Phew! The last few weeks have seen us criss-crossing the length and breath of the country for what turned out to be a fun but exhausting vacation. I know I always say that I need a vacation to recover from the one that just finished, but this time I really, really do.
I spent about half an hour trying to put the chaos that was our holiday into words and failed miserably. So like the good MBA girl I am, I turned to flow charts…
If you still have the energy to read on after that, here are the highlights of the trip:
- First, we went to Jaipur for 2 days for my maternal grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was a big family event with people flying in from all corners of the globe. Ayaan was totally overwhelmed by the number of people making overtures of friendship to him and resorted to his favourite defense mechanism – ‘cling to Mama’. He turned his face away whenever anyone tried to be over-friendly and punished an uncle of mine for his efforts by pushing him away and causing him to spill half his drink on his nice suit!
- The next stop was Bangalore for our annual Christmas pilgrimage to the in-laws. This bit of the trip was marred by all of us taking turns to fall sick over the course of the four days we spent there. First, Ayaan’s adenoids flared up because of the weather change, then Jai got an acute bout of food poisoning and then I got a mild flu. So we didn’t do the regular gallivanting that we tend to do in Bangalore and were mostly home-bound, but that was nice in its own way and Ayaan got to spend a lot more time being the star of the show.
- Jai took a detour and went off to Goa and I had a long hopping flight back to Jaipur, with just half a day to recover before the next leg of the trip.
- My brother and I flew to Jodhpur with the brat. On the flight, I had the misfortune to sit in the row in front of one of those crazy germ ladies (CGL). Now this particular CGL was travelling with her son and Ayaan happened to lean over the back of his seat to make friends with him. And unfortunately happened to cough at that very moment. Once. The CGL immediately tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘Can you please make sure that your son does not cough in our faces.’ I thought that was rude enough and ensured that Ayaan faced forward at all times during the flight, much to his chagrin. But the CGL would not rest. Just 5 minutes after this incident, she whispered something to the airhostess, who then came and gave me the same message, albeit in a more polite way. And then when I got a really bad coughing fit, she made a loud comment to her husband across the aisle about how the air in the plane just circulates everyone’s germs. Am I over-reacting or was she just horribly rude and totally paranoid?!
- At Jodhpur, we decided to lunch at the famous Umaid Bhawan Palace but when we got there, a snooty lady intercepted us at the lobby to ask us whether we knew the cover charges. And then proceeded to inform us that they were 3000 bucks a person, even if all you had was a cup of coffee. Being in no mood to shell out 12000 bucks for three adults (the brother’s girlfriend had joined us by now) and one child, we made a hasty exit and went and ate at a more regular place.
- We then drove down to a place called Osian, where my mum joined us. We stayed at a totally charming place called The Camel Camp for a couple of days. We stayed in tents, rode camels, had an al fresco meal at a village, saw some folk dancing by the fireside and played with the adorable half dozen canine inhabitants who were much friendlier than their formidable names would suggest (Tsa-Tsa, Suleiman and Caesar to mention a few).
- On our way to Jaisalmer, we managed to stop for a lovely lunch at a quaint little heritage hotel run at the Pokharan fort.
- We spent three days, including New Years Eve, at Jaisalmer. We did the regular touristy things like visiting the fort, riding some more camels and watching the sun set over the sand dunes. The nights were gambled away at poker, which my brother taught us to play and then proceeded to take all our money.
- From Jaisalmer, we drove back to Jodhpur to catch a train to Jaipur and then a flight back to Mumbai. Home again.
- Overall, Ayaan behaved much better than expected on the trip. He was an angel on the flights and inspite of a fairly irregular sleep pattern was in a largely sunny mood. He had been completely night trained when we left and I was worried that the cold weather would ruin all that but he didn’t have a single accident. And inspite of all the outside food, his stomach held up except for a slightly upset tummy the day we got back. And in smaller one-on-one interactions, he relaxed and forged bonds with my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my brother and his girlfriend.
Anyway, we got back the weekend before last and still haven’t had the time to recover since we drove down to Pune for a family do on Sunday. And as I write this, I am on a flight back to Mumbai after one of my rushed day trips to Chennai. I am exhausted to the bone, but it’s a good kind of tired. :-)
And finally, some pictures:
Our rural al fresco meal, as the fascinated villagers watch on...
Ayaan gets up close and personal with Caesar...
Waiting for the sunset on the dunes...
Camel ride on the dunes...