Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Khushi's dose of the day!! Entrepreneurial instincts!

It’s very interesting to be part of the process of growing up of your children. It amuses me to see how their perception, their understanding, their ability to think and analyze, changes from age to age. I am not too much in favor of introducing money and economics to the kids at an early age; So against pocket money for children before the age of 10 years. But things have changed; Kids have become too demanding and greedy for their age. The more they are exposed to new things, the lesser they have started appreciating things they get. So in the process of learning the art of parenthood, I started introducing Khushi with the concept of paying money to buy anything from the shop. It’s an experiment to introduce her to the fact that THERE ARE NO FREE LUNCHES. 
One fine evening, sitting on her Papa's lap, she conversed
Khushi        : Papa, when we go to Disneyland, I want to buy Cinderella bottle, Mickey mouse       
                      compass box, Mermaid hat and Dumbo T-shirt.
Papa           : You cannot get so many gifts, you need to choose any one thing and I will buy that 
                       for you
Khushi        : Why Papa? I want them all
Papa           : No, don’t be greedy. We will buy one gift for everyone in the family
Khushi         : Papa, you do one thing.
Papa           : What?
Khushi        : You open one shop. Then we will get a lot of money. We will sell things and 
                      become RICH!
Papa, Mummy shocked!! RICH? SHOP? I am not sure if the BANIYA BLOOD in her has to do anything with her concepts about shop and money. But I am sure that she thinks that we don’t buy her everything she demands, because we cannot afford it.
I would have laughed out the conversation and explained her that everything we can afford need not be bought for her. But I wanted to encourage her ENTREPRENEURIAL instincts and make her think more on her novel project of becoming rich, so I interrupted...
Mummy      : Wow, Khushi. That's a great idea!
Khushi        : (Shy and embarrased) YES!
Mummy       : But what will you sell?
Khushi        : We can sell all those things. Things we get in market!
Mummy      : Ok. And how do you think you will get those things? Don’t you think you need to buy 
                      them from someone else?
Khushi        : Ohh, is it? Then plan cancelled! All our money will be lost in buying it, so let’s not 
                      open a shop! We will think of some other idea. I am too small for opening a shop 
We couldn’t stop laughing at the small but brilliant theory of our 5 year old girl. I wish I had used so much brain in understanding the entrepreneurial blood in me. Then I would have not been confined to my 9-5 job.
Look at the current generation; They don’t need to be doctors and engineers to earn their livelihood. Exciting professions like Radio jockeys, Scuba divers, Activists, Volunteering teachers, Stylists, Image consultants, Freelancers, Bloggers, Writers and so many others were not even known to us. They live their lives on their own terms; They live a FREE LIFE in true sense!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Avani's dose of the day!! Complex yet simple!

Me and Avani were travelling in the car to Khushi's school for paying her fees. I thought of taking along Avani, to spend some time with her in the car. On our way to the school, Avani pointed out
Avani      : Mumma, A B C D!
Mummy  : Where is it?
Avani      : Peeche chala gaya!!
I thought she might have read it on some pre-school boards, so ignored it. Again she pointed
Avani      : Mummy, why is A B C D written everywhere? Saab jagaha A B C D kyun likha hai un logo ne?
Mummy  : Kaha hai?
Avani      : Woh dekho, waha board par
Then I realized, she is pointing to the usual name boards of buildings and shops where the shop names and other details were written. As adults, we forget that the names and words are made of basic blocks of A B C D. And what according to us are meaningful names, are from a 2 year olds perspective, mere A B C D. Simple things in life are always overseen by our adult/complex minds.
Life is so simple and beautiful from a child's perspective indeed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Family vacation at Mahaballipuram

We all were pretty excited for our Mahaballipuram trip with our extended family. Khushi and Avani were all set to play with the sand toys which their BADE PAPA had bought them especially for this trip. And more than the toys, spending two complete days with their beloved ARYA BHAIYA is something they were totally high about.
Usually, I do a little bit of research about the place and also browse through some pictures when we go on a holiday. But this time I had the pleasure of being on the back seat and enjoy the trip. I wasn’t organizing anything for once, and that’s the reason it was a surprise trip for me.
The journey from Bangalore to Mahaballipuram was a cake walk with the excitement buzzing among the kids in the car. Music, games and gup-shup made the 6 hours seem like a flash. As expected the mercury rose high as we approached Mahaballipuram and we all wanted to jump into the pool as soon as we reached.
Around 1 pm when we reached the resort, the miniature imitation of the "ARJUNA PENANCE" welcomed us. It looked beautiful but the scorching heat didn’t allow me to admire it much. We parked the car and headed towards the reception. The reception area was quite nice with wooden interiors and some comfy sofas laid around. We were greeted with a welcome drink and few smiling faces at the lobby.
The first look of the Grande Bay Resort and Spa with a huge swimming pool with perfectly lined coconut trees and white low height rooms, with overlooking aquamarine Blue Ocean was breathtaking. I forgot that we have travelled for 6 hours. I stopped at the balcony to feel the cool breeze and the lovely view in front of me. I was mesmerized by the combination of colors. I was wondering, how God does such an impeccable job each time with colors? The sea blue exactly matched with sky blue and then the sap green, the bottle green and parrot green. It was, the perfect combination of colors any painter can paint with.
I was interrupted by my little one shaking me "Mumma,Chalo,Room mein Challoo!!".Our rooms were kept ready so we walked down to our rooms. I noticed the low rise architecture of the rooms. The white color gave it a Mediterranean feel and the French windows looked very classy to say the least. The well mowed grass on the sides and the coconut trees around the swimming pool enhanced the beauty of the place.
Few foreigners were sun bathing on the beach chairs around the pool and there were some interesting round couches kept here and there. The round couches had foldable cloth roof which gave the couches the shape of a cocoon. I also noticed some colorful tiles amidst the blue ones in the swimming pool. Later in the night when the water in the pool was calm, I realized those colorful tiles were arranged in the shape of a peacock feather. There were three huge peacock feathers designed at the bottom of the pool and they looked extremely splendid in the dim lights inside the pool.
We had three double rooms booked for us and our rooms were all on the first floor overlooking the swimming pool at one side and the beach on the other. The balconies were equipped with two cozy chairs and puffs. The room was huge, almost like a double room. And had beautiful interiors with red, grey and white upholstery and wall paper. They had a coffee maker, mini fridge and a 38 “TV with a full range of TATA SKY channels (A must to mention for the guys, who cannot afford to miss their CRICKET MATCHES for any vacation whatsoever :P).
The bathroom was aesthetically designed with a very effective and luxurious shower in a shower cubicle. Clean white linens, sweet smelling shampoos and bath gels, etc. Everything was done very tastefully. The only drawback of the room I felt was the separate single beds, they were separated by a fixed center table. You would surely want to enjoy the king size double bed all for yourself on a holiday :P
The best part for me personally is always the balcony. I love to spend my evenings and early mornings sitting on a lazy chair in the balcony and enjoy the birds, trees, sunset, sunrise and the cold breeze. It’s the perfect time to be with yourself, no hurry, no to-do lists, and no kids’ yelling-pulling, you are at peace with the environment and yourself.
So, coming back to our vacation. We all settled down in our rooms and headed for lunch in LATITUDE 49. The resort’s only multi-cuisine restaurant. They served buffet and Ala Carte both. We were pleasantly surprised with the taste of all the three cuisines we tried. North Indian, Chinese and Italian dishes were made with quite perfection and except a few Chinese dishes which had excess black pepper (especially the hot and sour soup) everything else was delicious. More than that, the staff was very courteous. We had small fussy eaters with us, who insisted on pasta and noodles at odd hours. We were offered a set menu as part of the buffet one evening, and we did not like the menu (mostly non-vegetarian). So they were very accommodative and offered us few more additional dishes apart from the set menu. The breakfast spread was amazing with South Indian, continental, European dishes in it. Hot dosas, customized omelets, freshly made masala tea and the very delicious chocolate mango Sandesh, made the overall dining experience worth every penny. We ended up having all our 5 meals in LATITUDE 49 instead of our original plans of trying out other resorts and restaurants in and around Mahaballipuram.
After a hearty meal, it was time to doze off till the scorching sun makes it bearable for us to step out on the beach. We unpacked, slept for a bit and then it was time for us to soak ourselves in the sun and sand of the awesome Mahaballipuram beach. From a distance, Mahaballipuram beach reminded me of the Mauritius beaches. Aquamarine blue water, with lovely shimmer on the waves. Unlike our Mumbai beaches, the sea shore was spotless. No broken liquor bottles, no plastic bags, bits of paper or any other garbage. It was a treat to walk on the wet sand. The waves were also perfect. Inviting and white as milk.
I have been always very fond of beaches. Love the water and the grandeur and playfulness of the waves. I can spend hours together watching the waves and starring at the horizons. I have some strange connection with the waves. They calm me, rejuvenate me, excite me, and invite me, all at the same time. And the splash of water on me feels like a baby cuddling her mother. It is this strong bond of me with the ocean that has transcended to my kids. Both my kids love water, beaches excite them a lot.
So after a perfect beach bath we transferred ourselves to the resort swimming pool. The pool water temperature was brilliant. It was better than the hot water pool in Bangalore. That’s what I love about beach vacations. The temperature of water is very soothing whether its beach or pool. We swam for almost 2 hours and we literally had to drag the kids out of the pool after 2 hours. Khushi (5 yrs) was always a water baby and with her tube now she doesn’t need to be monitored in the pool. But the little bomb at my house Avani (2 yrs) refused to consider tube as an option. She insisted that she is born with swimming talent and can be good without the tube and insisted that she should be considered to be eligible for the adult swimming pool straight away. So with a lot of drama we finished our swimming session that day.
After that, we had a short session of cards with the family and then headed for dinner.

After dinner, while others slept, I enjoyed watching the serene pool and cold breeze from the balcony. I also loved listening to the agitated waves from the beach. They had their own music to share. I wanted to be there whole night listening to the waves and enjoying the open sky, but I had plans of a beach walk at sunrisewith my co-sister. So thought it would be a good idea to sleep for some time.
 Had a horrible night with Avani getting temperature. Continuously was checking with her temperature and making sure it doesn’t shoot up. I always remember one line told by a nice man "Kids are wonderful, they give you happiness. But with happiness they also give you a lot of pain. It’s never easy to bring up kids without feeling helpless, frustrated, tired and scared!". Every time my kids are not well, my whole energy goes for a toss. I feel miserable and I feel helpless and not in control of myself. But every dark night has a new dawn. So I pulled my socks and got ready for my beach walk before time. I didn’t want to miss the sunrise on such a beautiful beach.
 Finally, we managed to reach the beach before dawn. The sky was amazing. With all shades of yellow and orange it looked like a perfect painting. It’s amazing how sunrise and sunset can reproduce the exact same colors on the horizon. It’s an amazing feeling to look straight into the eyes of that divine light and absorb all the positivity, energy and strength from it. The waves once again invited me towards them and in spite of no intentions of being wet, I was in the water. Sun rays beautifully reflecting from the clouds and bringing a lovely shimmer on the water was an awesome scene to start the day with. We walked on the wet sand for almost an hour, listening to the mesmerizing songs amidst the sound of waves.
There were a few local people fishing on the coast and the smell of fish was quite unbearable for us to explore the whole stretch. It’s quite pitiful how we spoil our environment with our mess. The same beach which looked spotless was littered, with every possible garbage by the people visiting it the other day. India should ban eatables and plastics completely on our beaches soon, else in no time all our beaches will look like Juhu beach, full of garbage!
 Then it was time to return to our resort.
We went back to the resort. All the others jumped into the pool but I decided to sleep for a while. Later I thought, after a full sleepless night, it was a good idea to take rest for an hour. I felt better and energetic for the rest of the day.
We had our breakfast and went for sightseeing in the city. There are a few historical places and temples which are the major tourist attractions in the city. Arjuna penance/Descemt of the Ganges, Shore temple, Pancha Rathas and some caves. The Panch Rathas are under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site inscribed by UNESCO as Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram. It is carved from single stone and has a lot of interesting history attached to it. Though I like all the old tales attached to historical places, the hot sun and sweat made it impossible for us to appreciate the beauty and history of the place. We skipped the SHORE temple and decided to cover it next time we come to this place.
Once we reached the resort, we all had a very fun filled family time. Music, cards, kids drawing, playing, pulling each other. We also bullied our nephew Rahul to dance on BADTAMEEZ Dil. I don’t think he will ever forget the dance in his life, if he forgets, we have a video to share with him and remind him of the torture he went through. All thanks to my darling hubby for bullying the poor guy to move him from his comfortable position. But anyways, these are the memories which we will cherish forever. So after a lovely afternoon with our cousins and a hearty lunch, we waited for the clock to tick 4.30 pm. Jumped into the pool and enjoyed a refreshing swim.For memory sake, we clicked a lot of pictures in the pool.
The evening was wonderful but with Avani not well, I didn’t want to leave her. So I decided to sit in the balcony with her in laps and spend some quality time with her. I call her the KANGAROO baby, she loves to cling to me all the time and my touch soothes her. So I spent an hour just with my little baby, talking and loving her. That 1 hour was the best time I have spent with her in these last 2 years. You never know when and where you create unforgettable moments in life. It was only Avani and me, heart to heart, sharing the mother daughter bond. I feel, it’s always unfair with the second kid. You do not realize, when time flies and when they grow up. I am happy I captured that lovely evening with her that day.
 Then it was dinner time and we had planned a birthday surprise for Khushi. Khushi's BADE PAPA had specially brought a customized Eggless pineapple DORA cake for her from Chennai the night before. We had arranged a roof top cake cutting surprise for Khushi on the restaurant terrace. With balloons and candle light the place looked very festive. After confirming all the arrangements, we called our princess for her surprise. When she saw the cake and everybody starring at her, she was embarrassed. She didn’t know how to react but the twinkle in her eye suggested, she loved it. She was unable to express her joy and had her first happy/excited/nervous/embarrassed/awkward moment of her life. The cake was scrumptious and ordered with a lot of love by her BADI Ma. We all relished the cake and had our dinner.

 It was the last night of our vacation. The golden memories are engraved in our heart and minds forever. We had enjoyed every moment of our family vacation and would look forward for many more fun filled vacations in future. The resort, the food, the location, the company, the moment all were perfect. Kudos to the good times with family at Mahaballipuram!!