Six wild years…

Edited to add: You guys have GOT to vote for me!!! Go on, I’m losing my lead!

Six years down and the idea of having an anniversary wasn’t something we relished. This quarter of the year is rather full of parties around here. March is the Bean’s birthday, April is our anniversary, May is the Brat’s birthday and June is the OA’s. So we decided to take a short break and off to Corbett we went. My parents were planning to drive up to Delhi to spend time with us and we thought it was perfect. An extra set of hands to help with the kids, a holiday, as well as time with family – just perfect. Also rather appropriate because if it weren’t for my parents solidly standing by us we may not have got married.

It was a glorious trip despite the heat and the bad roads in patches. The Bean decided to make my words come back to bite me in the butt and clung to me like a limpet. Oh she sat in my lap and grinned at her grandparents, and sang songs, recited nursery rhymes, performed somersaults, whistled – did all sorts, but just refused to go to their laps. Or her beloved father’s either. Which meant that my poor legs got no break. And I chanced upon a good plan. Each morning before she woke up, I’d sleepily get up and dump her in G’pa-Nani’s  room and she’d wake up between them smiling, happy to have her teeth brushed and ready to go off for a walk with them. So no, she hadn’t completely lost it or got clingy – I just happened to be her preferred mode of transport if I was around. If I wasn’t, she didnt ask for me and didn’t trouble either.

The Brat – what can I say about the Brat. He just turned so good on the trip, it’s like a magic button was turned off and his terrible twos came to end, around ten days before he turned four. The OA and I watched our son with pride shining in our eyes as he obediently sat where he was told, ate when he was told, slept when it was time and played and entertained himself without causing any damage. It’s a standing joke that the Brat was such an easy baby that he fooled us into having a second one. That we should have quit while we were ahead and not messed with the original blueprint! But then came the terrible twos and he gave us endless trouble and now all of a sudden one bright morning, it was just over.

A little thought however and we realised that it was nothing but attention. We may not have been talking to the kids the entire trip, but we were in the close confines of a car, sitting, chatting, singing loudly, having a good time  – and the Brat felt no need to do anything naughty. He was just so content. Or maybe it’s just foolish me trying to explain away the growing discomfort as my little Brat grows up.

We spent a blissful two days walking by the riverside, sipping beer by the pool and the OA and I sat weaving impossible dreams of running away from work and living on a resort forever! The resort we picked wasn’t the poshest but had the warmest service I’ve ever experienced. We got a little two storey cottage that overlooked the pool on one side and the river on the other side. A little drawing, dining and kitchen on the ground floor

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– and a bedroom, toilet, dressing area – leading to a little kids’ room with twin beds!

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Cane furniture on the verandah with a hammock and a jackfruit tree laden with fruit. Could anything be more homely and comfortable?

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The little arch leading into our garden and cottage….

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Some of the most beautiful pictures were of grandpa taking his grandson along the river for a walk. Swinging sticks and discussing important issues like why the big fish never bite bait and how to tell the difference between horses and donkeys – all more important than world peace no doubt. And grandma getting into a big rubber tube to convince the Bean to get out of the little floating boat and into a tube. At this point I must make a note of how awesome nani was looking in a lovely salmon pink swimsuit that wrapped around and tied at her waist, with a gorgeous chiffon beach wrap – black with multicoloured hollyhocks in a sort of impressionist print growing up the hem. Me – I had a similar wrap-around swimsuit, tying up at my waist, in a rich purple.

Mama and Bean in the pool..

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The Brat runs around the pool, but refuses to get in after freezing his skinny butt off.

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Bean pulled out of the pool and wrapped into a thick towel, playing with leaves and raw mangoes, hidden under Mama’s hat.

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Mornings were early and we did an elephant safari and a jeep safari. At 4.30 am the OA woke me with a cup of tea and we dressed the kids in their sleep. They cracked open an eyelid, glared at us and went back to sleep. At some point in the jeep, speeding towards the point where we were to meet the elephant, they woke up.

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Kids are like puppies. Let them stick their heads out and get the breeze in the hair and they’ll behave for a while.

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G’pa and his G’son  – looking out for monkeys.

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The Bean saw the elephant and was overjoyed. She wanted to pat it, kiss it and in short, stuff it in her suitcase and take it home. Sitting atop a gently swaying elephant with a sleepy two year old is now on my list of avoidables. Branches poked us in the eyes, brambles scratched us, the kids wanted water to drink and we dropped a couple of things along the way  – fortunately we didn’t drop any of the kids. We saw spotted deer, sambar, jungle fowl, and peacocks, but no tigers. I think tigers within a 50 km radius were warned off by the little baby voice that  squealed every few minutes – ‘Mamma, look Bambi!! Come here, Bambi, I want to shake your hand. Mamma – I want to hello to [sic] Bambi.’ It’s a good thing we weren’t with any strangers on the safari. They’d have hated us and our noisy brat – the bean of course.

We sighed and gave up all hope of seeing anything other than butterflies. The Brat was quiet as a mouse and watcful. My parents haven’t lost their Munnar eye-for-wildlife and picked up the animals way faster than the OA and me. Frankly I didn’t really care for seeing the tiger. I just wanted to relive the experience of being out in the wild. My childhood memories are full of barking deer, sambar, bluebull, wild boar and elephants. I can never forget the night my mum and I stood in the nursery while an elephant uprooted and ate up her entire vegetable patch – my mom hopping mad. I say that elephant only got away that night because my dad held my mom back. Hell hath no fury like a woman who loses her crop of strawberries and cabbage to a wild elephant.

And don’t ask for pictures. This was one of the few times we wanted to live in the moment and not adjust camera settings. Besides you try sitting atop a rocking elephant with a sleeping baby in your arms, pushing brambles and branches out of her face, keeping a keen eye out for animals as well as giving your elder child sips of water and I’ll see how many hands you have left free to hold a camera.

It was also the end of innocence with the Brat picking up a bottle of Fanta and knocking it back in 30 seconds flat. So much for avoiding aerated drinks all these years. He’s now a convert.

Another pleasant surprise was an old family friend who happened to be there. He was the one who booked the OA and me into a lovely old hotel in Manali for our honeymoon and it seemed apt that he was in Corbett the very weekend that we were. His wry sense of humour had us in splits and he surprised us with a bouquet and a black forest cake in the middle of the jungle. It was with a lot of regret that we drove home on Sunday afternoon. My knee gave me a little trouble and a painkiller for the first time since October sorted that out. But I felt as good as new and for anyone who cares to know – the Nivea kids Sunblock is amazingly effective. I burn easily and this kept me safe despite hours of lazily floating around in the freezing pool, with the burning sun overhead.

The OA and I have realised that these short breaks every couple of months rejuvenate us alot more than a two week vacation somewhere. We only tend to get in each other’s nerves and snap! Anyway, I’m so glad we chose to celebrate with a break in the jungle. Six years and two school going kids later, it’s unlikely that anyone will think of this as a very unconventional life, but speaking for the two of us… we’ve had a wild time!!!

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37 thoughts on “Six wild years…

  1. The picture of the OA holding Bean around her waist really puts her tininess in perspective. Brat is so little too, quiet in his G’Pa’s lap.

    The rest of the post is just Aaawwww!!! Lovely and dreamy.

    Your line about an easy child fooling you to have another is NOT funny. No its not. I am going through my panic attacks and constant fear syndrome as we speak…type…whatever. Gee, these days I am willing to give my second born away if someone will have her.

  2. I love the unmatched pair of rubber bands in beanies hair.. one green and one purple is it? 😀

    And tell me.. do you especially click pictures with heads turned away(or not shown) just to put up on the blog? or are all of them real pictures(for the lack of a better word)you clicked and happened to put up?

  3. congrats on your sixth!
    your post on Corbett brought back memories of our camping days near byaasi and ramganga…we use to hung out around dhikala and domunda..

    was this resort called the quality inn earlier?

    looks like you got a neat little break from the routine -glad u had fun!

  4. no trouble imagining you guys had a good weekend off. esp with the extra room with the twin beds and all dat 😉
    bean’s one up one down antennae are cute. the pics are all yearn-worthy…im all for short breaks in the backyard too. instead of flying somewhere far off. hope the knee nevver evver gives you trouble again.

  5. The place looks and sounds terribly gorgeous. Corbett is on my list of must-visit places with the kids. And you’ve made the experience come so alive! 😀

    Oh BTW, have finally started writing about the Andaman trip. Brevity was never my strong point, so it’s in installments! 🙂

  6. Oh the trip sounds wonderful…and I agree that a long weekend after every 2-3 months works better than a 2 week break once a year.

    And the photos are so cute…Corbett is a wonderful place. We’d gone for a weekend in December with some friends. Btw didn’t you guys visit the machan in the middle of the jungle. All the jeeps go there once. You get a wonderful view of the jungle for miles and miles.

    Me: No yaar – the kids were getting tired and sleepy so we just let the machan go and chilled at the pool.

  7. Can I gloat? Pleeeease? 🙂 We were in Kabini this past weekend and we saw a tiger AND a leopard on consecutive days
    Sorry – it was so darn exciting…
    And you and I seem to be on serious holiday sync. First Pondicherry, now the Jungle…
    But Corbett is one place I have not visited.. that’s next! Lovely post, as usual. Happy anniversary!

    Me: Gah. I hate you.

  8. congratulations….and wishing you many more years of happiness together… sounds like a great way to celebrate..

  9. 🙂

    perfect perfect all the way! lovely poctures to go with those words of yours! 🙂

    Happy Anniversary and wishing you guys a lifetime of all the things you want and then some more! amen!

    and we like you showing us l’il bit more of OA and kids! maybe one of these days will see your picture too, eh?! :p

    cheers!

    Me: I give you a picture of me in a swimsuit and you still want more?? *looks shocked* how much more of me do you want to see anyway ? 😉

  10. Hi MM,

    Lovely post as always! Congrats on your 6th year…n wishing you a lifetime of togetherness filled with loads of luv n good luck!

    Btw, i voted for your blog…n made all my friends vote for you too! Hope you win the contest!!!!All the best 🙂

  11. and when we went to Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary, the dratted jeeps were so loud that i really didnt know the point of us shutting up! :p

    ofcos our guide said animals are used to the jeep sound. heard the tiger roar post kill and waited with bated breath for about 20mins for it to take a post lunch walk! no luck! 😦

    but elephants and deers aplenty! and lotsa lovely birds too!

    cheers!

  12. Lovely pictures… happy anniversary.

    I have thought of visiting Corbett many times when i was in Delhi.. never did, and now I am out in Bangalore.

    I have gone to Kabini though 🙂

    The jungle looks so beautiful at night, right? The stars…

  13. Happy anniversary MM. 🙂

    Looks like you had a lovely time.. the fourth pic looks like a house you would own naa?
    of course an opinion based on the lovely pictures of your plants you keep posting.

  14. oh yea.. voted for you four times from different places.

    Me: jeez – one more comment like this and i’ll get disqualified. 😀 although i’m guessing everyone has friends doing them this favour!

  15. Am red with jealous… My jealousy is fuming… I want to go there …. (runs away crying) 😦

    As ever, great post.. sweet pics…

  16. Lovely post. I am so jealous of people staying in Delhi….they are so close to the most awesome weekend getaways 🙂 The part about the elephant eating your moms veggies was funny. I didnt know they do that.

  17. Happy anniversary and wish you many more happy ones!!..and happy birthday to Brat – hope he had a blast. I love celebrations!!

  18. Awwwwwwww seems like such a warm family time..And I love the Beanie’s unmatched bands..
    Congrats,once again,on your sixth!

  19. Not one of the poshest hotels you say? I loved the cosy resort feeling. Aah how I long to laze around on those sunny summer days. Darn this winter… doesn’t want to end 😦

    A and I believe in taking long weekends too since all our longer vacations are left to visit India. Lets see how Miss A tags along.

  20. Ooh I lived at that hotel when I’d visited Corbett about 4 years ago. It’s a wonderful place – it was totally the highlight of my whole trip. Love the gravel walks and the verandahs and everything.

    Have been reading your blog, but yet another of those people who read and don’t comment. Couldn’t resist after I saw the pictures today. 🙂

  21. awesome 🙂

    I can so feel the relaxation all from the post!

    and on a side note, u’re going the boy way. Its supposef to be “OA and me” in two places. TWO PLACES!

    😛

    Me: *gasp of horror.* Where?

  22. It’s a fun filled summer for you guys with all the birthdays and anniversaries! Warmest wishes to all of you…

    Tell me , are you deliberately photographing brat and bean from these well hidden angles? I cannot get a good look at their faces in any of them..

  23. Totally agree with the frequent short breaks being better than two-week annual holidays. Plan to do more of those.
    Happy anniversary, you awesome couple!

  24. Lol @ the bean wanting to pack in the elephant in her suitcase.

    Belated wishes on your anniversary. Wish you and the OA many more wonderful ones in the years to come.

  25. Hey, pool and sun for Beanie? How did that work out with the eczema?

    She looks like she had a blast though:-)(But seriously, who didn’t? Even we did.)

    And shame on you – depriving us of a decent swimsuit frontal!

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