Thursday, October 05, 2006

We finally did it

The great feat that I am talking about is a solo trip with Ayaan. So far, all trips with Ayaan have either been to visit our respective parents or with my mother along to help. This time we finally bit the bullet and went without any additional support structure in the shape of parents or maids. And it was quite an adventurous first attempt too – involving a long car drive, some horseback riding and a tranquil and low-activity hotel.


We went to a small hill station called Matheran which is a three-hour drive from Mumbai. We were quite nervous about such a long drive with a hyperactive toddler in tow, but Ayaan behaved quite well. He slept for about 45 minutes of the drive and was reasonably quiet for the rest of the journey. The only time he got upset was when we encountered traffic and the car slowed down… On the way back too, he behaved just as well. The only mistake we made was feeding him his mid-morning snack before a long, winding drive downhill – which was promptly ejected all over Jai during the course of the drive!


Now, the interesting part – the thing about Matheran is that automobiles are not allowed to enter so we had to leave the car in the car park and then traverse a hilly, uneven path on horseback for an hour to get to our hotel. Yes, we had to travel on a horse with Ayaan! Much to our surprise, this was much easier than we thought. He stayed on the horse for most of the time and the guide sweetly agreed to carry him for five minutes every time he got restless. On the way back, he got so comfortable on the horse that he actually slept through most of the ride.


We stayed in this place called The Verandah in the Forest and it’s actually the kind of place where a typical holiday would involve lots of walking around followed by periods of lounging, reading and napping. That is, unless you happen to be accompanied by a noisy and restless young fellow. Ayaan completely altered the profile of the place while we were there by charging around the place at high speeds and shouting and screeching at the top of his voice. I am sure people who came there for some quiet time were in for quite a shock!


It was quite rainy while we were there but we did manage to get in reasonable amounts of outdoor activity. Ayaan really enjoyed himself and got completely dirty every time we left the hotel. He went to sleep at his normal time so we got atleast a couple of hours to have a drink and a quiet dinner but for the rest of the time, he was constantly on his feet with one or both of us running behind him.


There was a 5-year old boy there who befriended Ayaan and they had a complete ball chasing each other around the drawing room. The boy really took to Ayaan and his mother had a tough time convincing him that it was not possible for Ayaan to sleep with him in their room! Seeing them play together made me want to have a second child tomorrow! But I guess that will have to wait a bit – Ayaan is still in a very needy and clingy stage and work is quite hectic. I don’t think I could manage being pregnant just about now…


Anyway, all was good and I am very glad we mustered up the guts to go ahead and do the trip. Till now, I was always balked at the thought of going on a holiday with Ayaan but this trip made it quite clear that it is not only possible but even fun, though different from the kind of fun we have been used to. It’s challenging and tiring but well worth it… it exposes Ayaan to new experiences (horseback riding and meeting new people, to name a few) and also allows us to get on with our plan of seeing more of the world than the cities where we and our families live.


So now our new family motto is ‘Have baby, will travel’.

41 comments:

  1. Abroad there would be no choice but to travel with yoru child as the parental support system is non-existant (and in a far away land). Although I have no experience of this I have many many friends (mainly NOT indians) who regualrly travel with small babies (6 months and up) for 3-5 day breaks with no problems at all. It's all in what your surroundings/ circumstances permit. Indians abroad are a bit more paranoid about travelling with small children and avoid it (this is a generalisation) by and far. My very pregnant friend has just declared that she not only intends to not leave her house for the first 3 months after her child's birth but also not to travel till her child is 1. Paranoid, dontcha think?! Your trip sounds lovely. I'm glad you are inspired travlers...

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  2. Great!I am glad you guys had such a good time!

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  3. horse back? must be fun!!

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  4. Looks like a great place.. glad that you had so much there:-) Now the hesitation is gone & you can plan more trips with Ayaan:-)

    We always go out for 10-12hr. straight once a week since I had my son. They never bother but I was always hesitating taking them out after my daughter was born. I think it was me who was scared with the idea of 2 crying kids but when we did it she was just awesome. She didn’t cry or bothered us and we never stopped afterwards.. :-)

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  5. wow! sounds like great fun!
    pics, pics!

    P.S: ‘Have baby, will travel’ - ROTFLOL!

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  6. [30in2005] Actually, I used to avoid public places till he was three months old. My paediatrician had advises this since the vaccinations don't really kick in till then. But we did take him to friends' houses and when he was just 2 months old, I took him on a flight to go stay with my mom for a while.

    [InquisitiveAkka] Much to our surprise, we really did.

    [Itchingtowrite] Fun but also left me with a sore backside and also aching arms from holding on to Ayaan.

    [Mommyof2] Already planning something else for early next year...

    [Sudha] we might as wll have not taken the camera since we were too busy to remember to take any pics...

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  7. That is an inspiring story :) The place you went sounds wonderful. Just the fact that they don't allow cars is enough to sell it to me.

    It's quite impressive that he behaved well in the 3 hour drive. That's the only concern I have to take trips. My kid will behave quite well as long as he is not restricted.

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  8. I had gone to Matheran in 1997 with my soon-to-be DH. I remember the place and all the various lookout points. I dont recall the name of the hotel we stayed at.

    That said, I'm glad you guys had fun.
    I think we tend to overworry abt every single thing as the departure day approaches.

    I never thought I could manage a 6 hour flight from Singapore to Mumbai with a 5 yr old, 3 yr old and 8 months old.
    Not only did I survive that, we all took the 22 hour flight from Singapore to LA with a 4 hour transit in Taipei ALL BY MYSELF!

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  9. rohini, the place sounds beautiful! am glad u guys had fun... u should plan to go on a hike next time :D

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  10. Good for you for braving the unknown!

    Just reading the first comment--I can vouch for this. When Jude was nine months, I took him via airplane to my mother's. This might be cheating a bit, but it's not like she was used to having kids in her house. Actually, the longest trip we've done with kids was when Jude was 13 months, and I was 31 weeks pregnant with my next--we drove 30 hours to California, with only one overnight stop. On the way home, we drove straight through and made a navigational error so the trip took 36 hours. Plus, Jude was sick and constipated. That was not so fun. But the way down wasn't too bad. When you do long trips like that, the trick is to try and do most of your traveling when your kids would be sleeping. Of course, then you are bagged the next day, but at least your kids are in decent moods!

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  11. Great Going, Mom and Dad.

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  12. [Twisted DNA] It's really nice to have no cars, though the smell of horse dung can be overpowering on the paths...

    [Sraikh] A 22-hour flight with three kids - I am awestruck.

    [Shilpa] A hike will have to wait till Ayaan is a little older since carrying him for more than 10 minutes can be pretty back-breaking.

    [Talena] #6 hours in a car - even more awe-inspiring...

    [Patti] Thanks

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  13. wow..really brave of you guys..and you guys had fun too. horseback riding...sounds fun...and i LOVED the name of the hotel.

    tara has motion sickness so long drives are out of the question for us :(

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  14. Nice post Rohini. Rekindles old memories. Been to Matheran long time back. Yes, Matheran is a lovely place - its nice that they still dont allow motor vehicles into the place. Great place for treks and stuff. During non-monsonn times the place does get crowded on weekends. How was it when you went there? Yeah, I remember the hotels too, idyllic places, laidback atmosphere, great service. I envy mumbai log, every weekend they have an idyllic place to romp in/trek to. In a couple of years Ayaan will also be able to hike with you and it will be greater fun.

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  15. Wow, it's no nice that he behaved well with all the new experiences. I'm a bit jealous, I've never been on a horse yet but some day want to play polo!

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  16. [Aqua] It really was that too - a verandah in the forest

    [visitor] The monsoon refuses to go away so it wasn't all that crowded. Also, the hotel we stayed in was quite far away from the main bazaar so it was pretty quiet there.

    [Ranjit] Horse-riding is fun but pretty hard on the thigh muscles...

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  17. Hi Rohini,

    I just wandered over from Twisted DNA's blog. The Verandah of the Forest looks like an awesome place to visit, judging by the pictures. I enjoyed reading your previous posts as well. With trips to Goa, a new house and servants, it sounds like the setting of many a Hindi movie. (Yes, I'm addicted to Bollywood.)

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  18. Would liek you to do the HEIGHTS tag

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  19. Alan - trips with a bawling baby, matchbox-sized Mumbai flats, even if new, and two and half servants do not muster up enough grandeur for a Hindi movie!

    [Artnavy] Will do.

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  20. Good to hear of your wonderful experience and here's wishing all of you more such happy times together.

    I think of moms sitting on two wheelers behind husband holding a fully covered baby come drizzle, sun, wind..
    Moms taking babies by bus (sometimes night bus)back to the village.
    Many times I think they don't even have a choice to state it will be difficult, baby will not be comfortable etc.. And to think this could be a daily/weekly routine.
    Do they have the same anxieties ?

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  21. See, every time you think of having another child I shall send you a video of my own brat bawling all night.

    I think the nicest way to have children is probably to adopt them. After they have crossed the age of 5. Or perhaps 15. Or hey, 20 sounds even nicer.

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  22. [Outsider] I guess they have the same anxieties but possibly not the choice of giving in to them.

    [Sue] You may not believe this but there will come a day when you will miss this early phase when they are fully dependant on you. Also, they stay put where you leave them and you don't have to run around after them all day to keep them safe from harm...

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  23. Congrats on the holiday! We are in desperate need of one ASAP.

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  24. hey! glad you did... see.. you can do it... without all the paraphenelia..
    we've been dragging the brat around rather shamelessly... i dont know what we will do next year with two! now do post pics of your trip.

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  25. Hi Ro and Jai!

    Back to the blog after some weeks! Seems like you guys had a nice trip!! Now to those longer bolder forays into hitherto uncharted lands.....!!!

    Love to all 3 of you!

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  26. Hi Ro and Jai!

    Back to the blog after some weeks! Seems like you guys had a nice trip!! Now to those longer bolder forays into hitherto uncharted lands.....!!!

    Love to all 3 of you!

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  27. Hi Ro and Jai!

    Back to the blog after some weeks! Seems like you guys had a nice trip!! Now to those longer bolder forays into hitherto uncharted lands.....!!!

    Love to all 3 of you!

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  28. teach him to ride horses... its a skill that'll be much appreciated later... you know what they say about men who can ride horses :)

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  29. [Mint] The holiday was great but can't say it was much of a break though...

    [Quack quack] Welcome back!

    [Urban] Actually, I don't know what they say about men who drive horses and I am sure I don't want to know with reference to my son... ;)

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  30. [Mad Momma] Well it wasn't quite paraphenelia free - there was the travel cot, travel high chair and baby monitor! Unfortunately, no pics - we got too involved with looking after Ayaan.

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  31. That is so awesome. my cousin did a monthlong Europe trip with two kids under the age of 3 and said it isn't that bad. Glad you guys had fun. And here's to the second baby :)

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  32. Good to know you took the plunge and enjoyed it too. I feel it is important to take kids on such trips when they are small so they get used to them (and so do we). When I was pregnant with my daughter, I insisted that my husband and I take a trip to Mount Abu because "who knows when we will be able to take the next one with the baby"! We did, and had a good time too. But now after all these years of travelling with her (the first trip I took with her ALONE was when I went to my mom's when she was 5 months old), and the longest one was when I came to the US with her when she was 10 months old - ALONE. My husband was already here), I wonder - what the heck WAS I worried about? It is not that hard - specially if you have no other option :D Now we wouldn't DREAM of taking a vacation without her because she loves going on them with us so much!

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  33. Your holiday sounds great! Actually my daughter's been travelling around with her son since he was around 4 months old I think. When he was just around 4 months old they had to go for a funeral of a dear friend. So they drove with him from Madras to Bangalore straight through with him sleeping most of the timein the car seat apparently. ON the return trip apparently they stopped somewhere overnight--because they left Bangalore after 6pm! After that most trips have been easier I think.

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  34. [M] A month-long trip is still a long way away but atleast we made a beginning.

    [Gettingthere] Your trips make mine seem humble in comparison

    [Suemamma] We have always been hesistant to travel with Ayaan since he has proved to be a pretty difficult traveller. Early trips with him were completely nightmarish and the car seat is his worst enemy.

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  35. Congrats on the adventure!

    Regarding you earlier "sharing" post - my son is also too young to really understand the whole sharing concept, but we're trying to get him accustomed to it. Let's see how it goes!

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  36. Well atleast you are trying. I have a major bone to pick with parents who don't even try...

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  37. Glad Ayaan loved it. You should do this more often. We are planning a solo trip to Goa in Jan as a beta for one to the UK / Africa in March.

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  38. Rohini, good for you....keep taking ayaan for holidays and he will soon get used to it....Karan is quite good at it, though ofcourse there are the occasionaly tantrums thrown on flights and stuff, and ofcourse, the fact that we (the parents) come home more tired after the vacation than after a whole tough week of work!

    about the sharing thing....Karan isn't too good with sharing his own toys (I'm slowly trying to teach him), though he doesn't mind sharing the toys he plays with at his creche. there was a good article on sharing a few days ago in the Hindu - according to whoever it was that wrote that article, we shouldn't force very young kids (like ayaan and karan) to share, as they are still developing a sense of self and things that are their own. also, never make him/her share his/her favourite toy. but the article says we must gently try and show him (never by taking away any of his toys against his will) th joy of sharing by showing him how some other child is so happy playing with his toy.

    I tried this out with K a few days ago when our cook brought her grandson to our house - though he was initially reluctant, i told K to show this other boy how to play the different animal sounds on his small keyboard...and after a while K quite enjoyed this, cos this boy was clearly impressed and enjoying this....after a while K actually let him have a go and try the various keys though the keyboard is one of his favourite toys!.

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  39. [Henpecked] Nice handle! I think henpecked husbands are the next big thing after metrosexuals...

    [Lawyermama] Thanks for all the tips on sharing. And I so agree with you on the the fact that you need a holiday to recover from a holiday with a kid!

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  40. Read my comment and your response once more. LMAO

    Oh how perspectives change.

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