Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tirunelveli - Kerala Trip: 06th to 10 Oct 2010

Most of you know that we had been to a 5 days of religious cum vacation trip in the October, 2010 from 06th to 10th. Just wanted to tell you a little about the trip.

Origin of the trip: I would like to tell how this trip originated. The actual plan, was that we were planning to visit Anu's native temple, Lord Laskhminarayana, in Paapakudi near Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu. It was a long pending trip as we should have visited immediately after our marriage. Anu used to tell me often to visit the temple. So after 5.5 years at last we planned to visit or rather the Lord allowed us to visit Him. No train tickets available even before 1.5 months as its the only train running in that route. So we just checked if we could go in flight and found 2 airports nearer to Tiruvnelveli - Madurai and Trivandrum. Once Trivandrum came into picture, we thought of Guruvayur as Anu had the Thulabaram in the Guruvayur Krishna temple pending since she was 3 years old. Thus, what ought to have been a weekend trip turned out to be a 5 day vacation for us :) And I need not tell that we had a great time all thru the trip except that Anu was not in good ' health.

A little detail on the places we covered.

Day 1 - 6th Oct: We started around 3.15am and reached Bangalore airport around 4.15am. Took few snaps and climbed the Kingfisher flight by 6.30 after completing all the formalities. This is the first time Anu's parents are travelling in a flight while my mom had been in flight earlier but its her first fligh with me. Sure they would have had great feelings. They provided breakfast - sambar idly and vadai..mmm it was yummy that time though a bit sweet. The view was secenic just before we landed at at Trivandrum airport but was a little disappointed to see the airport. Cab driver Arun was waiting outside for us.

Welcome to Trivandrum and it was raining and we were a little worried to see the rain. We then started to Tirunelveli and reached there in the afternoon and had lunch. The route was pathetic really that we could not commute faster. There was no rain fortunately. Then went to Paapakudi Lakshminarayana Temple and waited for the priest for sometime. Once he came and pooja was over we had the prasadam and started back to Trivandrum and stayed in Nadan Hotel that night.

Day 2 - 7th Oct: Nadan Hotel was good except that we dint have hot water in the morning for bathing but we managed with the cold water, otherwise it was pretty decent. Had breakfast and went to Sri Padmanabasami Temple. The moment we went, a person came with a basket and literally banged into Anu's hands telling that its for consecration(archanai). Likewise, another person came up with the ghee pots. After a few yards, one person was there asking for money for all those we have been forced to buy. Since it was the first time, we thought its their practice and got it. If we need to perform consecration we will get it and they should not be forcing people to buy those things. This was the first shock. Then came the next part for waiting in the queue to view The Lord. We waited in the queue for consecration for quite sometime before we discovered its not going to happen as we expected. Then we moved to the general queue except Anu as she had the archanai basket. Both the queues are separted by a rod and thats it. The moolavar is same as that of Sri Rangam temple near Trichy, Tamilnadu. This one had 3 doors where each part of The Lord could be seen - Head, Body and Leg. We could sneak a glimpse of it, note a glimpse only and not a good / full view of The Lord. We came out and waited for Anu. Looked at other areas of the temple and came out. Then we visited Aatukal Bhagavathy AmmanTemple. It seems this temple is called "Ladies' Sabarimalai". Spent sometime in the temple.

Our next destination was Alleppey boat house. Before that we went to a Kerala Saree shop Karalkada and got sarees for the ladies. Could not get dress for Aditi there. The shop was really good and took some snaps there.
After shopping, went to Veli Lake and spent sometime there taking few snaps.
Then had lunch on the way and reached Alleppey boat house in the evening. It was drizzling. All of us boarded the boat house and sat in the drawing room for sometime. The boat house contained a drawing/dinner room, 2 bed rooms with attached bath and a kitchen and a roof top space. The boat started moving. We were given tea for refreshing.
Then it started raining and so they had to park the boat over the nearby shore. We were enjoying the new experience of traveling and staying in a boat house in the backwaters. They were preparing dinner for us and we were watching a movie in DVD when suddenly there was few surprise guests flying inside the boat. Came to know it was bats and they came for the fruit which they kept inside. Immediately I locked the fruits inside one of the rooms and sat there. Once the dinner was ready, we asked them to serve inside the rooms as we don't want our guests to visit again. But believe me, the bats did not come when we were having our dinner as the boat guys had told. We felt strange really. And, come on, its time for us to have a good night's sleep in the boat house.
Day 3 - 8th Oct: In the morning woke up early and enjoyed the nature and the vast area covered with water. We had coffee and slowly we got ready while our breakfast was also getting ready. In the meanwhile, the boat house started its journey to show us the near by villages. We were enjoying the travel having our breakfast and watched other boat houses passing by. It was a 2 hours journey and we thoroughly enjoyed it. They dropped us in the boat house station and we started our journey to Guruvayur.

On the way, we went to Ambalapuzha Krishna Temple. There was a statue for an Elephant but you will mistake it for a real one. It was the one which served the temple and they raised a statue after it was dead. Took few snaps and moved on with our plan to visit Athirapalli falls. Though it took sometime to reach there, we went and had a view of the falls and returned. Reached Guruvayur and stayed in Bhasuri Inn. Had dinner in their restaurant and rested for the day.
Day 4 - 9th Oct: Woke up after we felt its fine to get out of bed and we did not rush up to Guruvayur Krisha Temple. Got ready, had coffee and went to temple. We had to wait in the queue for a little over 2 hours. One good thing here is that it was very well organized and we dint face what we experienced in Padmanabasami temple in Trivandrum. Had a good dharshan of The Lord. We then waited in the queue for thulabaram - where we can donate any item for the wieght of us. We did thulabaram for Anu (rice) and Aditi (banana). They dont allow you to take your camera inside and they have a good business in taking snaps of thulabaram and such things. We also took few snaps and gave our address and money. They were so prompt that we received it in a week's time along with the digital copy in a CD. We were impressed really.
Then we visited the nearby Mammiyoor Sri Mahadeva Temple.

We thought of visiting few places in Thrissur which in on the way to Kochi. We heard that the Marine Drive in Kochi will be too good and skipped Thrissur plan so that we can go there before evening. This stretch was the horrible one. For a mere 100 odd KM, we travelled for close to 5 hours. Thats it, Marine drive plans too collapsed. By the time we readched, it was closed. Fortunately the government boats are closed and we went for a 1 hour drive in a private boat. It was a wonderful trip. Wondered how it would have been if we had gone before dark. In the travel, they showed us: Bolgatti Palace/island, new port under construction, Chinese fishing net, place where the backwaters enters into the Arabian sea, rainbow bridge.
After a good ride, we visited Anu's chithappa place, spent sometime talking to them, had dinner and stayed in a hotel near Kochi Airport.
Day 5 - 10th Oct: The final day of our trip. We got ready and visited Kaaladi, brith place of Sri Adi Sankara. Then we came to Kochi airport. Settled the cab and started our journey back to Bangalore in GoAir flight. Reached Bangalore around 3.30 and had something to eat and reached home.

So what this trip had for us. Due to the bad roads, we could not make it to the destinations as we had expected and ended up visiting lesser places. This is just the only bad, I dont know if I should really call it bad as we dint feel that way all through the trip, part of the trip.

The driver Arun was very helpful all through the trip right from handling the luggages when we have to almost daily take it outside the cab and keep it again the next morning; taking us to places where we wanted; communicating us about the places we come across in a way we can understand in Malayalam and things like that. Though we could not cover the list of places we had on paper, whatever places we went to, we had a great time and loved it. So I would say, it was a great trip for us and this time with our family :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Typical Day!!

Just thought of sharing how a day typically happens for us now after moving to the new place. So here it goes and most of them take place almost everyday excepting a few days.

Our typical day starts with music. Yes... listen to it now. Beep beep beep... thus goes the alarm somewhere around 4 to 4.30 in the early morning (should I say mid-night?). It is one moment when we hate ourselves like anything on why in the first place we set the alarm. Most of the times I do not get disturbed by such intrusions hihihiihiiii... Cursing with a "pch..." or "hmmm..." we (mostly Anu) hit the snooze button only to get irritated by the beep in a few minutes.

Though Anu wakes up to snooze it she makes sure that I get up first and get refreshed and she succeeds almost every time. Think this victory should give her a great feeling and this means she can sleep for some more time. And when I come out and wake her up, she opens and closes her 5 fingers as though pumping the air horn and I hear her feeble voice begging "5 minutes pleaseee...". Without waiting for my response she covers her head with the bed-sheet and continues her sleep.

I go out to wash the clothes. I should thank the washing machine that helps in completing this task. I sometimes wonder if the dhobi in our area washes so many clothes in a week atleast which we wash in a single day. I set the timer and go to wake Anu in case she is still sleeping. I start peeling fruits which we have when we travel to office in the cab. In the meanwhile, she joins me in few minutes in the kitchen after getting refreshed. Then she prepares coffee for both of us. Then she starts working towards preparing breakfast and lunch. Sometimes I assist her in cutting vegetables and then dry up the clothes.

Actually we have 2 situations - when Aditi is asleep or awake. So, all the above are possible only if Aditi is sleeping. But somehow she gets to know that both of us are out of the room and will shout either Amma or Appa. So I would go to take care of her, since I dont know cooking, while Anu does most of them on her own. The remaining is taken care by Anu's mom after we leave.

Once Aditi is awake, I go to take care of her. We get into bathroom to brush. Most of the times she brushes herself and sometimes wants me to do it. Then she will have milk (horlicks or boost) by watching TV. Then I take her to give bath, dry her, dress her up and comb her and she is ready. And in the meantime Anu is complete with packing the tiffin boxes for us - both breakfast and lunch, pack Aditi's lunch box and pack her school bag. This happens only when either Aditi or I are in a good mood, else one other task in Anu's plate for that particular day :)

Once Aditi is out of bathroom, it's the turn of Anu and me to get ready. Once we are ready, we kiss a goodbye to Aditi and rush to the cab pick up point, fortunately just in front of our apartment. I usually go first so that I can ask the driver to stay for sometime just in case if Anu has not arrived. We get into the cab and finish off with the fruits first before crawling into the book which we have in the laptop bag. I have heard and read that reading in the traveling vehicle is a strain to the eyes, and you can enjoy the world outside while traveling too. All that sounds fine, but if you happen to travel in the cab we go, for that matter any cab, you might as well be happy to not see how rashly he drives the vehicle. So to avoid getting tensed that early in the morning, we prefer reading some book or the other till we reach office.

By the time we reach the office, Aditi would have started to her school in the school bus at 8 am. She will come back around 12.30pm, picked up by the lady from creche that is inside our apartment. She stays there till we pick her up in the evening.

Once we reach office we go straight to the gym and work out for around half an hour. Then we refresh and go to cafeteria to have the breakfast we had packed from home. Once we are through, we goto our workplace and continue with our office work. We start from office in the evening at 4.45 and reach the apartment around 6pm. We then pick up Aditi from creche and go home.

After getting refreshed, I take Aditi to the play area. She spends sometime there along with the other kids in swing, slide and playing with sand. Sometimes, Anu joins us. Then we go back home. Anu continues with her dinner chores and Aditi does some coloring or that amuses her - singing. She loves it as she seldom closes her mouth. She will sing rhymes or movie songs or prayers or at times, something on her own. Its time for dinner. Once Aditi and I are through with our dinner, Anu will have her dinner and sets the dining area/table right before sleeping.

In the meanwhile, I will take Aditi to make her sleep. I have to tell her a story or two else she will not allow me to sleep. Most of the times, I tell her the story with half asleep. Sometimes, I wake up when Aditi shouts "come on tell appa" and had to hardly remember what I was telling her before I fell asleep and continue it :) Most of the times, before Anu is off to bed, she takes care of setting the alarm so that our next day also starts with music - obviously which we won't like it the next morning :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

15.Mar.2010: Artist Anu's feat!!

Drawn with HB pencils
Think most of you know that my better half (yes, really better :)) Anu does many art work that includes drawing. She has now got a drawing notebook and started drawing after a long gap. Recently she drew a toy seller picture using different HB pencils for shading. It came out so well that I immediately took a copy of that drawing and pasted in my workplace. No wonder that everyone who had seen that drawing were amazed at the work and I really felt happy for her.

I never knew that much more happier moment is waiting in the cards for me. Yes, my manager Sri went a step ahead and asked me if Anu will draw some picture for her in a chart. She also told that she will get the chart and pencils for that. Isn't that a great thing? Yes, it is and I was very happy to hear that. I checked with Anu and confirmed that she will do it.

Anu din't say "yes" immediately as she was afraid if she was of that calibre but ultimately agreed. The next day, Sri came with 2 charts and charcoal pencils and I handed it over to Anu :) Anu (for that matter me too) was not aware if such chart sheets are there as we are used to the normal chart papers only. Also, it was the first time that Anu will be trying in charcoal pencils. She thought she will first try in one chart to learn the nuances to use charcoal pencils and then will draw in the other chart.
Drawn with charcoal pencils
She started to draw the same drawing which Sri liked. She could not spend time during the weekdays and sat to draw during the weekends, that too after Aditi slept. She spent totally 3 weekends to complete the drawing. And, yes... she did complete in the first chart itself which she told she would first try. Think I need not say that it came out really well and was beautiful.

We handed the chart to Sri and she was very happy that Anu took sometime to draw it for her. In the next 2-3 days, Sri sent us the snap of the drawing that made both of us very happy. Sri framed it and added more beauty to the drawing and hanged it in her home and snapped it and sent it to both of us. That moment was really great.

This is the collage of her drawing before and after framing :)
Anu was so happy to see her drawing decorating someone's drawing room :) Wishing her to achieve more and who knows maybe I would be managing her business in the future scheduling her Art exhibition :) I wish that to happen for my wonderful lady :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

13.Mar.2010: Aditi's school day - great day to us!!!!!!

Last weekend, 13th March 2010 to be precise, was Aditi's school day / graduation day function in Hotel Evoma, on the old Madras road in Bangalore. I should say, it was a memorable and a fantastic event for Anu and I. Hope most of you know Aditi was going to Apple Kids - a play school near Whitefield here in Bangalore.

On 13th, since the function was at the odd time (4pm in the evening) and Aditi was particiapting in 2 events, we made her sleep immediately after breakfast. Woke her up for lunch. After having lunch, we all (Aditi + her grandparents and parents) left for the grand occassion to Hotel Evoma. We reached there before time like most of the parents and sat in the first row just in front of the stage. Though the hall was not that full, there were kids with their parents / siblings. There was a person sitting in a corner doing hand painting for the kids.

The performances by the kids started after sometime and the teachers asked us to dress up Aditi for her first performance of the day. She got dressed up in a cute pink frock with white socks and was waiting to make her first stage performance. Then came the call for the performance "Next on stage is a dance performance for "Apple Kids" song by play school kids". And Aditi climbed onto the stagee with a broad smile on her face. I need not say that the performance by the kids were so cute that we loved a lot and captured the dance. After that we had real joy in watching the performances of the kids.

Check the Apple Kids song video by clicking here

Then we dressed up Aditi in a traditional dress - bluish green silk dress.

In the meantime, they have started giving the medals for the kids who had performed all over the year in sports, fancy dress and overall performance. We felt happy to hear Aditi's name each time they called her to stage. First time they called her name to get the medal for coming first in Frog race. She was called again to receive the next medal for throwing ball in a basket. She posed with those 2 medals with a big smile. Then she climbed the stage to get the second prize dressing up like an IPS officer in Fancy dress competition.

Then the program continued with other performances and Aditi went to perform for 2nd time with the traditional dress for the song "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara" representing Tamilnadu's part of the song along with another kid. It was fun to watch kids in different traditional dresses that are worn across our country, India. Then they gave the certificates to all the kids and Aditi got her play school participation certificate from the center head.

Then came our wonderful and more joyous moment. Aditi was called on stage to receive "Star Performer of the Year" award. We felt really very proud for her. They called us, the parents, on the stage and asked me to give the award - a cup, to Aditi. With lots of love and great pride I gave it to her. As a parent, we felt proud and could not control our happiness on the stage. We got the moment snapped - one for the life for sure :)

Down came the curtains after other star performers in pre-kg and other batch of play school were awarded. After high tea, we took snaps with all the teaching staff and non-teaching staff before returing home with a proud feeling with Aditi's certificate, 2 medals, a prize and an award. We wish her to achieve more to make us happy in the days to come.

We love you sweetie - Aditi :)