Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Vacation In Kerala And Other Places

Kerala, with its beauty and simplicity has charmed in the way in my life. So much so that this year this has become my third trip in three years. Not bad for a travel enthusiast with a toddler in tow. But this holiday has been more than a vacation- it was more of an adventure. We started our trip from Hyderabad, taking out flight to Kochi where we stayed the night at Marriot, which is a great option if you want some place to stay near the airport. However, to move on, we had the city to explore and planned to stay in Trident.


KOCHI

A music enthusiast, we  found out that the best way to start was with Kathakali Center (I love the deep throat Malayam words coming from a local when they say the word Kathakali). You really don’t have to book yourself in advance and the tickets are pretty cheap  but the programme is worth so much more. You sit in a beautiful air conditioned auditorium where foreigners dominate the seats. Sadly I saw only another Indian honeymoon couple. You will get an introduction to the dance Mudras and then a play where the famous avatar of Vishnu is featured. The plays change every day so if you want to visit again, you would never be bored. A pamphlet explaining the language will help you enjoy a lot more.
The nest day we visited the Fort Kochi, where as you would hope, there isn’t a fort. You can find the Chinese fishing nets and fishermen busy with their day to day tasks. You could take a leisure stroll in the pathway around the beach. After a little spice shopping, we made our way to Allepy

ALLEPY

To escape the humdrum of the city, Allepy is more of an escapist dream house boat. The backwaters and the boats would mesmerize you into an euphoric state of mind. So after getting a good price of a two bedroom houseboat (7, 500 rupees), we boarded the boat, saying good bye to materialism, yet keeping in mind that we do want a little bit of music on the way. As I sat, watching the drifting waters, feeling the raindrops, I was glad to be away from my mobile for a while. You really do not need gadgets except perhaps a good camera to click the memories. So after posing for a while, you can just be quiet and enjoy the silence. The food wasn’t exceptionally good but I wasn’t there for the food, so I didn’t complaint. You will find your fellow vacationers around who will stare back at you, wondering if you are having more fun than them. Various foreign couples travelling in groups, waving at us and we waved back. Soon after a peaceful night, I woke up pretty early to wait for the boat to start again.
We got ready to go towards our nest destination.

VARKALA
The ABBA restaurant had a good collection of books left by the travelers

If you are looking for some “I don’t know anyone” time, then you should come here.  The beauty is staying on the mountain, overlooking the beach. So we took a hotel who had its own very cafĂ© with loads of choices and settled for two days. After Allepy, my feet were itching to feel the warm salty waters. You take a path that has some very uneven stairs down to the beach and just dive in. I preferred just a little soaking and lots of reading with a romance. The sleepy town of Varkala is just the place to make you feel like a complete foreigner in India.
The crowd is mostly  from Russia, China, UK and USA and their abandonment to live this kind of life is simply to marvel at. The shops that never seem to end will give you something of a view while you talk a walk back to your hotel. You will hardly find any Indian food as a choice but do try the grilled fish (they have loads of choices) that is just so good.  you have venues where they have some live music too.  

POOVER ISLANDS

So the boat ride to enjoy some bird watching, you come to the other side of Kerela where you can enjoy a speed boat round to the estuary (where the river and the beach meet). There are floating restaurants around and for a quick bite, its quite alright and nothing to boast about, otherwise, just have your meal and take the boat. The water is clean and you can stay a minimum of five to ten minutes to have a good time.
On the way you can find Elephant rides too but then it was raining pretty hard and we couldn’t stay. On the way we did stay and have coffee at The Leela, which is always the kind of luxury I look for in a holiday.

Tips for a comfortable stay:
1.       Carry an Umbrella to this City. The weather is unpredictable.
2.       Also light cotton clothes is recommended because you will never find winters here
3.       For people travelling with children- carry a mosquito repellent, sunscreen, anti allergic cream like caladrel/ calamine lotion. And lots of extra clothes, diapers and toys to keep them busy.
4.       Bargain at the spices shops because they are pretty good at ripping you off.
5.       Carry walking shoes for sure.
6.       Book a reliable houseboat because it stops at a village at night.
7.       You do not have to book beforehand for Varkala, sometimes they give a pretty good deals for last minute travellers.

The Most comfortable and reasonable mode of transport for me was a cab. Its costed me 10,000 Rs to travel from one city to another. I could shop and dump my luggage on the way too. Hope you plan your trip soon because there is no place like Kerala. 




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Park Time with my toddler



My toddler is almost two years old and the kind of exposure he needs is more than just a television and flash cards at home. So we await the evening time, when all the other kids come to the park in our colony and enjoy a little park time. After taking a tour of the slides and the swings, my son usually takes to bouncing ball here and there. The boy who wants my attention for everything at home, is now on his own now. With the other kids as his playmate, he hardly glances at me at the park.

I realize how important is this time to bond with oneself too even though your child has become such an important part of your life. From children who push each other to the ones who cry for no reason at all, the park time gives them a valuable time to learn and interact with the other kids. My son is usually a menace at times, splashing mud on the older kids because he desperately needs to get their attention. Obviously the little ones aren’t a subject of interest to the boys at all. Girls, on the other hand are more on the kinder side. They have natural motherly instincts to nurture and care. So they run behind the little ones more, wanting their attention now.


I take to observing the other parents who are undergoing the same treatment as me. I see fathers who sit at the bench and let their children free, I see mothers who are on their smart phones and I see grandparents who just wouldn’t leave their grandkids side at all. Some parents just take to catching up with their lives by chatting up with strangers too. Its more of a time for themselves than for the kids sometimes.


When it comes time to go home, I see kids brawling their hearts out, not wanting to go home, some dragging their feet behind because life was going be again eating and sleeping now. Sometimes how I wished myself that life was all play and no work at all.





















Thursday, January 30, 2014

Marriage- deal or no deal


Marriage after a long long time has come to my mind that really diminishes the romance in your life. you are in the mode of a trance before the legal certificate is out and it only makes you a pawn of the societal sacrifice. It is a beautiful because then all the celebrations, the clothes, the food and the people, the music just drives you crazy. You feel like a celebrity and you the most importance person of the day. Your husband looks like the prince in the shinning armor and you feel like princess Samyunkta where you will be carried away in the arms of a very dashing Prithiviraaj-like character.

The reality sets in.
The house to manage, the maid that comes late and takes vacations in time of need, the bills and the important documents that never are found in time, the TV subscription always seems to show the last date, the breakfast-lunch-dinner pattern sets in and going out only seems like a waste of money. The sex becomes a chore- who will be on top is questionable now.

What women actually think.
Obviously when we see a new bride, all we think of all the sex they must be getting. It only makes us wish that we want to be in her place. obviously she would get to sleep late and the husband will wake her up with sweet kisses, all day long she would just read magazines, the food would automatically be cooked and the maid would be like the fairy Godmother.

What the man thinks.
At last someone to take place of my mother. Here is someone who would give me home cooked meals, she would wake up early (around five-ish) and finish all the housework and make excellent three course breakfast for me. The sex obviously is a perk. But then she is there-always there. So that thing can wait.

But then to be clear. This is not what happening in every marriage. I see happy couples everyday. But then i see them adjusting to the fact that they are willing to take eachother's mistakes and turn them around.  Fights are the worst thing you could do. Pointing fingers is just a bad strategy. Cheating is a bad idea. Communication is your best friend. And you can expect the magic of love happening.

With marriage and all.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

MOONLIT MATNIEE- AND LOVE TAKES OVER

Hello its Valentine's Day, 
where Feburary is seasoned as the month of love, 
where heart meets  the other and beats for one another.
Hand holding and fingers entwining,
The head of his shoulder- the most solid support
That stray strand of hair falling over her eyes,
Looks like the most beautiful thing of all.

Teddys and red roses,
Diamonds and chocolates- they all seem like the perfect gift.
But the gift of love is what leaves permanence.
So why not give your love a book of love today.
Here we come with our perfect pages MOONLIT MATINEE


The team of MOONLIT MATINEE has come with wonderful short stories on love, lust and much more. You have to get a copy to know more. 

Here are the 12 authors coming together for you:


To get a copy: You can visit Homeshop18 and give your valentine this gift of love.





Saturday, January 18, 2014

What NOT to say to MOTHERS (Part 1)


Its that phase of life when you need to just shut up and not make assumptions about the mothers who are raising their children.
Maybe you care. Maybe you just don’t have another topic to talk about.
SO here’s the list.
1.       Is he Hungry? Why not…(And you become an expert suddenly)
             If the baby is hungry, the mother would know automatically. One cannot leave the little one ravenous but suggesting to breastfeed? Seriously? Noone has the right to talk about boobs in public. Even if it’s a mother’s.

2.       Did he do potty? (And why make him wear a diaper?)
                      Diapers are a personal choice. You can put the cloth ones or the plastic ones but they are going to be there till the mother feels comfortable with the whole training system. There is a thing called diaper rash cream. Its being used. And obviously they are changed when supposed to. You would also have been bought in diapers if your mother had the choice. So being an independent thinker, I’ll make the decision.

3.       Why is he so thin? (And don’t you give him this and that?)
If it was possible, every mother would stuff her child and make him chubby. Who wouldn’t like a Johnson’s and Johnson’s baby ad look alike? But every baby is different and every body is different.  You giving a list of things is not going to change things. A mother already has an encyclopaedia of things that is good for the baby. She has tried and mostly failed to get it inside her little one. So you harping about it just makes her feel worse.
4.      
Why doesn’t he speak words? (And you become a teacher suddenly)
Believe me, when the child says its first word, the mother is always around to hear it. In fact she would pull it out of him. Mamma should be the first word yet she insists on him saying papa first.  But the expectation of a genius child who talks like a pro from you is just plain insulting.  The blah blah suffices as long as the child can communicate.
5.   
    She has already began to say this…(Oh, the other baby…whom I would never meet)

Comparing children is somehow the favourite pastime for several people. And this is not a competition of who is better. A child is unique. He will learn things in his time. So let him be and not make him a part already of our big bad world.