Mumbai Monsoon Getaway

Before D-Day

Frantic preparations for the day of the travel: I am ironing all my dresses and trying to pack at the same time, the Arien is looking for places to visit in Mumbai on the internet. We complete our respective tasks arnd 10 pm and I am all set to fall asleep when I am hit by the Arien’s new plan.  B’cos the train we are travelling in does not have a pantry, quality of food will b suspect and so the Arien wants me to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next day – now!! And of course, he will help. I was ready to starve the whole of next day – if I cud escape this torture but I cud see no chance of tht. It was 1 am wen we finished with the chappathis (for dinner) and puris (for lunch) and the common side-dish – Aloo and peas in a tomato gravy. I was supposed to wake up the next day n make idlis (for breakfast) so tht it is fresh and also get ready to catch the train from Yeshwantpur at 6:30 am. Right then, I was ready to accept anything – my eyes were burning, I was feeling all sweaty and tired from the chappatis and puris and I jes wanted to fall in bed n forget tht I was travelling the next day – I mean, travelling today… I mean in less than ….4… zzzzzZZZZ ..Snore!

D-Day

Woke up at 5 am – all groggy and felt like a zombie – was doing all my tasks in slower than usual speed (which is really really slow) – and it was 6 am when we left our house. Considering Yeshwantpur is really really faar away – I was a lil concerned until I saw the Arien drive. He was trying to make up for lost time by sm really scary, reckless driving which had me praying during the entire 30 mts of travel. I stopped only when we neared the station.

The Yeshwantpur station cannot really be approached like how we approach most stations – move close to the entrance n park – we had to drive another 10 mts on the same side before we could do a U-turn and head to the station. Before we reached the station, we saw a train leave. I was hoping tht tht was not our train. Fat chance… in less than 2 and half minutes – we had missed our train!!!!! What a ohmygod start to our monsoon getaway 😦 The Arien was simply furious. I was shocked and seriously considered cancelling the trip. We blamed each other for debacle and wasted a lot of energy in Tu Tu Main Main. I asked the Arien if we cud catch up with the train. Tht was vetoed by the station master, porters, taxi-drivers, et-al. The Arien was literally ready to explode so after telling him to head to the nearest bus station and book tickets – I was completely silent. Of course, ppl who knew we were travelling called to ask us if we were safely in the train and we had to go over the whole saga over and over and over and over again – which ob. irritated us furthermore.

It was 7:30 am when we turned onto the familiar road to our home and the Arien had finally gotten over his temper and said “Maybe we shd have gone to the bus depot..” and I refrained frm saying “of course, I told you so”, with gr8 difficulty 🙂 We reached home, attempted to cancel our train tickets, and book tickets on a bus that left later tht day, and unpacked breakfast and had it at home. We suddenly felt very relaxed. We got tickets to a bus that left bengaluru at 12:30 and reached Mumbai at 8 am tomorrow (which incidentally wud b the time tht the train wud reach Mumbai)! The maid came in and cleaned up the dishes tht we used last evening – it felt so looong ago already! When we left, the house looked spic-n-span and we looked very relaxed. 

The bus left only at 2:30 pm. We spent the time from 12:25 to 2:30 sitting outside the Sharma office in Chamrajpet – on the dirty stairs – waiting for the bus. We had the lunch tht we had packed – on the way. We were treated to No Entry (the movie) during the journey as well as Dhoom 2. We stopped at Davangere for dinner. I was not hungry and so we got down to stretch and generally relax. I fell into a fitful sleep without having any dinner – the Arien woke up much later n had pomogranate as he was very hungry. A relaxed ending to a very tense start of the day…. missing the train.. goodness!!.. we were able to laugh at tht now.

Yercaud – Salem – and back

Day 3

ChairAll too soon it was the day of our return. Almost everyone we had met yesterday at breakfast had already checked out. We met a totally new group of folks at the breakfast buffet. Considering tht the breakfast buffet had almost exactly the same items as the spread yesterday – we were not tht impressed. There was nothing much to do post breakfast and so we wandered around taking snaps of the place. 

The snap on the left is actually the back rest of the chair Corridorplaced near the Skywalk. I insisted on this snap like I was a dog-louver – which the Arien knew I was not – in fact, I am usually hiding behind the Arien whenever we visit his mom’s house. Anyway, I felt the dog looked pretty majestic and like a hunter. I also insisted on a snap of the corridor to the sky lift. The corridor looked amazing during the mornings and late evenings. I wish we could say we used the lift a lot – but smhw whenever we got into the lift – it ensured we were sent down to the basement at least twice.  We got so fed up with the lift that we invariably climbed the three floors to the restuarant rather than waste time and energy on the lift. Did we get bored of the corridor? Naaah! This was one of those times when it actually worked all right for us!

LadiesSeatWhen we finally returned to the room, we decided to take one last snap from the balcony and we took the snap of the Child Seat which we visited yesterday. Yess.. this is the one that everyone told us was the Ladies Seat. The Arien suddenly turned all efficient and told me that it was high time we started packing and get ready to leave. We finished packing and were ready getting ready in around 2 hours – yupp – I dawdle!

Anyway, we were ready to settle our bills sometime around 12 when we got the beegest shock of our life. First, the mini-fridge which had a host of yummy stuff had 1 missing item. While we knew that one item was missing when we entered the room two days ago (a checklist was provided that listed the items in the mini-fridge, for our reference) – we did not mention it to the hotel folks. Sum total: It was assumed that we had consumed the product. Guilty until proven innocent. The Arien was furious and explained tht the item was missing when we checked in. The receptionist shouted at the maid and said “Customer is King”. Ok.. she said somthing different but we knew tht the maid was going  to pay for the item for no fault of hers. I was not ok to pay for it when we had not consumed it and so the matter ended there. Unfortunate experience.

Because we had not accepted the Rs. 700/-  ( a pittance in comparison to the bomb we paid for the hotel) worth drop to the railway station in an Indigo (in ishtyle)  – we were stranded at the hotel entrance waiting for the bus. The one bus that stopped was so crowded – we did not want to get on it and so we waited till I was sure we wud miss the train. We got the security of the hotel to get us a drop – we paid arnd 500 for the drop and hopped onto the train. The return journey was horrendous to say the least.  We shared our seats with a lady who acted like a spolit kid and behaved in a very unlady-like manner and a guy with a flask frm which he poured himself a cuppa coffee frm time to time. Smtm during the short journey, he spilt sm of the coffee on the lady and the fight tht ensued is best forgotten! The End!

Yercaud – In and Arnd – Part II

MontFort School  (II Half of the Day)

Montfort EntranceAfter a nice cuppa Chai and snacks – we decided to visit the famous school, MontFort, at Yercaud. The Arien insisted we walk and so we did. It was a 3 km loong walk and it was a warm day. Jes wen I was ready to shout “Stop” – we had reached a small lake which was jes outside the school and so we walked on. The school was having a Sports Day or some such event and so there were quite a few adults in the school and we did not stick out like sore thumbs. 

After walking in, we realized that it was ob. a  very beeg school. The first thing I noticed was TennisMIPthat the classrooms resembled the ones in St. Josephs College in Bangalore.  They were all stone buildings – probably was pretty cold in the class-rooms. As we walked further into the school – we found ourslves drawn to the tennis court that had the beegest crowd – a doubles match was in progress and the kids were playing extra-ordinarily well. There was heavy cheering. We stayed and watched a few sets. The game was handled in a professional manner with a refree – I was very impressed. We saw quite a few strict teachers who yelled at some of the noisier kids. It was like being bk in school 🙂 We moved on as we wanted to check out the entire premises. 

BasketballCourtThe next ground that we wandered towards was the basketball one. I did not even know that sm schools have separate grounds for different sport events. Ours was a beeg school and we had a huge area which was used for various sports events etc.. but still I found this school was almost too good to be true. As we walked around, we came across a huge ground – tht wud probably be 3 grounds rolled into one – which was the football ground. FutballImpressed?? I wud probably say Awe-Struck!! Lots n lots of money def went into this… well, it was a school for rich kids and so I guess it is expected but I was still very very surprised.  This snap was taken on a loong shot so you can see how huge the place really was.  Have I already mentioned that I was very very impressed?? Well, I was – yet again! They also had a huge space for the swimming pool which was not open.  However, we could see a small portion of the pool from outside and it also looked pretty huge – jes like the others.. well well well. I really wonder how much it costs to have your kid in this school.

Emu?As we wandered around the premises, we came upon their zoo. I have never heard of a school that had its own zoo.  It was a day of firsts for me – I saw an Emu – for the first time in my life in their zoo.  That is one of the scary close-up shots of the flightless bird.  The Arien was equally surprised to see the Zoo.  It was the Arien who informed me that the thing… was an emu – I was wondering wht it was for a looong time b4 he helped me out 😛Cottagegarden

Instead of having a garden with a greenhouse – a la Lalbagh – they went for in for something less expensive or maybe it was a hobby of one of the teachers… anyway, they used an ole cottage for the garden. The cottage had quite a few amazing flowers and looked very well tended. Lot of folks stood there admiring the bright flowers. The house looked overgrown with plants but did not look bad at all. In fact, it looked rather nice. There was also a medium sized statue of the Eiffel Tower on the premises that indicated to me that the founder of the school was from Paris or France. One of the notable ppl who studied here, include Shashi Tharoor, author and politician, who is currently notorious for his (in)famous “cattle class”  statement, and Nagesh Kunnor,  director of the RockFord movie – well, you now know frm where he got his inspiration 😀

LeadersBy this time, we were completely tired out. We had spent the entire afternoon at the Montfort School and now we were ready to leave. As we walked out, we saw that to the left of the entrance – the wall had been decorated to show the children or the parents – the various national leaders and I was very impressed. As I tried to identify the various leaders, I realized that the image in the middle was that of Jesus Christ. At least, I think so. I did not want toa sk the Arien if I was right – he was not exactly patronising wen I bulbed ’bout the Emu – but if I ask this question – he is sure to be jes that 😀

Anyway, we decided to get going.. we had a nice looong walk back and as we reached the Yercaud bus-stop, the Arien suddenly decides to take an auto. For once, I did not say a word. My feet were aching so bad – I was actually pretty close to tears at tht time and so I was really glad that he had got us an auto. In less than 5 minutes we were dropped at the restuarant. We decided to watch Bheja Fry in the room. The movie was initially a lil slow and the Arien showed various signs of restlessness and then soon he was pretty engrossed. It is a clean, slow, quite funny movie which was actually the perfect end to Day 2. We were leaving Yercaud tomorrow post-lunch and so it was a nice lazy relaxed evening.  End of Day 2!

Yercaud – In and Arnd – Part I

Day 2 – Independence day (15th August)

GRT-DiasWoke up at 7 am. On a holiday – thts dawn for me 🙂 Ordered for Chai and Coffee and realized with a shock tht we had not brought toothpaste with us. The lady at the reception promised to deliver it without sounding either irritated or patronizing. I relished my Chai as I sat out in the balcony with Good Day biskuts while the Arien watched Zig Wheels – Skoda Yeti. It was 8:45 wen I realized it was Independence Day! Realizing tht we wud end up missing breaker if we did not get ready – we made haste. Inspite of all the hury-bury, we reached the breakfast buffet at Salem Heights at 9:45. I was informed tht the buffet closes at 10 am. The breakfast buffet consisted of the following items, some of which we indulged in: Idli, Pongal, Bonda, Rava Upma, Semiya, Masala Dosa and omlette on demand, Pancake, French toast, toast, chicken sausage, fresh fruit juice (orange, grape), and fresh fruit. After having the fit-for-a-king meal, we waddled out of the resturant towards the boat house. It was 10:30 am. It was def. a laaate start.

When we reached the boathouse, the Arien sprung his decision of cycling arnd Yercaud to me. I was totally in a “NOOOOO WAAAY” mode but surprisingly – decided to go with the flow. It was a 3 km ride to Ladies Seat and we set off immediately. The first few minutes was a lil tough but manageable and I actually thot it was a good idea. However, in a few minutes, we realized tht the entire 3 km was going to be uphill and we huffed and puffed our way up. By the time we reached the Rose Garden, I was out of breath, perspiring like nobody’s business, and very very mad. We parked the cycles inside the Rose Garden with permission from the lady at the ticket counter. The roses looked pretty bad – lots of congress grass and moss all around – tht the Arien refused to take snaps b’cos it would be an insult to Lalbagh – which he considered better maintained :O

GRTWe walked up another set of steps that lead supposedly to the Child Seat. We huffed and puffed our way up – yet again – and then were pretty glad that we did – the view was amazing. We could actually see our restuarant frm the Child Seat. We also realized that wht we saw everyday was actually the Child Seat and not the Ladies Seat as we had been told!! Of course, we had to use the digital zoom of the camera to identify our room from the Child Seat.  After a few wrong guesses – we finally got it right 😀 It was windy up there and after all the cycling and climbing – we enjoyed the view and took quite a few snaps before we moved towards the Gents Seat.  It was hardly more than a 5 minute walk and the view was almost the same – jes a lil higher. There were not too many ppl at the Gents Seat. Either it was not popular or something was wrong. We did not have the time to figure it out – plus the Arien was getting a lil bored and cranky. 

So, we decided to get going towards the Ladies Seat – which was actually way below. I was not too sure of GentsSeatthe view and also – I was actually not so sure if I wanted to back all the way. but .. as we turned the corner, we realized that if we had not stopped at the Rose Garden – we would have come up to the Ladies Seat, gone further uphill to see the Gents Seat and then visited the Child Seat and totally guzzed the badly maintained Rose Garden.. well, well, well!! We reached the Ladies Seat to find out tht everybody who wanted to see any view was here and also that monkeys found this place highly popular!! Decided to get going wen we saw this roadside artist who said he wud do potraits. Decided to get our potraits done. Sitting still was a huge pain and happily the Arien insisted tht I go first. I think he took arnd 30 mts to complete the potrait – I was stiff frm sitting in the same posistion and holding the same expression and irritated ’bout the zillion folks who gawked either at me or at the potrait. After all tht effort -I was kinda expecting smthng not stupendous but smthng nice at least but  I totally hated the potrait 😦 After the Arien has one look at the completed potrait – he decides not to get his done :((

We walk down to the Rose Garden – pick up our cycles and with a lot of Wooo-hoooo (s) interpersed with brake squeals tht cud have woken up Ghatotgajan we reached the boat house in less than 10 mts.  We head to the Mahindra restuarant near the boat house. We are not really hungry for lunch but we really need smthng – a tea or a snack – and so we head there. The main waiter was surprisingly nice when we mentioned tht we did not want to have lunch… served us a pot of amazing tea and sm snacks. It was only wen the bill arrived tht we realized tht the snacks was on the house. I came away very very impressed.