Eight years come Easter

So the OA and I celebrated eight years of marriage on the 25th of April (cue to wish us, thank you), in Dharamshala. Our trip to the hills said something about why this marriage has lasted as long as it has. It was Easter (Hope you all had a Blessed Easter) and we were in a strange city and not attending Church. Actually I realise I am even more casual about such stuff than the OA. He tried to get us to wake up and attend the service at the lovely St John in the Wilderness Church, but I said I’d rather not drag the kids out of bed and rush them around on a holiday. At the beginning of this year we noticed there are a lot of long weekends and so we have a bunch of little trips booked up for the rest of the year. We did Sariska two weekends ago and have been using our Club Mahindra membership to the fullest. Yes, kam daam, full paisa vasool would describe us. Not too far, costs us nothing more than a tank of petrol and we’re off. We don’t shop, we eat at the local joints, we don’t even bother to ask for mineral water bottles.

We’ve been trying to get other couples to join us but most people are unwilling to travel on festivals and want to be home to celebrate, while others find it a nuisance to travel with babies. And in that one line I realise what has held the OA and I together. I dated guys who were wilder, I dated guys who were richer, I dated guys whose parents loved me. But I guess I married the one who thought just like me on these very relevant, daily issues. I don’t think I could have stayed married very long to someone who believed in going to the church/temple regularly and fasting and keeping rituals. Neither could I have married a man who couldn’t be a man and handle his share of parenting. Who didn’t think it was a lark to pick up a two month old baby and drive off to the hills with a wife burning with fever and a toddler puking out the window! Similarly he has a very healthy respect for women who are low maintenance and can handle their kids and still have a life. Anyone remember that post? We took the two month old Bean to Kasauli against all odds and that was still a fun trip.

So last weekend we grabbed two Easter eggs as a nod to tradition and drove off. We stayed one night with some friends who were once princely rulers and their old haveli brought much joy to the kids. Cows to be milked, orange orchards to be explored, old ruins (including a deeeeeeep well) and much more. We literally had to drag the kids out of there. They’d also dug out size  appropriate beds for the kids and the Bean got lucky with a little cot that she refused to get out of. She’s not over it yet and at six hourly intervals I get a request for a cot. *groan*

Good Friday was spent with the friends and everyone laughed at the irony of spending it exploring an ancient Gurudwara. Holy Saturday was at the Bhagsunag Temple and Easter Sunday was spent trying to see the Dalai Lama. None of it was intentional, but that is how it ended up being and for me, it was a good Easter because I was with my brats and the OA and that was all that mattered.

I came back all tired and grouchy and a friend teased me – But I thought you said the kids are no trouble. Well, they weren’t trouble, they were, well, just kids! They walked all over the place and only whined when they were really exhausted, at which point the OA and I, kind parents that we are, threatened to leave them sitting on the road if they didn’t get up and walk. That worked. No strollers, no carrying, nothing. Funnily they were all excited and raring to go the next day inspite of what I thought of as us traumatising them. They kept awake late most nights but the OA and I stayed up even later, reading for a quiet hour, sitting outside the room in the garden and chatting for a while, getting our own little hour of conversation. But then they’d be up bright and chirpy and the OA and I would bury our heads under our pillows and groan, telling them to go to the bathroom and not trouble us. Which they did willingly, except that they don’t really maintain boundaries. So they kept skipping in and out of the loo, sitting on our bed, having loud conversations while the two of us moaned and slid lower in the bed and snapped at them for letting the sunlight in. Finally with a broken extra hour of sleep we’d get out of bed and take them for breakfast. Ah, good times! But I think the biggest problem was the soft beds. The OA and I are not creatures of comfort and even our bed at home has been divested of its thick coir mattress and replaced with a local cotton handstitched mattress. It’s really good for the back and the hard bed now has us so hooked that other beds just end up being a pain instead of a comfort.

The anniversary was spent driving back to Delhi and we stopped along the way to play in a river, watch a bridge being constructed, examine some Stinky Williams and a quick lunch break (at 5pm!).  Healthy diets and timings usually go to the dogs when we travel and the kids ate pancakes for dinner and burgers for breakfast and butter chicken with roti at some point in between it all. Earlier I used to carry colouring books etc but I’ve realised that they don’t bother with them choosing instead to look out of the window. Neither do they need to be entertained with cartoons put on the laptop or puzzles or anything. I make up a bed out of the backseat by stuffing luggage in between the front and back seats and then spread a sheet over it. They fall asleep when they are tired, get up and look out when they are rested and chatter with us all the way. We now argue over the radio stations and if we do tend to fall silent for a while, the quiet Brat who never says much will suddenly pipe up in a very Itna sannata kyun hai bhai way. “I don’t want to talk,” says he, “but I want to listen to you  all.” It’s scary how much they pay attention even when you don’t think they are, because the OA and I were discussing an uncle’s heart attack and the two of them who had been arguing over something suddenly joined in with questions – what is a heart attack? Why does it happen?

Anyway, a lot of people want to know how and why the OA and I love travelling so much with two little kids so I’ve got my travel tips down pat. They won’t work for everyone, but its okay, we’ve got to do what works for us!

1. Carry lots of snacks and water. It’s a holiday and you’re on the road so it’s okay if you eat whenever you want and whatever you want. Healthy diets are for being at home. Funnily no matter how much junk we eat on vacation, we all come home looking leaner and fitter (and more tanned)! Sanitiser, tissues, umbrellas, toilet roll, newspaper for accidents, plastic bags to avoid littering. We also carry two big laundry bags and keep stuffing our dirty clothes in those instead of packing them back in the suitcase. It’s simpler to unpack when you come home. The laundry goes straight to the laundry room and the rest of the stuff takes very little time to unpack. Which brings me to the other point – always pack your stuff back neatly when travelling home instead of stuffing it higgledy piggledy. I find it saves me a lot of time when we reach home tired and sleepy with a full day of work and school the next day. Again, it really helps to travel by your own car because then you can just separate things into bags and stack them in the boot without worrying about how you’re going to get it all home.

2. Drive if possible, or take a train. Nothing like seeing each place as you pass, stopping to examine a big toadstool, getting off to eat hot fresh jalebis at a level crossing while waiting for a train to pass, splashing in a stream and collecting pebbles.  Don’t carry video games and laptops for the journey at least. Let the kids do what we did as kids – look out, play number plate games, count red cars followed by black jeeps, sleep, appreciate the silence, play antakshari and do some colouring. I hate to have them thinking that they need to be entertained. The journey is part of the holiday and they’re not doing us a favour by coming along. If they whine I offer to either offload them on a truck heading back to Delhi or ask if they would like to stay back in Delhi with the cook the next time we’re going on holiday. Admittedly I do carry some DVDs in case there is a problem. Case in point, a storm at Sariska where we were stuck in our tent for hours. No place to walk, nothing to do and the wind howling around us. We played for a while, read for a while and finally left them to watch some Madagascar while we read our books by the lamplight.

3.  No shopping for a hundred toys each time you pass a shop. I understand the excitement of a new place and let them pick up something small – as of now they think anything more than Rs 100 is very “inspensive” and so a plastic gun, a bunch of blocks, some rubber insects and they’re duly grateful for our largesse. I’ve told them that at least they are out having fun and so they must think of those who aren’t on holiday and so they get really excited about picking up gifts for those left home –  a shawl for M didi, the maid, leather boots are suggested for Baby Button and gently turned down. It’s really sweet to see them not go for a toy but pick up a spaghetti top for me and choose a shirt for their father – all sadly returned to the racks.

4. The idea is to sightsee and sights are what see, but within limits. I don’t pack the day with too much. And I don’t take them to places where they have to be quiet or careful. They’re too young to be forced into silence and fear of breaking something expensive.  If we see one temple/fort in the day, we spend the rest doing fun stuff with them, even if it is something simple like playing cricket/basketball in the hotel gardens. They pick one toy for familiarity, but more often than not they don’t even cast a look at it. I’ve often wondered why my kids had no comfort objects or transition toys. Clearly I am doing something wrong. No blankie, no teddie, nothing. Strange brats.

5. Eat local food. We love eating local food and the kids learn to eat whatever is offered. Maybe not much, just some plain roti and subzi but try it they will. Over the years they’ve learnt to try everything once. I am not one for getting into the hotel kitchen and requesting for sandwiches and pizzas – there is always some curd, rice, dal, roti available and if they don’t like the special local cuisine, they make up for it by eating the other familiar but available food. If they don’t, they are not allowed to go out and play. It always works. Parents with really young babies tend to take along maids to cook and feed the babies. But I find it more of a nuisance to drag along house help who would much rather take a break from duty and watch TV. I nursed the babies as long as I could and then fed them simple stuff available everywhere like boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, bananas, curd and rice. Zimble. At times like this I miss our firangi friends who are mostly pretty cool. On the other hand its so much easier to get highchairs and motels with toilets on the road abroad. Here I have to hope and pray that they don’t want to go potty once we set out because the toilets are filthy at stops.

6. Make friends. Travel is all about meeting people and we encourage them to make friends with other kids. The only rule I have is that they aren’t allowed into anybody else’s room unless I’ve carefully checked out the family. The last trip I allowed them into a little girl’s tent only after ascertaining that the only other person there was her mother, also sitting at the door like I was, reading a book. And here I have to say the new school has done them a world of good – they’re very inclusive. The Bean has become a bit of a mother hen – she walks up to shy children even older than herself and invites them to play.  It’s really rather sweet to see her hold their hands and coax them into a game of hide and seek or catch. The Brat is less proactive but has slowly grown into a strong, capable ringleader, holding his own when other more boisterous children feel nervous about taking the first step in a new place. I have to admit I feel rather tickled as I sit there watching the kids confidently invite other kids, make up a game, and in general display any degree of confidence. I often say I couldn’t care less if they become beach bums or engineers. I just want them to be happy and confident and good people. It’s a long road ahead and I might never know if it worked out that way.

7. Don’t fuss. If they fall asleep in their jeans or don’t brush their teeth one night, it’s not the end of the world. I am anal enough about it at home to ensure that they will not suffer by missing one day. By not sweating the small stuff I take a lot of pressure off myself as well as them. At one hotel the gardens were being watered and we played a game where we had to run under the sprinkler as it turned around, without getting wet. The kids had a blast and ended up getting quite soaked. One thing I never seem to have enough of, is changes of clothes! No matter what I do, we end up filthy. On the hills the kids end up puking. The last time I hopped out of the car really fast and rushed to open the door and let the Bean out. Too late – she threw up all over herself and down my pants. Not only did I wash her down on the highway, clean up the puke off the inside of the car (the Brat took one look at her and thew up too) but I also had to strip down to my smalls on the road and change into another pair of pants. If I thought delivering a baby lying pretty much naked on an operating table was the end of the indignity motherhood brought, I had another think coming.

8. Try and stop off and meet family/friends even if it is a little out of the way. Gone are the days when we had extended family holidays and got to meet everyone. Our kids are lucky to see their uncles and aunts once a year. So we ensure that we atleast have a meal or stay a night with someone we know. The kids get to see a different way of life – some places the ladies cover their heads, other places people take their slippers off at the door, some places we eat in steel thalis and although they are tiny details the kids soak them up and learn that people live differently and we have to follow the rules in their homes even if we don’t like it. This time the children who live in Delhi and never seem to have noticed turbans suddenly woke up to Sikhs in Punjab. “Why are they wearing that thing on their head, mama?” From there on to an explanation of religion and for the first time in 6 years I told my kids that their mother was a Christian and their father was a Hindu. They nodded vaguely and dismissed it – clearly we’re not as exciting as the “salwarjis” (the Bean’s cute mispronunciation – much cherished since she pretty much gets everything right these days) who are big and strong and have the best roads in the country.

9. Travel whenever you get the chance, regardless of the season. People thought we were mad for going to Sariska, Rajasthan in the heat. Hell, we thought we were mad too. But we ended up having a blast. Our safari was at 2.30 in the afternoon, open jeep, hot sun beating down on us, no sheltering trees – by 3.30 we were numb to the heat – I think our senses had died. By 5 it was cool and beautiful. By night we were using quilts. This was truly Rajasthan as we hear of it. The kids didn’t care about the heat and ran around all day in the sun, risking heat strokes and narrowly missing them I am sure. The off season times are better in resorts, you get more space, better service and more peace. The OA and I went to Kerala in the rains, against popular consensus and loved it. We went everywhere, got drenched and sneezed and dried off, but got to see the lush God’s own country at its most beautiful.

10. Don’t let a small hitch change your plans. I’ve gone on holiday with high fever, with a UTI and all sorts of other problems, simply because I didn’t know when we’d next get the chance. This last Dharamshala trip was jinxed. The Brat had fever and we were leaving on the third day of his fever. We took a calculated risk that the fever would come down by the third day and it did. He slept most of the way and took his medication on time, reaching the hotel fit and fever free and ready to bounce on the springy beds. We asked him if he was feeling too sick to travel and he shook his head and said he wanted to go on a holiday and see snow capped mountains. So we went. He’s come back apple cheeked from the mountain air. Two days before we left the OA was driving past some construction when he heard a blast. He turned around to see that our passenger window had shattered – no idea how. We sent the car in for servicing and it came back worse, jerking, shaking, shuddering to a halt. Frantically sent it in again – and it came back with the dashboard cracked open (wtf?!) and the music system giving an error. We got in and drove off anyway. On the way the fuel gauge packed up so we had to keep guessing our usage and topping up the tank. The charging point wasn’t working so no iPod, no charging our phones, nothing. But we soldiered on, managing with local radio and singing loudly when we were out of signal range. We came back and the car finally gave up the ghost when the OA was on his way to office yesterday. We were hopping mad at the garage but quite grateful that it laboured up to the hills and brought us home safely.

Okay enough gyan – here are some pics from both the trips.  Starting with the tents we stayed in at Sariska. Air conditioned so can’t really say we roughed it out. But the kids enjoyed the tents, constantly zipping themselves in and out and threatening to unzip and walk into the toilet when we went in. Pests!

*gasp* My kids playing the weirdest game of cricket ever. I have no idea who the Bean is bowling to. Neither does the Brat.

This picture tells you what it is like to be mother to the Bean. I was trying to get a picture of her sitting and balancing on the football. In the split second it took for me to click, she’d jumped off the ball and right out of my frame. Most exasperating.

She is incapable of sitting on her own butt or standing on her own legs. At any given point she is either clambering on to my lap or climbing on to her father’s back.

Refusing to get off even when he gets up to go someplace. Standing confident, the lithe little acrobat.

And on the other hand, my contemplative little Brat – collecting pods, pouring water and digging with his sturdy little fingers in an attempt to green the desert.

And now for the animals. I have to begin with the disclaimer – No, we didn’t see any tigers. But then I will go on to say, that I find a lot of people ruin their trip by setting it up as the tiger trip. It wasn’t for us. For us it was just the widlife trip and we were more than satisfied with the hundreds of sambar and bluebull that surrounded our jeep and nosed in. Similarly we didn’t set the kids up for disappointment by telling them we were on the hunt for a tiger. We told them we were going for a jungle ride and whatever came, would come. And this is just a fraction of what came..  The guide told us that unlike most other sanctuaries, this one has no real natural water bodies. The royalty built a number of watering holes for the animals. So kind of them, right?

Wrong. Because they built watch towers along side the watering holes and then bang! shot the poor thirsty animals. I don’t support shikaar, but this is positively the worst way I can imagine preying on animals.

I’ve never seen so many peacocks… Did you remember that the phrase for it is a muster or an ostentation of peacocks? The OA and I racked our brains and finally remembered it just in time to tell the kids!

And here’s an example of how close things were – this little bird came and sat on our jeep!

And now the pics from Dharamshala and McLeodganj. These are the rabbits at the hotel.

Followed by the ducks and the fish pond.

The Bean gets to watch the rabbits being bathed and then spends the morning watching over them as they dry so that a wild cat doesn’t get them, cuddling the younger ones who are petrified of the water and shivering.

This is view of the play area, swings to the left that I didn’t remember to take pictures of.

The beautiful, beautiful Norbulingka. I keep going back there. We had brunch there – waffles with honey and fruit. Whats not to like? The Bean threatened to drown a couple of times, but that aside, a wonderful time spent there.

Peaceful and serene. Even the Brat leaped over the little streams without a sound!

The OA keeps an eye on his daughter who began with sitting on the edge of the pond and then slowly climbed in when no one was noticing. At this point she is perched on the inner ledge and they are having a rather civilised conversation. I’d have simply pulled her out and shaken her up, if I hadn’t been so busy clicking pictures!

At the Bhagsunag Temple. The Bean is so tiny that the bell was too heavy for her to ring!

This is the swimming pool into which the water from the holy waterfall is collected so that devotees can have a dip. I was very impressed to see local swimmers practicing their laps in the freezing water, getting out and warming up and then plunging right back in.

The Bean wakes up to a view of the hills. She could get used to this life.

The OA helps the kids with their Easter eggs.

The Bean plunges into a stream with enthusiasm. We were driving by and it just called to us so we scrambled down the hillside and scraped our knees and hands but got there!

The family that prays together…

The Bean throws up all over her last pair of clean pants and goes home confidently in a pair of frilly bloomers… with Dr Seuss to keep her company. In case you’re wondering, that is a dupatta that I pushed into the window to act as a curtain and keep the sun off their faces.

This sign had us cracking up and I had to bring home a pic for you guys… Enjoy!

And finally, to the man who has spent the last eight years with a crazy woman, though thick and thin,  from pukey beds to stripping on highways to dancing under waterfalls to feverish kids to long drives, to empty pockets but never an empty promise, from crashed up cars to looking dashing at parties…thank you. Thank you for the best ride of my life. I have no idea where we’re heading to, but as the Bean says, This is a sooo fun trip!  This one goes out to you.

and this

and this..


115 thoughts on “Eight years come Easter

  1. WOW!!
    Loved the travel trips.Thanks a million!! I’ve been rather apprehensive of taking my twins for long trips, but I guess I can now just take the plunge 😀
    And yeah, belated Anniv wishes to you and the OA (also the kids, since they are an integral part of these last 8 years!)
    God Bless.

    • dude, you have twins. I can imagine its a hand full to suddenly be landed with. Takes a lot of time to realise that you can actually step out and do stuff. on the other hand, so much luckier than those who have the second one after a while and start the whole nappy business again. at least we’re all done with that 😉

  2. Belated Anniversary wishes MM!!! Much happiness to you and the OA 😀

    What a wonderful post. I thoroghly enjoyed reading about your trips. I have kids almost the same age and it is so much fun (and exasperation!) to see them grow up.

    May the fun life continue for ever 🙂

  3. Congratulations! Wishing you many more years of this warm togetherness! Loved the pictures of the bean-balancing, the many peacocks and the leaping-brat! Sure sounds like you guys had a fun trip!

    • really? did you miss the whining, the puking, the killing each other with a dupatta? (oh wait, that was on FB)
      geez, I’m convinced you’re reading some other blog and commenting on mine accidentally

      • MM, it is not about mentioning them (which you did) but about making them sound like the worst things to happen (which you can’t, since you are the low maintenance girl that the OA fell for).

        On the other note, seems like I am missing a lot of action on FB; how do I get in on that?

  4. Wish you many more years of togetherness. Your travelogue was a fun read. Hope you will share many more..:)

  5. Many Many Happy Wishes to you and OA on your Anniversary. Both the trips sound awesome and the pictures say it.

    As you said we like to do short trips too. In fact when the second one came we did a 3 day trip when he was 3 months old:)) And continue to do so every now and then. And we do the drives.

    Again 3 cheers to you and OA and heres wishing many many more Happy Anniversaries!!

    Love to kids


  6. Happy 8th Anniversary to you and OA…

    I too share the same anniversary date as yours… 6 years of togetherness 🙂

  7. Wow! The pics are just amazing and say it all. The jungle safari looks wonderful. I’m sure the kids didnt stop talking about it even after they came home 🙂

  8. Lot of car drama to make up for the lack of almost-missed-train drama…You are really mixing it up! Awesome!

  9. I have travelled with all people young and old.. and this line brought a lump to my throat..

    “We were driving by and it just called to us so we scrambled down the hillside and scraped our knees and hands but got there!

    I know how difficult it is to convince people to make stops at scenic places..

    God bless the Mad Family.. The kids would recount these times for years and years to come..

      • Ah! well that might be in their teens.. Then just tell urself that you will hear how they miss these trips in their late 20s..

      • MM, I was that child…like I’ve mentioned elsewhere, went to a school populated by lots of very rich folks, so resented the foreign holidays my friends took, and always thought my pedestrian visit-grandparents-and-other-places-in-India trips were boring – until I came here and went to Disneyworld…yes, I had outgrown the thrill of the mouse, but was able to enjoy the fun parts without getting sucked into the marketing (which is all pervading here) – and in retrospect, loved that I had the holidays I did as a child…and I really do believe that such trips build up a better foundation for future enjoyment than trips to amusement parks and the like. Most of the teens I know, who’ve had childhood experiences of simple trips seem to be better able to enjoy any holiday than ones brought up on a diet of manufactured entertainment….

  10. Happy Anniversary. Great feeling reading this post and aww…at the time and effort you and OA are putting in to take pleasure from small things.

  11. Happy anniversary to you both.

    You did miss out on one thing though ( you can’t blame us coz you are the one who has spoilt us..) on OA saying out to you on the wedding night ‘something to the lines of’ … ‘yeh kahan aa gaye ham yuhin saath saath chalte chalte.. hume milna hi tha janam……’

    come on.. we all do that.. people who spend anniversary with just the kids.. right? at night.. when finally they are sleeping and we are too tired to do *ahem* *ahem* anything but sleep ?

      • Veg to ho sakti hain..

        OK.. not forcing you.. but I call n=my wify ‘Montu Singh’.. dont ask me why or how.. it just kinda stuck on her.. and one night when it was or anniversary, and now we never cut cake ( it is always the kids, ours and my wife’s sis’s, ) we were lying down and I said to her.. ‘ Montu Bachhe.. kya kehta hei.. ek ladki India se god le lein?’
        and she goes abhi romantic mood mein ho.. jab subah potty saaf karoge aur doctor ke appointment ke liye chutti leni padgi tab rona shuru karoge.. sooch lo.. 🙂

        • 🙂 true. Veg ho sakti hai. and yes, I am the one who keeps telling the OA, lets have another. to which he always responds with – oh yeah? well you’re not the one who has to live with a crazy hormonal woman for 9 months.

  12. Happy Anniversary to you and the OA. Here is to many more years together!

    Oh, and I LOVED the picture of the Bean balancing on her Dad’s shoulders.

  13. At last some pics!!!!! Was waiting for this since a long time – especially to see Brat and Bean. So cute!!!!

    Oh and Happy Anniversary too!

  14. Happy Anniversary guys…Wishing you hundreds more and a lifetime of memories and happiness. The pics are lovely….man I wish I was ur ayah or something so I could tag along…

  15. Hi MM,
    Wishing you a happy anniversary and many more to come. I always make note of the wonderful places that you go and blog about hoping someday we would go there.

  16. A few travel trips from a mom who has travelled 50,000 km with a five year old 🙂
    Next time you travel around with kids, try carrying a bottle of Domstal or Vomistop. Put 5 ml before you board ur train/bus/car/plane/personal aircraft. If they fall travel sick in three or four hours, you can repeat the dosage. It is safe, has no side-effects and really helps them to enjoy the trip without hassles. I have already checked it with a family doctor and she recommends it. And do carry sturdy polythenes – keep it in the dashboard box and use it when they scream, ‘Mom, it’s coming’. Also carry a packet of noodles with you. When you find it tough to feed them, any chaiwallah also will help you with hot water for two minutes to make it. Don’t forget to carry a simple si vessel for that. U can also carry a squeeze jam (which looks like a toothpaste tube) and let them make their own sandwiches with their initials on it. Pick up a packet of bread on the way. They enjoy making it and polishing it off. U can pick toys such as Doodle Pro (on which u can draw endlessly and rub it off) and snake and ladder/ludo/chess. It is fun to play in the backseat of the car. Give each of them a small backpack – with their fave cartoon, a small reading book, sunglasses, cap, a snackbox with cookies/moong dal and a non-spill sipper. They don’t have to keep asking you for a snack, water or ‘mom, its hot where is my cap”. Teaches them to be independent and responsible as well. Kids who do not come back to momma for everything will win a Cornetto after dinner.

    • Some great tips here, thanks!
      I too have carried domstal but on the contrary the doc here said not to give unless its a crisis, so i let the poor brats throw up once at least before i give it. i’m a little slow to medicate and usually prefer home remedies. do you have any of those?
      tried the polythenes. NEITHER of them give adequate warning. so frustrating. the Bean tries, but the Brat refuses to warn.
      yes, i carry maggi and jam 🙂
      they had doodle pros but somehow neither of them is interested in it. its lying at the bottom of the toy basket, rather neglected.
      did the backpack thing – my Nani used to do that for my brother and I. but these two, as I think I’ve remarked somewhere before, have no sense of ownership. I’ve carried backpacks many times and ended up lugging them myself because these two show no interest in it after the initial packing.

      • My older one throws up at the sight of anything unpleasent. Evem my Ped advised me against emset or Domstol unless absolutely necessary. I normally carry sour candies, i don’t know the brand but the yellow, pink hard bolied ones wrapped in clear plastic. Also try frutella it’s basically a chewy candy which works for my son.. I have seen my SIL lick on lime with a little salt on it when she feels squeamish while travelling.

        Last but not the least Wishing you and the OA a very happy anniversary and many more to come.

        • yeah, we do the candy thing too. i dont go the domstal route simply because we’re in our own car and the worst it means is a little accident and a slightly smelly car. sigh. how much longer is this going to last? I have a cast iron stomach and a will to match it so I have never felt this way and I feel quite sad that the kids are world class pukers.

          • I am personally a victim of travel sickness and have been puking my guts out whenever I have travelled in all these 30 years (without the magic pill). My mom used to give me the pill even when I was just six (in those days it was in small tablet form which I had to shove it down my gullet). Now, you get it as a sweetened syrup. I have used and have turned out to be a physically and emotionally healthy person – i swear. On an another note, doctors try to sound over cool by asking to avoid medication. Otherwise they are considered as those new age doctors who have tie-ups with pharmacy chains!! I think if you have a problem, it must be resolved – with or without medication. I have had stomach ache lasting for four to six days after one overnighter on a Bangalore-Chennai bus. So I can tell you it is much worse than popping a pill and see how it works. In most cases, when medicines don’t go well, they usually show up reactions. So as a mother, a victim of travel sickness and still a mad traveller, I urge you to try out the medicine. PS: I have no tie-ups with pharmacy chains. I know for a fact that none of those home remedies – going on full stomach or going on empty stomach, smelling a lemon, eating supari, blowing air into an airbag, twisting your Dad’s moustache or filing your mom’s nails when you travel can fix travel sickness. It is a simple lack of balance in your ear and a pill keeps it in place. You can always count on the placebo effect as well. Try it out on your next zany trip to the Golden Quadrilateral (that is one trip you must do) and let me know your feedback. I sympathize with the kiddos and can understand what they must be going through. One cannot even eat properly when you are reminded of the prospect of a full-blown puke session ending up with foul smelling clothes, filthy car seats and a painful intestine.

            • LOL! are you sure pulling dad’s moustache doesn’t work? because I could make him grow one just to test that theory. No, I am not one of those crazy earth huggers either. I just avoid it because they’re not too bad. One puke and they’re set for the next 12 hours and pretty much bouncing off the car ceilings. Which is why I have the Domstal with me in any case. I think its also a mental block – i refuse to take medication unless I am dying. Case in point – after my csec, I refused all painkillers and lay there suffering because I am idiotic like that.
              They say these things are hereditary and the OA gets major travel sickness if he isn’t driving which is one reason we can never take a driver – else I will have three pukers to clean up. Biggest lesson learnt – next time I get married I’m going to have motion sickness also listed on my list to ensure that I dont marry a puker!

          • Talk about it..my older on used to puke every time the lil fellow pooped or needed a nappy change. so after my second one for almost a year i have cleaned poop and vomit simultanelusly. But trust me it gets better as they grow. Not that they have stopped completely but the frequency has reduced. 🙂 so there is defenitely light at the end of the tunnel..or so i tell myself everyday.

            • Hey Madmomma!! This is me, your stalker from Singapore. Came to your blog a couple of years go and never left (I check in EVERY single day). Me the shy one, never commented but today had to chip in.

              Old enough, yet travel sickness always and always strikes.I hate medication and no home remedies worked – till- – drum rolls please – – I found these wrist bands which one wears to prevent sickness. Now I put it on and magically nothing happens. Serious, it’s magic (and accupressure). Thought this would wonderful for the kids and u. Should find in most travel stores.

  17. Happy Anniversary MM! And the OA too. This sounds so wonderful! Its lovely that the brat and the bean are learning to rough it out and be normal human beings, unlike so many other kids these days that just end up being spoilt all along the way. And then when they turn into bratty teenagers that dont want to go anywhere with their families, dont want to do what everybody else is doing, and fuss and crib..we wonder why?!

  18. oh MM, Happy Happy Anniversary wishes and blessings to you and OA. Infact, Happy Birthday Mad family!

    25th is my Birthday.

    Where are you trip ing next week to celebrate Brat’s Bday..
    here to taureans Brat!

  19. I agree with the hard beds being good for your back. I am on a trip for work and I always wake up with a back ache when I sleep on those supposedly “extra soft for comfort” beds. Give me a hard bed anytime.

  20. belated wishes for a very happy anniversary. MM i must admit – reading your blog increased my baby fever almost a hundred fold. it’s so good to read of the fun you have with your kids. specially after reading something like this http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201104/no-baby-boom-non-breeders#ixzz1KBIX3VK5
    everyone knows having kids is tough. i know how much i struggled when anna was born and am still struggling. but it’s good to see someone put into words so beautifully how good life after kids can be.

    • i just read the piece. they are right. having kids is expensive and always has been. its not something new the story says. but that is precisely why we choose to have inexpensive holidays and dont throw massive birthday parties …. there’s no doubt we’d have a lot of money if we had no kids and i were working full time. but the satisfaction is something they cant put a price on for me.

  21. Congratulations on completing 8 years of happy married life! This was a refreshing post, talking about our trips to the hills, and with useful tips on traveling with kids. Thanks!

  22. Hi MM, first time to your blog and absolutely loved it. such an honesty in the writing, i am glad there are parents like you who let kids learn with a little scratched kneee and nurse it with love.
    though its just the two of us now, i am sure when we get to 3, this blog of yours will be very very regularly read.
    wishing you many more miles of fun love and togetherness..Happy Anniversary

  23. Wishing u and the OA many more years of happy togetherness :)and ur trip sounds super.. 🙂

    bean looks very grown up..

  24. Wow. And people think I am crazy for travelling so much with kids. Made two holiday trips with my 3 yr old son and few months old daughter. Well… they were a bit of distaster (D caught viral on the start of trip and passed it on to her bro which ended only on the day of return). 2nd one, we fell sick.
    That scared us a bit and we’ve been quiet for a few months. But now I can sense a growing restlessness in both of us. You are right, I noticed the long weekends in the beginning of the year too 😉 Can’t get myself to waste them 😀

  25. Congrats too you, OA and the brats MM….this is how i’d wish holidays to be when I have kids…
    We went for a wedding in FEB to b’lore and travelled along with some cousins…one couple with their 2 .5 yr old son went berserk …when the little guy held a train, held a human…whatever….and washed every utensil and spoon the boy uses with mineral water…It was such a put off….and yes they dont encourage anybody holding the boy( even family) and if you are lucky enough to hold him ….then you need to sanitise your hands…yes everytime….
    but the parents were so tired by the end of the journey that they kept pushing the kid to spend time with uncles and aunts …but the kid wouldn’t…..all in a all….a big mess….I feel sad for the Kid..very sad…

  26. Happy Anniversary MM!
    May you have many more happy years of togetherness… May your life be filled with love, warmth, fun & people always…

    Enjoyed reading about your travels and the joy u find in the small things. What would life be without them? How do we spread this ethos of the mad family and make people enjoy the simple pleasures in life…

  27. hey, how is club mahindra ? I haven’t known anybody who is a member …but been wanting to know information….is this a lifetime membership? and is it economical ?

  28. Congratulations, both of you. Here’s to many, many more.
    You are two of the warmest, generous people I know. No wonder you made such gorgeous babies. 🙂

  29. Don’t tell me that all of Delhi was in McLeodgunj this weekend? I was there too. 🙂
    Did you guys go up to Naddi? I walked there with a friend and was rewarded by the snow capped Himalayas which looked close enough to touch.
    Also, I could sing songs about the fantastic food I had there. This place called Tibet Kitchen served the most awesome pork ever. 😀

    Damn, it would’ve been fun if I had run into the mad family. 😛

  30. Happy Anniversary to both of you 🙂
    I think your tips is what I am going to try out in a few months time… we love travelling and don’t want to give it up out of fear. I want to get accustomed to it..

  31. happy anniv! 8th anniv in april for us too! love traveling; kindred spirits: we love driving with kids & besides weekend drives, have done several crazy ones including mumbai to manali with lovely stops in gujarat, rajasthan, delhi punjab along the way; coast trips thro goa, ktka , kerala etc.

    wish you guys great adventures!

  32. Wish you both a Very Very Happy Wedding Anniversary and countless years of joy, togetherness and madness!

    Hmm..u do add trouble to ur travels and make them seem like so much fun so effortlessly…train,car,bus…wotever be the mode of transport. Have the kids been on a plane as yet?

  33. Happy Anniversary!
    Your lovely post brought back a lot of memories of childhood trips to places near and far in the good ol’ premier padmini days! Bench seats to fall asleep on, boiled eggs, bread, butter and chutney packed for breakfast, stopping at roadside eateries for lunch and just getting out and exploring the country! Best times of my life and I am sure Brat and Bean will have the same to say when they understand the value in family trips!

  34. Happy Anniversary MM. Did I tell you, I had twins too? Boys – 6 months old now:) More than your travel tips, your post has made me get back to ‘Return to India’ thinking mode. Poor husband. But seriously, I think we will have so much fun at home with the boys than here where we have limited number of holidays and having to take flights to places that too, unavoidable peak seasons.Rant, rant, rant.

    You have lovely brats and I am going to miss having a daughter.

    • Twin boys… 🙂 congratulations. You should make sure you read itchy’s blog to follow her twin tales.
      And there, there… don’t get so upset. You’re seeing a different way of life and that too is beautiful. Your kids will have the advantage of seeing that and this when you do decide to return. Until, enjoy what you have there and don’t miss the pot-holed roads 😉

      • Thank you MM. I read her blog too. It goes like this: I read some of your blogs (yours, artnavy, some of my other friends) and imagine how it would be if we were in India too, get influenced a lot, and try to influence my husband. But definitely, this is not “Grass is always greener on the other”. Home is HOME. Atleast to me. I think I will keep living life in India through your posts. Keep them coming.:)

  35. Happy Anniversary to you and the OA!!!!! I finally took the plunge with my two brats-a 3 year old and an 18 month old and drove down to Chennai from Blore! It was simply fab with none of the nightmares i had the night before… Good food and music… that’s all it took!!! Ofcourse with my 18 month daughter, i also had to keep playing with her to keep her occupied!! Driving back end of the month! 🙂

  36. Heres wishing you guys years and years of mad fun ahead…trips, parks, melas, gardening, reading,chotey nana who is pure fun and nani’s chicken and parathas, trains alost missed, trips to A’bad, g’pa and baby button’s much awaited arrival,crazy maids who smoke beedis and sexy saree blouses, toxic colleagues and mohit chauhan’s voice, music and reunions, ex-boyfriends and OA’s dreams of doing his own thing, bean’s fire and brat’s earthiness, baby showers and cousin K’s art, busted knees and raghu’s concert in open air lawns, in-laws we dont need and older grand-in-laws we love….All this and so much more MM. May you have it all!


  37. Belated Happy wala anniversary! Even me and hubby were off on 25th, somewhere in the hills at a club mahindra resort!
    The kids are surely growing fast! Bless ’em!

  38. A very belated happy anniversary to you, MM & OA. Reading about your enticing trip makes me want to hop in the car & go someplace with my hubby & daughter too 🙂


  39. bahut bahut mubarak ho…and thankyou for the gyaan, i should travel more with the toddler no? i think you have encouraged me to get out of the house on my own a bit.

  40. Belated happy anniversary! Sounds like you had a fun fun time 🙂
    We ended up taking our first long trip when Nikki was just 10 weeks old, it was kind of forced down our throats and I was petrified but managed to make it thanks to the ever intrepid husband, and we ended up having a blast! And it just gave us the confidence to travel with a baby and set the pace for many more wonderful trips.
    Love the ‘nod to tradition with Easter eggs’ bit and ‘salwarjis’ 🙂

  41. Congrats to both you and OA! Dekhte dekhte kitne saall beet gaye! Wishing you both and your little ones a very happy life!

    • Was just talking to someone last night when I mentioned the long rides home and how he’d drop us all of on the way back so I didn’t even feel that I was getting any special treatment. I remember the pink saree you wore on your 26th birthday ..

  42. It’s obvious all of you are loving the journey, and what more could one ask for? Holidays, trips, puke or no puke, may there be more in your lives of everything that makes you happy, that makes you what you are.

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