Ek glassy, do glassy…

I’ve spent a good number of hours thinking about the lead in to this post, stuck in traffic for a good 4-5 hours as I was. I came up with 53 brilliant ideas and forgot all by the time I got home at 4 am. Let me share my FB status with you for an idea of what it was like – “One smashed passenger window, a glass shattering in the Bean’s mouth, one landslide, two 4 hour traffic jams, 2 puke sessions in the car, all-nighter-drives, a cloudburst and yet we had a glorious holiday. Let’s do this again, OA!!” Sorry about the spoilers, but lets go ahead and do this in bullet points like we do holiday posts. There is way too much action to do it any other way.

  • Travelling out of Delhi on the Independence Day weekend is a bad idea. Always. We do short weekend getaways all the time and it works because most people are home celebrating festivals. Since the OA and I are not bothered, we’re out, be it Holi, Easter or Eid. But this is one weekend that the whole city heads out and we spent almost 6 hours getting on to the Chandigarh highway. We kept getting FM signal far down the road and even at 11pm we heard the RJ interviewing people stuck on the Azadpur flyover for over 2 hours.
  • You know you’re in trouble when your child pukes all over the backseat before you’re even out of Delhi. Yes, the Brat was in fine form. But the OA and I are experts at this now. Newspaper on the ready, extra set of clothes, sanitiser, wet wipes – all we need is an empty bottle and we get water from somewhere close by, wash him down, strip, powder and change him on the road. All set to get back on the road. The Bean neatly threw up only in the hills once, straight out of the window. Phew. No need for lather, rinse, repeat. A bachelor colleague of the OA’s wanted a ride to Shimla and I was afraid we’d scared the poor man off marriage and procreation. But we had a lovely time chatting with him, he gave the OA a break with the driving and I sat in the backseat for the first time in 8 years. In ten minutes the kids were all over him and the Bean taught him to play Pat-a-Cake.
  • The radio signal ran out and we forgot the darn iPod so no music except for scratchy old CDs. The trip got an extra 4 hours added on to it thanks to the traffic jams crowds heading in the same direction – would you believe we even bumper-to-bumpered it up the hills? By 2am we were all drooping. By 4am by brain was foggier than the mist outside. So what music do you guys listen to on long drives to stay awake? Reccos requested.
  • The Bean spent the first half hour talking on her plastic toy phone and had me in splits – To her best friend – ‘Oh you know my kids, OA and MM, they’re giving me a headache.’ To her fake boss – ‘blah blah blah … and DON’T you call me again on my holiday.’ And finally, a fake flight announcement – ‘Close your tray tables, put off your phones, keep your hands inside the windows for safety and shut your mouth. Have a good flight.’
  • This holiday was taken over by the kids. We had so many plans that were summarily dismissed with a – “You go do that, we’re playing here with our friends.” And so they made loads of friends as usual (initiated by Brat, taken over by Bean). So the OA and I made the most of it by sitting in the lounge with our books and cups of steaming tea and coffee while the kids ran from room to room, to the play area to the *phew* I don’t know and enjoyed themselves. There was a general sense of retirement that I refused to acknowledge at that time!
  • I often whine about the sad state of kids these days, unruly and ill mannered. And so its only fair that I point out when I meet exemplary kids. We met a 9-10 year old and one who was a year older I think. I have no idea why but they took the kids under their wing and I didn’t need to worry thereafter. Disclaimer – neither wished us good morning :p but they were genuinely good kids. Calm, polite, helpful, gentle. I see a lot of kids from Delhi’s famed ‘good schools’ who wouldn’t bother with a younger kid but it started with one of them helping the Brat or Bean and continuing to do so. They played hide and seek, read them books, helped them with their jackets, reminded them to wash their hands and even lifted the Bean up to reach the sink. I think what I loved about them was the humility, the compassion and the absolute lack of any airs. No playing games on phones and tablets, no pocket video game nonsense. And very responsible. Constantly informing us – Aunty, we’re going to room #107 now, we’re on the swings now, we’re going for lunch, should we feed them too? And each time I worried about the kids imposing and brought them away, they’d come back in a while, ready to entertain them again. I met their parents later and complimented them on their fantastic kids and really hope that my kids grow up to be as good. Heck, I’ll even settle for half as good and responsible.
  • Our kids are seasoned travellers now. They’ve learnt to hover over toilet seats in dirty bathrooms, squat in the middle of the jungle, sit quietly and suffer if we’re stuck in a traffic jam, share the music system with us although the Brat does whine if the music gets too slow. “Doesn’t anyone listen to any rock music here?” he growls. They eat at any odd hour, anything you feed them, be it a packet of  chips or parathas and dahi. The OA glared at them for a squeak from the back seat and I asked him to pick one other kid he’d rather travel with. He shut up. And stingy with praise though he is, gruffly admitted, ‘They’re good kids.’ Ah, thank you God, I am so eternally grateful that the OA thinks his kids are okay. We carried the iPad (ah ha!) and lots of books and crayons, but they touched neither, and just looked out and chatted.
  • They’ve finally begun to have turf issues. Don’t sit at my window, this is my half of the seat, hey, that’s my straw and Mama, she’s taken my ratty bit of string/paper/grass/breathed in my air. While its annoying, its good to see them becoming normal siblings as opposed to saints who show Tambi and me up as awful brats. On the other hand, Raksha Bandhan was dispensed with quickly with tying each other rakhis and eating gummy bears. After which they did something that truly exemplified the meaning of the day – The Bean was as usual done with lunch about 50% before I thought she should be. I had just begun to tell her what I thought of that when the Brat jumped in and made little houses and fed her each morsel painstakingly. Yes, this Raksha Bandhan he protected his sister from his parents’ wrath by feeding her lunch. The Bean’s rakhi learning from school: She came  back with a thaali full of handmade rakhis and this understanding of the festival – “Dada can tie for you, you can tie for me and I will tie for the goldfish.” Err.. okay.
  • They also got up one morning and very helpfully brushed, pottied and then settled down in front of a picture window with a packet of biscuits, talking in whispers so as to not disturb the OA and me. I got up and captured what I think is my favourite picture of them. It was an unbelievably sweet gesture to think of letting us sleep in. I did have to get up when I heard the Bean finish her big job and say – Brat, I can’t wash my bum, will you wash it for me? The Brat who has barely made it past the squeamishness of his own bum was silent for a second. I heard that, crawled out of bed, did the job and groggily crawled back in.
  • We barely stepped out of the hotel this time and this trip was full of a lot of quiet moments. Looking out at the rain while eating breakfast, the Bean carefully moisturising and then pressing my feet, the Brat trying to make tea for the OA and I.
  • You know how I always say the OA is a great dancer, fantastic driver, very sporty, boxer, was a good student, great husband, best father, charming, good looking, good natured etc? Well I have just realised two areas in which he is an absolute and utter failure – He can’t tell a joke to save his life and he takes shitty pictures. I made the mistake of giving him the camera to handle, so barring a few pics on my phone, we don’t have much else to show. Those he took are dark/blurry or then I look humongous or else short. (Although his argument is that I am short and stout and it’s not fair to blame the camera – see what I said about the shitty sense of humour?) Next time, I will keep the camera.
  • We had lunch one day at the Oberoi Cecil and I was suddenly glad that we weren’t staying there, beautiful though it is. The kids were playing hide and seek in the lounge. No, they weren’t noisy, but you could hear their feet thumping on the wooden floors and the staff came and asked them to stop. It’s at times like these that I am glad we have the option of a more family friendly hotel. The Oberoi’s Wildflower Hall, Mashobra for instance, has a rule – no kids below 12. They claim its for safety reasons, but its rather obvious they don’t want the noise. I wish they’d have the balls to admit it publicly and deal with the criticism. While I don’t like folks who whine about kids making a noise in airplanes, I understand a hotel wanting to keep a certain mood. I’d personally not give them my business because I have no time for places that discriminate against any age/type/community but I can see that they’d have a lot of takers for that sort of thing.
  • The Bean created a new record in table accidents – she is known to knock over a glass/spill her food/ drop pickle in the orange juice jug/blah blah. This time she bit through her glass in excitement (while looking at monkeys outside the restaurant window) and it shattered in her mouth. There was a split second of – Oh Christ, now she’s done it. Only to realise she was fine. She kept apologising profusely  to me, the F&B manager who came running, the waiters, everyone. It was only after I could breathe normally that I told her it was okay and we knew it was an accident. I think she was in shock too.
  • The morning we were checking out, we used the hotel’s car wash facility. Someone from housekeeping came back twenty minutes later – Ma’am, do you have the spare keys? F**K!!! We rush out and try every trick in the book, including removing beading and slipping in coat hangers etc. Just then the heavens poured forth and we rushed back in, me to deal with the settling of the bill, the OA to check on the kids. We come back out to find the window smashed open. Apparently some driver hanging around in the parking lot suggested they just smash the window. And there we are, the clouds flooding the area, the mist swirling around us and cloaking everything, the rain soaking us to the bone and no window to our car. It was also Independence Day and there was no one available to repair the windowpane. Oh, the helpful driver took to his heels once he realised that some stranger’s window had been smashed on his suggestion. We finally taped the windown up with plastic and cardboard and began the drive home, at 3.30pm. Already too late to get home at any decent hour. The hotel management already heard from me on the phone and will be getting a strongly worded letter soon. Yes, this is where the title of the post comes from – the second broken glass on the holiday.
  • I did suggest to the OA that we stay on one night and leave in the daytime but these are the times when my stubborn (see where the Brat gets it from?) and very conscientious husband makes me want to smack him. This was one of them. A little way up, we were lost thanks to an Independence Day diversion. Further up after an hour of bumper to bumper we were told there was a landslide and a 5km traffic jam – we could see it winding along the hill ahead of us. A cab driver who was ahead, turned around saying he knew another route. We followed him. An hour later he said he was going back to the hillstation as his passengers didn’t want to go that route in the dark. We and a bunch of others who had followed him plowed on bravely. By now it was pitch dark, raining miserably, and we were on dirt tracks. At one point we realised we were well and truly lost when the guy leading us stopped, hopped out and asked us if any of us knew where the hell to go from here. In front of him was a sign saying – Vehicles not allowed beyond this point. We were lost in some military area. We reversed through the slush in single file, so narrow was the road, me walking through the filth and guiding the OA while the rest followed. The kids sat quietly through this all. We forgot they were there, shielded from the elements by a fluttering bit of tarpaulin and huddled under a blanket. At each stop I begged the OA to change his mind and stop at a hotel and get some rest. He refused. And we just got further into trouble. A 2-hour truck caused traffic jam, another wrong turn in the dark. After a point it became a bit of a challenge to him – he was going to get his family home if it killed him. Men. Gah.
  • I fell in love with my son anew. He’s just plain lovable. He wanted to do his math homework on vacation – and he did it. (Dear God, I offer him all the joy in the world and he wants to do math and end up like either his banker father or engineer uncle?!!). Quiet through most of the trip he’d just speak up once in a while with a lovely thought – looking down from the hills at Parwanoo in the dark, the lights twinkling, he said, “Look mama, they look like fallen stars.”  I also shook my head in sorrow and figured that the man who falls for my daughter will have to be twice the man the OA is, to deal with her. The OA agrees.
  • In case you’re thinking we’re off holidays, we’re going for another one – soon.

A watercooler on the table at a dhaba. Desi ingenuity at its best. Now stop calling the waiters for a refill, every 20 minutes!

Watching the sun come up over the mountains while their parents sleep. And stuffing their faces with biscuits. "Look at the cotton puff clouds, mama" said the Bean

The breakfast table view. Sigh.

Frantic efforts to seal the window before we began the long rainy drive back home.


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85 thoughts on “Ek glassy, do glassy…

  1. I have two sick kids, one busy husband, and shoulders that have swollen tendons and a maid who thinks her hiccups are more important than our meal. This is the most I can handle. That holiday would be my death. 😛

    Bean bit through her glass!!!

    • ROFL! We have sick kids on holiday all the time. The last Dharamshala holiday the Brat was sick till we left, I think. don’t worry – they all get better once you get there!

  2. I love your holiday posts. 🙂

    The Bean bit through her glass and it shattered in her mouth?? I suppose she didn’t hurt herself or you would have mentioned it. I can’t imagine how she escaped though. That was very, very lucky.

  3. That was really adventurous!And u better keep the camera to yourself.U take lovely Pictures.We would have loved to see more.And kudos to your patience .i would have cribbed and shouted at my husband for driving in such insane cconditions

      • Love that saying, will remember to mouth it to P1 in the right circumstances! The husband looses it in such situations. He cannot concentrate on traffic and conversation at the same time. In such cases, I try to take over the wheel. I get frustrated but I can keep my cool, and take us through the journey without much emotional atyachaar.

  4. Beans fake announcement…ha ha ha!! waise she is damn right..they should have “shut you mouths” included in flight announcements.
    The thing about OA that he can’t joke or take good pics…super funny!
    We listen to bhangra and remixes if we are on a long drive. I figured bhangra is good for workouts too. A friend of my husband’s takes with him a box of wasabi peas to keep him awake!

  5. We take our 3 boys (7, 4 and 9 months 🙂 on long drives too..You asked for some good music suggestions..here is our playlist for road trips: equally good for adults and kids to hum along:
    Jackson Five: ABC
    Feist: 1234
    R.E.M./Kate Pierson: Shiny Happy People
    Jack Johnson: Banana Pancakes
    Peter, Bjorn, and John:young Folks
    Billy Idol: Dancing With Myself
    Manu Chao: Me Gustas Tu
    Iggy Pop;Lust for Life
    Police: De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
    Simon and Garfunkel: Me and Julio
    Harry Chapin: Circle
    Dar Williams: Better Things
    David Bowie and Mick Jagger: Dancin’ In the Street
    The Pretenders: Brass in Pocket
    Beach Boys: Wouldn’t It Be Nice (anything by the beach boys makes for good summer time road trip music)

  6. What a hoilday MM. I was horrified when I read that Bean bit through her glass, how did she manage to do that? I am glad she is fine though. That pic of Bean and Brat sitting by the window is simply precious.
    @Bean’s fake flight announcement – keep your hands inside the window and shut your mouth — I will keep this in mind as I am going to make a trip to India this week.

  7. Tell me something, how do you always seem to have so much of adventure in each of your trips? In goa, it was the thunder, here it is the shattered window. I am sure you dont need any kind of trekking, bungee jumping and the kinds in the name of adventure trips. 🙂

    Glad to know the Bean is fine after almost biting through the glass. Poor girl would have been so scared.

  8. and oh we had shuba mudgal on a loop in coorg – ‘ab ke saawan’ with lush green all around, light drizzle and clouds drifting across the roads..

  9. You do live up to your name ,don’t you?A truly “MAD” family & that’s what draws us to your blog, repeatedly:)The positivity & the ability to see the fun side in the worst of situations.I would have been a nervous wreck.The kids at the window, priceless picture!There was a protective glass/grill or something , I hope.Just a mother’s instinctive reaction that popped out .We look forward to more such rocking adventures.

    • No.. no protective grill. Didn’t even think of it till you mentioned it. But its not a window, its just a pane. Actually now that you mention it, we live on the 13th floor and I think I’m just used to them being careful. I was terrified when we moved here last year, but like all kids, they picked up and learnt to be careful

      • Glad to hear that.At first glance, it looked like they were sitting at a window ledge with their legs hanging out.Due to my daughter’s extra inquisitiveness & daredevilry, I had to fit grills on the windows at home although I hate being closed in.And we’re only on the 2nd floor:)

        • Yikes! Does it? No no… don’t worry at all. It’s a huge picture window/pane and they’re securely locked in, sitting on a table and looking out 🙂
          We don’t have any grills in this house but the windows are always locked and even the OA needs a stool to climb up and open them.

  10. you are murphy’s favourite child. but the way you handle things is just so awesome.
    when i was a kid, one of my friends used to regularly bite glasses. mom tried giving her steel glasses but she refused. i don’t remember what mom did after that.
    love the window pic. your kids can be poster children for sibling love.

    • I don’t have any steel glasses, but I do have some plastic glasses at home. I use them for the kids so that they are capable of going and getting their own water without one of us hovering over anxiously. But they are used to glass tumblers outside the house and I can’t believe she did something so scary !

  11. I have one medal, not sure who it needs to go to You, OA or the kids.
    God! your trips are never short of adventures. I don’t think me or my better half would have gone through this so sportively. Three cheers to the mad family.

    The Bean bit through the glass…was the glass flimsy or her teeth super strong 🙂 ??

  12. Wow! Just when you would think that after breaking glass twice we are done!! Landslides and losing way at night on a hilly path… sounds like an adventure holiday 🙂
    We listen to a mix of slow, senti and fast songs on trips. Some of them are –
    1) Amplifier by Imran Khan
    2) Jiya dhadak dhadak from Kalyug
    3) Tune jo na kaha from New York
    4) Wake up Sid from the movie of the same name
    5) Aas Paas Hai Khuda from Anjaana Anjaani
    6) Punjabiyan di shaan – Hans Raj hans – I do love these traditional-mixed-with-modern punju nbrs
    7) I wish by Victoria Beckham
    8) Independence Day by Melanie C – the lyrics are beautiful!
    9) Darshan by B21
    10) Tu Bole, Main Boloon from Jaane Tu ya Jaane Naa
    11) Mitwa from KANK
    12) Sweet child of mine – Guns n Roses
    13) River of dreams – Billy Joel – one more lovely song
    14) That thing you do – The Wonders (from the OST of the movie That thing you do)
    15) Living Next door to Alice – Smokie
    16) MMM Bop – Hanson
    17) Blue (Da Ba dee) – Eiffel 65
    18) And my all time fav – Annie’s song by John Denver
    Oops! Long list. Hope that helps 🙂 Here’s to many more trips!!

  13. MM, bean and brat are so similar to my kids( my son is 6 and daughter 4).
    “Our kids are seasoned travellers now. They’ve learnt to hover over toilet seats in dirty bathrooms, squat in the middle of the jungle, sit quietly and suffer if we’re stuck in a traffic jam, share the music system with us although the Brat does whine if the music gets too slow. “Doesn’t anyone listen to any rock music here?” he growls. They eat at any odd hour, anything you feed them, be it a packet of chips or parathas and dahi” muaahhhhhh ….the same holds true for my kids too:-). Its fun traveling with them.

  14. Awesome,awesome post with details 🙂 I LOVED it 🙂
    Especially the part about the Bean talking to her “best friend”.
    Was oh-so-cute !
    PS:Sent you an email sometime last week,MM-just wondering if you got the time to read it? (*asks with pavam-looking-face*)

  15. hey what is this post about kangiii? Guess it was before I started reading your blog. Tried googling for it, but did not find anything. Can you please re-post it, as a lot of people seem to love it?

  16. We are off on a 1 week vacation with my 6 year old and my 2 year old :)), reading this post made me feel happy! Your kids are so in tune with you and OA, they are seasoned travellers and so low maintenance!! My older one is like that, I have to wait and see if m brat is like that. This is his first ever longg vacation!

    • oh! all the best and take care. I am sure even the little one will be a good traveller. i think kids take their cues from parents. If you don’t fuss, they won’t either.

  17. OMG at the glass breaking inside Bean’s mouth. Glad to hear that she didnt get hurt.
    Think of the number of stories u will have to tell her kids someday!!!

    Loved the action filled trip and the fun amidst the chaos… Kudos to your positive attitude!!!

  18. 🙂 I love your holiday posts! LOVE the Brat and Bean! I wish I can meet them before they grow up.

    But helllllo! How can someone just smash through your window?!!! WTH!
    I hope they’re fixing the window for you.

  19. Bad holiday stories if nothing else makes you stronger and make for funny stories. Aww…just love Bean talking on the phone. So adorable. I love how you guys take quick holidays. I should really follow suit and not stress so much about planning.

    The picture of the car window brought back so many memories, my parent’s car window got jammed up this one time we were driving from Calcutta to Sikkim and we had to put blankets on the window to keep the cold and rain out. It was pretty bad but all I remember is laughing and thinking what a huge adventure this is 🙂

    • 🙂 Indians are always so good with jugaad, no?! On sunny days I roll up the window with a dupatta tucked into the top. We look like idiots but I don’t care, its better than the UV exposure we’d get otherwise.

  20. Can I take vacations with you 😛 .. please please.. I love how u do not let anything ruin your happiness in the vacation.. that is my kind of vacation..

  21. oo.. the window picture! If I had opened my eyes to a sight with my 6 yr old son and 2 yr old daughter sitting like that on a window ledge, i would have been completely terrified !!

    would probably have grabbed a kid in each hand, got my bearings back, and after telling them to be verry careful, would have repositioned them in the same place for a “posed” snap, and THEN taken the same snap !! hahahha 🙂

  22. Wow hats off to you!

    We have one baby who cries as soon as we strap him in the car. We are so scared of taking him out that the whole summer’s gone by without us having seen a third adult! We should take lessons from you guys!

      • How come those American kids sleep in theirs then? My American friend days her 12 week old sleeps by himself, PUTS HIMSELF to sleep and stays asleep ALL NIGHT! My almost 5 month old still wakes up at night for the boob 😉

  23. Delhi has an awesome location for road trips. I envy you. I knew you’d be off again. Another longish weekend is coming – Eid eh? 🙂

  24. I have bookmared this post to come back read it when I have kids 😀 You have so much patience MM! 🙂 Or does it come naturally when it is your own blood driving you nuts? I guess I will have to wait and watch 😀

    Lovely post and hope you have many more fun filled holidays! 🙂 God bless you all.

  25. The Brat and Bean are adorable! 🙂
    But, the OA cannot be as shitty a photographer as G is! Ek toh our camera decided to conk off just before we got here! So all we’ve got are phone cameras, and mine’s not too bad. But thanks to the brilliant person I married, there hardly ever are any good photos of me! All the ones I take of him are well-composed, well-lit, well-everything-else…and for the ones he takes of me, I need to first adjust camera settings, make the frame, then hand the camera to him (no, spontaneous good pictures cannot happen with him around!)…and I still end up either on one edge of the frame, or else all me and no background, and don’t even get me started on unflattering angles!
    Oh, and he cannot tell a joke either!
    *sigh*

    • We should go on holiday together if you can put up with the brats. I also take such care taking pics of him even if its only on my phone and all I get are unflattering angles up a jiggly arm or a fat leg.

      • Stop being rude about your brats! They’re adorable, and don’t need “putting up” with!
        Also, by the way, my brat brother had chewed up a light bulb once. He was a year and a few months, and we were playing at a friend’s place, when Mom heard a cruch, and saw the idiot had opened up a torch, and was chomping on a blahdy light bulb!
        My parents must’ve done some wonderful things to deserve me before they had the brat, no?

  26. My daughter is the easiest baby I know to travel with . So the puking and all is something I have never dealt with and dont want to either. The glass biting has been done a couple f times so its steel all the way or really thick glasses. But this one is sure scary. we were in Goa when she did this and her tongue started bleeding luckily it wasn’t so severe and she dont swallow any. But we went through hell then.

  27. Hey, I have a tip for you that we have found very useful. Steal the sickness bags from airplanes every time you fly and save them inside the car. My kids are well trained to grab a bag as soon as the need (urge?) arises. For smaller kids another, more stable option is to have a designated plastic mug for puking. As an aside I once walked up to the security guy outside Delhi airport holding a mug of vomit and asked him “where can I discard this?” He peeked inside, made a horrified face and then pointed me towards the trash can 😀

  28. Wonderful Post! Enjoyed reading it and quite amazed.
    PS: I guess you must already know this, your IPAD has itunes and can play songs just like your ipod, but you do need the songs you like Synced in it just as you would do with ipod.

  29. Dear MM,
    Hope all is well with u and the family! this must be the longest gap we have seen between your posts. Systematically my hands come to this website everyday as is pre-programmed. Get back while you can! miss you

  30. Hey, hope things have taken a better turn! Using this forum as you are here most .. No need to publish this comment. Our prayers are with her and with you all. Please take care.

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