queues everywhere and we even didnt know which direction we should be going. We first stood in the wrong queue to see the God when the priest told us that we needed to see the Goddess first! Quickly we went in search of the Goddess and after her Darshanam we came back to see the God. The famous Madurai Meenakshi, decked in all finery because it was the last day of dussera. She looked beautiful and radiant and as luck would have it, we had to sit down and wait for the curtains to open while they decorated her and then until the Aarti was done – so it was a real blessing πŸ™‚ that too, it being my birthday as per our hindu calendar.

We were out by 12:30pm – out in the sweltering hot sun that we were parched by the time we got to the car. The car and the water bottles were all heated up as well, it was THAT hot. We then put the GPS and went in search of a good hotel for lunch. Found a very good one (I forget the name now) and had yummy buffet lunch sitting in an AC room, which was a pleasure in itself! We started from Madurai at around 2:30pm and like always did a nonstop back to Bengaluru. Home in time for dinner by 8pm.

I can now tick Madurai, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram off my checklist.Thanks to hubby, it was a wonderful birthday present a girl could ask for πŸ™‚

More Travel Tales – Red Earth – Kabini

Like every year, this year too we planned to take a quick break for the anniversary. My parents were leaving to London the week after our anniversary,hubby’s Pune travel plans were getting fixed, Chutku’s school had just begun and things were getting hectic. So it had to be somewhere close by and someplace we hadnt seen. Hubby wanted something different – like
seeing a tiger and we had been seeing a lot of Tiger photos that friends had clicked and uploaded on FB – so it was decided we would go to Kabini.

By the time the decision was taken, it was quite late and the jungle lodges was almost booked. While searching for other options which would have variety to keep the little fellow also occupied and happy I stumbled on Red Earth and a couple more places. I promptly sent the links to the husband and within the next hour he calls and says “I’ve booked Red Earth”.

I was surprised! He is never one to take such a quick decision and generally asks me to do all the bookings but this time around he finished the booking by himself too! A good start, I thought πŸ™‚

Since our anniversary was on a monday which we took off, we started on the previous saturday and reached around 2:30 pm. We were told that the safari would be arranged by the resort people only and that we had to only accompany them. So at 3:30 post lunch we drove further towards Rajiv Gandhi National Park and got into the safari canter. The 2 hour drive within the forest was awesome! We saw a family of elephants with a small one along taking the small
one to the water, plenty of deer but not the elusive tiger. We were told that since it had been raining, the tigers had plenty of water inside the jungle for them to come out to the man made water holes. The 2 hour drive just zipped past and we were soon back at the resort.

We thought we would take the safari the next morning at 5:30am and asked for an alarm call at 5am. We quickly called it a day after the drive from Bangalore and Chuktu not having slept that afternoon.

The next morning, I was just plain lazy to wake up and since Chuktu was also in a very good sleep, poor hubby who was all eager to go see the tiger decided to drop out too πŸ™‚ Which was a good thing for us to have a relaxed day. We spent the whole day in the resort – We took a walk to the water, took pictures, let Chutku play on the trampoline, had relaxed breakfast and lunch and the best part was this – there was a private jacuzzi outside our
room, which was enclosed within a compound ( apparently the hubby checked out the website and saw this, which was why he booked it, good thinking hubby)- Chutku called it his swimming pool and we spent most of the morning and afternoon playing in that water πŸ™‚ Later in the evening we went on a cycle ride on the plain grassy banks of the kabini – the resort is built near the back
waters of the kabini dam, went on a bullock cart ride and a coracle ride as the sun set. It was so calm and peaceful and serene.

Once we got back, the hubby decided that he will make use of the voucher for the spa and went for a head massage while I took Chutku for another round of trampoline and a movie viewing. During dinner the owner came and spoke to us and mentioned that from that next week
there was a monsoon offer starting while we said that we opted for this particular weekend because it was our anniversary the next day-monday.She asked us if we would like a special dinner but we refused since we had Chutku with us and we really didnt like such things.

The next day morning, while I got a head massage myself and went in all dirty for breakfast- we had a surprise! There was a nice table setup for us for breakfast and everyone was instructed to wish us and they also made Chutku give me a rose – all the while I was feeling so yucky and oily!! πŸ˜› We had no clue that something like this would be done. Well anyway,it was a nice happy feeling, post which we checked out and got back home in time for dinner and a house full of cousins πŸ™‚

Anniversay weekend well spent. I’ve now been reccomending anyone with an active child to try out this Red Earth place – A perfect place for a weekend getaway with plenty of activity to do, or just sit onΒ  hammock and laze around with a book – take your pick… πŸ™‚

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How I have spent these last few weekends

Ever since it was decided that the hubby will travel before me, I have been thinking that the weekends are finally going to be a relaxed affair and I can do what ever I want and those 2 days are all going to be free.

But what do you know! Man Proposes and God Disposes! Every weekend has been a hectic running around.

Dec 20th – First it was the Little Monster’s birthday and I was busy that weekend painting his shirt and making arrangements for the cake and other things.

Dec 27th -The weekend after that, I had to take the LM for his 5th year booster dose vaccine – one on each leg and the whole weekend went in tending to his fever and hurt leg – poor fellow couldnt walk at all and I had carry him around even for the bathroom…ofcourse he was clingier than ever-not that I blame him poor thing.

Jan 3rd – The weekend after that was kind of hurried too. Im trying to sell off stuff and friends have been helping me -by buying from me πŸ™‚ So one of them came to pick up the Washing machine and then on sunday had a lunch party with visiting relatives of the in-laws. Thankfully, Chutku had school on saturday, which gave me the opportunity to run out and get some outside work done while he was at school.

Jan 10th – Last weekend was more hectic than all the others! I needed to shift down with my parents so they could start with the house-showing to prospective tenants. 1 me with 2 hands can only carry so much stuff at one time. So, by saturday afternoon despite doing about 20rounds I could hardly setup half the stuff. My friend N came with her 3.5 year old L and we took the kids out to play in the indoor gym close to home. The kids kept us amply occupied until 7pm when my friend left. I love the fact that little L likes our home and likes Chutku’s company – he wanted me and Chutku to go back home with them that night πŸ˜€ muaah.

Jan 11th – Sunday, all morning I was sorting out stuff that I had to send away to the in-laws place and by the time they came at 12:30, I was still a little more than half way thru 😦 In all this confusion, another cousin called and asked if we should take the kids to a story telling session on MG Road that afternoon from 4:30 to 5:30 by the Bangalore Story telling group – Heads and Tales. Decided to brave the evening and said yes! Chuktu was thrilled to be meeting his fave cousin A and we got picked up and driven around. After the story telling session, the adults needed some coffee and we headed up to Das Prakash right there on MG Road Boulevard. The idea was just coffee for us and something for the kids. But the owner of the restaurant was right there, and he decided to give us everything thats the speciality there – Patrala Dosa, GoLi bajjis, Rave vadas, Irish Stew, Ice creams for the kids, Special samosas – whew! I ate so much that I had to skip dinner after that!! Everything was simply yummyyyy. And to top it off, we werent charged for anything that was offered for taste except the coffees and the cheese and set dosas we ordered! Only thing was we had to listen to the owner uncle talk through 85% of our time there and though I got irritated at first that he was just not letting us be – felt guilty later for thinking such thoughts because they refused to accept the payment! Well, got back only by 8pm, some more sorting stuff around and Ive finally moved in with my parents.

Jan 17th – More shifting and sorting stuff and shopping for the whole week. This shifting stuff doesnt seem to end at all! Questions and more confusions on what to do with so much of stuff – that too relatively we have a lot lesser than most people since we’ve been moving homes nearly every 2 – 3 years. Mom is away on work related stuff for 3 nights and 3 days so Im already thinking how I can manage breakfast and lunch for those 3 days. Sunday – parents’ friends visited and had lunch with us, so never realised how quickly the day just passed by…

Friday Fun – Chutku’s travel tales

How could I not put up even a single Friday fun during the blogathon πŸ™‚

We did quite a few holidays the last year, as if to compensate for the non-travel of 2013 πŸ˜€ All those details will definitely be fodder for further posts but Chutku alone on travels can give me fodder for atleast 1 post πŸ˜›

For all the road trips we did – be it Jog falls/Kabini/Kanyakumari – I only needed to tell him that we have to start really early the next day morning – while it was still dark and the little fellow would be so excited that he would keep waking up through the night to check if we had to start πŸ˜€ He seems to have got that from me – he loves to start while its still dark and listens to us like a dream while getting ready πŸ˜€

Chutku searched for friends his age, where ever we went – he went and said hello to a few kids too. In Jaipur, during lunch time we saw another couple with a 5year old girl having lunch. That kid was also so full of enthu, that she kept calling him and they kpt running around the tables and pillars of that small place – and we somehow fed him bits and pieces of lunch. He was once more thrilled to see the same girl at Amer Fort – his excitement was acenuated when she also walked up to him and called him!

Again, on the last day at Ranthambore, the lodge we stayed at was run by a family who have a 3year old girl – that girl too kept meeting us in the lawn every time we went out to eat and kept calling Chutku to play – so much, that on the last day, we just let him play with her for sometime just so both will be happy! πŸ˜€

The same thing happened during the 1 day we spent at Poovar island too – he made friends with another girl his age, played with her and happily even danced with her that evening during the music show πŸ™‚ That girl apparently even asked the next day where Chutku was, as she wanted to tell him bye before they left πŸ˜€Β  I wonder why there were no boys for him to make friends with…hmmmmmm…..hmmmmm???

During our Kabini trip, we went on a safari and since there wasnt much place to sit in the canter, Chutku sat with his Dad up front near the driver. I guess one of the wildlife photographers there-quite a young guy had grown his hair a little long. So, our LM looks up at him and asks him “You are a girl or boy?”; photographer” Why do you ask like that? Im a boy”; LM ” Then why have you grown your hair like my amma till here”-pointing to hair till the shoulder πŸ˜› That poor guy had nothing much to say except “You are right, I will get my hair cut once I go back to Bengaluru” πŸ˜›

There was a little older couple who were staying at the same place we were staying. This LM walks up to the lady at the breakfast table and says “Aunty, Is this your pappa you have come with?” Thankfully, the question was asked in kannada and the couple didnt know kannada, so our face was saved! :-O Hubby immediately said, take him from here, I will finish breakfast and come. I immediately took him out…whew! But to his credit, I need to admit that the lady was thin and didnt look her age while the man was dressed more traditionally and had a thinning hairline and a potbelly 😦 .

We have done 4 safaris last year – 1 in Kabini, 1 in Bandipur and 2 in Ranthambore and our LM was thoroughly bored of them all – 1 look at the tiger and he was like “Lets gooo, we saw the tiger, why we should be here for so long”.

One good thing that came out of the Kanyakumari trip last year, was that our little fellow kind of lost the fear of the beach and the sea. He was happy to get his body wet as long as I was next to him and he didnt have to sit down on the sand πŸ˜€

Since the Kanyakumari trip was a lot of travel and it was just the 3 of us, I had told him to sleep during the journeys so that he wouldnt get bored – so we both slept in the back seat watching the blue sky and the white clouds passing by πŸ™‚ We also managed to watch a lot of stars in the desert camp at Jaisalmer – makes me a happy momma, though Im not sure that these things didnt even register in that little head.

Rajasthan Trip –
This trip was his first on an airplane. Can you imagine the questions?!! Im scared of flying and so on the onward trip, I made hubby sit next to the LM and answer all the questions. There was no escape on the return trip though πŸ˜€ He kept asking when we will take off, what are they telling, why are they giving instructions,Β  why we are going so fast – what is the speed right now, where is the runway, why is the airplane turning, what happens if the airplane falls down-That was the last straw! I had to finally scold him to stop his questions!! :-O

While little S slept through most car journeys, our little monster refused to sleep. I would keep him occupied with some activity book, or he had his cars or his favourite was playing Car and Airplane with his S doddamma in the last seat. Poor S doddamma hardly had any choice but to play with him everytime little S slept. Only day he was quiet was the travel from Udaipur to Sawai Madhopur since he was running a temperature and had both stomach and head ache. Poor fellow-we all actually felt very sad seeing him so quiet! Just a couple of tantrums were also thrown in for good measure.

The journeys were all more than 6hours and by the time we reached any place, this fellow would be restless to just get up and run.The minute we got down anywhere, he would be thrilled to just run around the huge courtyards and make as much mischief as he possibly could. At the sheesh mahal. even the security gaurd had to come and warn us as this fellow was trying to go inside the barricades 😦
There was that 1 auto ride in Udaipur late in the evening after the Palace sound and light show, where Chutku was sitting facing the back in the auto when we got lost. Post that trip, everytime we started and we started talking about routes, he asks if we are going on the right route πŸ™‚ Even reminding us at times to check where we were going πŸ™‚ He seems to be more stickler for perfection than me!

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Thoughts on online shopping

There was a time, about a couple or so years ago, when I didnt think about going online for shopping. Shopping for me was about touching and feeling and trying it on before buying. But over a period of time, I saw that a lot of family and friends were vouching for online shopping – everything from clothes to cosmetics to home furnishings to jewellery and electronics!

That was when I decided that I didnt want to be left behind and I have to understand how the whole thing works. The hubby started with ordering some pen drives on Amazon while I started with guess what – Books πŸ™‚ Obviously – couldnt go wrong there now, could I? Flipkart became a regular. Then one time, mom wanted a pair of comfortable closed sandals and we bought a pair for 1799/- in Shoppers Stop. The next weekend when I was checking Myntra, I saw the same pair for 799!! I cool, 1000rs lesser! Same brand, same color and I decided to pick it up for myself. When it arrived, I checked the quality of them both – the touch and feel and found no difference. I was totally hooked – I have now stopped shopping for footwear in stores! Even if I like a pair, I check the brand, come home and pick it up online πŸ™‚ The next graduation was clothes – picked some simple T-shirts for Chuktu and liked the softness of them. Then on a shopping spree, picked up 5 Tshirts for the hubby at nearly half the price we would’ve paid if we had bought those brands at any of these shopping malls. But I was still apprehensive about returning. Thankfully, a pair of sandals ended up being tight that forced me to return – now, that gave me confidence of getting my money back and returning without hassles.

The best part of the whole thing is that I can do this shopping late into the night-when Chuktu is asleep, even after a long day at work. Especially if I need to pick up something as a gift for someone and I just dont have the time to go and pick that perfect something! I love the fact that I can buy them all anything of my choice that I feel would be personal without ending up giving a gift voucher. I have the time and liberty to browse through loads of stuff and order them without having to stress about the time. Mostly the things also get delivered within a week. If there is some problem-all I need to do is call up their 24/7 and they will promptly respond with a refund or give me a solution that would be good.

I still refrain from buying clothes for myself-I need to try them on before I feel 100% sure and I dont think I would do online shopping for groceries or veggies as I still like to see the freshness and enjoy going around looking at things on display-well some retain therapy is still essential for the eyes and soul-dont you think? πŸ˜‰