Monday, January 12, 2009

The Great Indian Vacation

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...


  1. wow! I've been to Osian too, as a kid. I got lice in my hair then :)
    Lovely photos, the al fresco dining looks great.
    Silly, rude woman. And thanks for the tip about Umaid Bhawan, I'll remember that...
    ps this is the ex mg. I have changed the url of my blog.

  2. Seem like you had a very busy vacation. I hope you can rest up from the vacation.

    An Arkie's Musings

  3. very nice nomadic romantic vacation despite the rude encounters

    call me next time even on a jet set trip to chennai

  4. You actually made a vacation flowchart??!
    You could have included the numbers of camels you rode also as part of the flowchart. :)

  5. And Crazy Germ Lady sounds rather, ummm, crazy.

  6. tagged u- hoep u take it up and soon

  7. Loving the flowchart!!

  8. LOL on the flowchart! Sounds like quite a vacation. Wonderful. BTW you should have turned around and sneezed and coughed right into the germ lady's face!!! Why do such ppl leave the antiseptic environment of their own homes?

  9. Anonymous12:05 pm

    you are such a geek, you know that?! I haven't read the whole post but couldn't stop commenting after that brill flowchart :)
    -Kodi's mom

  10. :)

    since i aint no MBA types, i get completely flummoxed by charts and pies n such!

    so i read the post and LOVED it! what fun Rohini! and you came to blr and went away just like that?! maybe next time we shall see you?! :)

    and the pictures are gorgeous! have made my resolve to do a Rajasthan trip in near future stronger! :)



  11. ps: Oh and the CGL was being totally rude and ridiculous!! and you just shut up?! well i would have to, i guess! :(

    and whats with being rude to tell the cover charge?! next time dress better, ok?! :p



  12. Your flow chart is awesome! But looks like an enjoyable holiday all round :)

  13. ooh whats a vacation without getting sick eh!! what wonderful photos!! My dad's family is originally from Jodhpur!! so im bouncing on my seat now!!

  14. Looks like a full and fun filled vacation, especially camel camp. Nice pictures too. I always enjoy the travel posts.

    BTW, nice work on the flowchart.

  15. What awesome fun! You seem to have been all over the country in this short while.

    I don't believe CGL. Hope she reads your blog and feels the collective hatred of the blogosphere directed towards her.

  16. Totally LOLing at the flowcharts!

    CGL - phew. Poor kid (hers I mean).

    Sounds like a fab time was had. Pix are awesome.

  17. [Ra] Have been wondering why I keep getting bounced off the other blog and if you had stopped blogging :-)

    [Richies] Yeah. Next time I am going to a beach resort!

    [Art] I will, for sure.

    [Manjima] :-)

    [Ritu] Seriously. Especially since we were in one of those tiny ATR aircrafts and the proximity of germs really seemed to be freaking her out...

    [Primalsoup] Heh. Well, I did consider putting the number of days we spent at each place but it was getting too complicated :p

    [Kodi's Mom] :-)

    [Abha] Yeah, the trip was totally rushed. And you did come to Mumbai and not get in touch so you shouldn't be talking :p

    [HGM/Alan] It was tiring but fun, yeah.

    [Grafx] Really? I lived a large part of my growing up years in Rajasthan

    [Parul] :D

  18. [Choxbox] Heh. Must be keeping the poor fella wrapped in cotton wool.

  19. Such a delightful post- flowchart and all! Must have taken ages to plan.
    The CGL is an eejit.
    Though warning you off with the cover charges sounds rather awful, I bet you're glad she did!
    There are cover charges and cover charges. Though we did have a splendid vacation in Jodhpur and stayed at the Umaid Bhavan Palace in 1988 (company paid, obviously)!

  20. Wow. I'm kinda speechless.

    Also, are you sure your brother taught you how to play poker? Seems like he might have conveniently left out a few tips, don't you think? ;-D

    Thanks so much for the rundown. I'm trying not to be too green about the camel-riding, but its really, really hard. I'll keep working on it.

  21. Whew! I'm exhausted just from reading this! You do, you so do need a holiday from this holiday...but I doubt it'll be as much fun though! ;)

  22. Took me some time to recover from the flowchart and read on!


    BTW it's not CGL. It's Crazy Germ Weirdo. Such ppl are not ladies, even if they happen to be female.

  23. one Awesome vacation you had there Ro...sigh! awaiting my turn!all my vacations turn out to be stressful..:)

    anyways, regarding CGW, (taking cue from sue ;) LOL) ..i have had similar experiences..butin the US...i used to take bus from NJ to NY for work..and once I was down with cold...and in thebus.. i sneezed about 3 times..and can u believe what the lady next to me did? stopped bus, and asked the driver that he shouldnt be taking insuch people and just got off the was insulting..and at teh same time i was amazed! being first time in US didnt help me at all :)

    but now who India, i cant expect this lady!...of all you know she must be throwing her plastic paper and garbage right next to her house...where there is a huge dump created already by her!:)

  24. nice chart!! I was wondering what all those people were till I read the handy legend!
    sounds like a fun trip, definitely exhausting, and yes, lady was rude, you are not over-reacting, under-reacting if anything. idiotic goose.

  25. I'm going to cut and paste your awesome flow chart and enter my own adventures. Oh wait, that's right. I haven't had any! I'm always amazed how quickly kids grow. That's such a cute pic of Ayaan and Caesar.

  26. got quite an entertaining and creative read!

  27. Anonymous2:28 pm

    Flow chart too good but how to did that. Any website or what ?
    Please e.mail.

  28. awesome flowchart!! looks like you had a smashing holiday :)

  29. [Dipali] Planning? Huh? What's that? This was one totally ad hoc trip. We do Christmas at Bangalore every year any way. But then the grandmother's 90th birthday party was planned so had to go to Jaipur first and then brother suggested we do family trip so had to come back. Plus, the Jaisalmer leg was planned and executed completely by my mom and we just went along for the ride :-)

    [Talena] Three words that might make you less green about the camel riding - VERY sore bottom. :-)

    [Mamma Mia] Unlikely that I am going to get one any way :(

    [Sue] Yeah, I am the CFL (Crazy Flowchart Lady) :D

    [IBH] Don't be jealous. This was stressful. Holidays change forever once you have kids. And CGW - people like her should probably just stay home...

    [kpbm] The legend is the highlight of the flowchart, lady! ;-)

    [Mint] Erm... they will appear to grow fast if you pop in once in a century, no? *flees before Mint's shoe hits her head* ;-)

    [Sonia/ Noodlehead] Thanks

    [Hobo] I just wasted a lot of precious time making it box by box on a PPT slide. Grouped the boxes and arrows, saved as a picture and voila!

  30. thanks for sharing this!! a lovely trip!! i'll try that camel camp thing u mentioned on one of our next trips. :)

  31. woooooooooow. looks like you had a marvelous time!

    I am jealous now.

  32. Wow - what a lovely vacation - seriously the kind you can write about! And bow to you for the flow chart!! Awesome pics!

  33. LOL at the flowchart, but it still doesn't do justice to those CGW/L's. WHAT A RUDE WOMAN! alright, Ayaan may need to have consistence where manners are concerned, but YOU should have gone ahead and coughed right in her face! Germs and all! If she were so bothered, she could have moved her son out of reach, she needn't make such an issue out of it!

    Lovely pics, looks like you had an exhaustingly lovely time. Next time you come to B'lore, hope its more leisurely and do call then.

  34. Anonymous7:19 pm

    CHECK THIS UNIQUE SITE ALSO Matrimonial Site is the worlds only Matrimonial Site for peoples who don't want to take and give dowries for their marriages.its total free site.Add your Free Matrimonial Profile Now.

  35. I read this post only after i saw ayaans post, he seemed to be a disciplined kid, seems like you had a good trip

    BPO work from home

  36. wow! i am so impressed by that chart. i'm totally inspired to get organised after seeing that.

    crazy germ lady sounds awful! hope she did catch something. she deserved it!

  37. that sounds like a nice hectic trip.. i so want to be a rajasthan trip, dunno when both me and hubby will find enuff time together..
    am i too late on comnenting? its coz i was also on a vaccation...

  38. i had a very good spending a lot of time in bandipur resorts 2 days I had so many memoriable movements and br hills resorts too