For the twin’s birthday, I had planned to spend the day somewhere far off, away from the daily hustle-bustle of the city, where there is loads of greenery and fresh air. The initial plan was to make a road trip to either Mahabaleshwar or Matheran. But the BF returned very late the previous night. One look at his exhausted face as he slept and I didn’t have the heart to wake him up early for the trip. I let him wake up on his own and then thought of alternative places we could visit. Krushnai Water Park on Sinhgadh road was next in line. But since the BF was still not up and it was threatening to rain, I had to do a quick rethink. Katraj Zoo (or Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park) was the nearest place we could go to. The more I thought of it, the more I liked the idea. It was ages since I’d been to a zoo.
Once the BF was up, even he was quite excited about the zoo trip (and here I was, thinking up arguments to convince Mr.Prim! Just goes to show that when you think you know them, you realize you don’t know them at all!). By the time we all were dressed and ready to leave, it was 11:45 AM already . The GMIL wondered if it was a good idea to be out at the peak of noon, but we decided to go ahead anyway. The day was slightly cloudy and the humidity was stifling. I mentally kicked myself for not waking up the BF earlier and making that trip to Mahabaleshwar or Matheran, where the weather was far more cooler. Anyhow, the twins were pretty kicked up about the trip and it was all we could do to make sure they didn’t run across the road to where our car was parked.
The BF asked me one last time if I was sure about the zoo. I replied in the positive. And off we went.
The entry ticket was rather cheap at Rs5/- . Once inside, we were in a totally different environment. Where it was hot and clammy outside, inside the zoo, the temperature was cool, there was a gentle breeze and the large canopy of trees made sure we didn’t get sun-burns while we strolled along. One more thing that impressed us was the cleanliness of the place. It was very, VERY clean. Not a scrap of paper in sight!
Clean and green!
Right at the entrance, we were faced with a fork. The sign on the left said Snake Park, peacocks, etc. The one on the right said, Elephants, Tiger,etc. So obviously, we took the right turn.
We walked for a rather long distance before saw the first enclosure. It was a pair of porcupines. They were the cutest things ever . The BF had never seen one before and looked like a school kid as he peered at the animal with his mouth open .
The twins didn’t show much interest in the rodents so we headed towards the next enclosure, which turned out to be quite a long walk ahead!
The next in line were the bears. Initially, we couldn’t locate them , as they were frolicking in the moat right below us. The thick bushes and the railing prevented us from peering in (safety comes first, I agree….but its quite a shame when you come this far and then barely get a chance to see the animals!). Luckily, the zoom helped and I caught the bears playing. Or at least that is what we told the twins. What the bears were indulging in was actually an act of nature…if you know what I mean
Censor-free version of bears
One of the bears is hidden by the other. Ooops!! Bad bad me. I forget this is a family blog !
On an aside, my heart went out to these furry beasts!! Must be a sauna under all that fur!!
The Tiger was busy sleeping. Its lucky that I could at least locate him on camera (zoom zindabad!). The BF and the twins strained their necks trying to get a glimpse of the cat ,but no such luck . I had to show them the sleeping tiger on the camera. That didn’t impress them much
Searching for the tiger
The next was the leopard, which had the highest fence. There was a large crowd around the railing, anxiously waiting for the beast to make an appearance. We waited for about 10 minutes, but didn’t have any luck , so we skipped this section and walked on to the Nilgai,deer and antelope section.
The Nilgai family
Shobby loves the deers
It was here that Shobby fell in love with the deers. He hung on to the railing and gazed at them for a long time. It was good that the enclosure was full of deers. Must have been around 20-25 of them in that one area. There was another enclosure for the black-bucks, which again in quite a large number! Lui and Shobby were thrilled to see the baby deers frolicking about. In fact, so cheered up were they by this sight that they took to running helter-skelter along the path, giggling uncontrollably and keeping me and the BF on our toes, lest they fall and hurt themselves!! Didn’t have a chance at clicking them at this point, as I was busy doing the guardian angel act
We took a break for the twin’s milk time after which the two were reluctant to proceed further. But we had the Elephant to see yet and hence we coaxed the twins along.
The elephants, it turned out, were kept in the very last enclosure at the end of the park. It seemed as though we were walking for ages before we finally came across them. And what a let-down!! The pachyderms were chained to a pillar of their shed , which was a good 500 metres or so away from the viewing railing and that too at the bottom of a slope. So we could make out the trunk of one elephant and the torso of the other. We had to point out the animals tot he twins, but they didn’t bother to strain their necks and eyes this time . Also, Shobby had taken a fall a short while back and hurt his nose. He was in a bad mood and it was clear that all this walking had made them tired. Even we were quite bushed by this time.
But we were in for another shock.
Any regular zoo has a circular pathway following which one can cover all the animals in the zoo without having to turn back. Alas, the designers of Katraj zoo thought otherwise. their layout was something like this (click on the image for a clearer picture):-
After the entrance, we had taken a right. When we turned the curve, we naturally assumed that the trail would lead right back to the entrance. Unfortunately,we assumed wrong. At the end of the park, was a dead-end. At the centre, was the lake where there is boating facility, but from where we stood, even the lake was fenced off. That left us with only one option. To trudge back the way we came!
2 km is not much of a distance per se, but it is when a) you are tired b) it is 2pm in the afternoon c) you are carrying a heavy baby bag and d) you ALSO have to carry a baby!! Whew!
The twins were really tired and refused to walk another step. As soon as we hefted them in our arms and started walking, the little munchkins were off to dreamland. Now let me give you a little parenting nugget. A sleeping baby is twice as heavy as a wakeful one. Some physics there, but I’m not in the mood to get into the technicalities . Suffice to say, me and the BF took turns carrying the bag, cursing the zoo,cursing the zoo officials,cursing the animals who were too far to be seen and cursing our ability to make enquiries before we came there. Apparently, there are electric cars available on rent which takes groups of people around the zoo. The booking has to be done at the gate itself, because one cannot avail the car facility inside the zoo (some logic there!!). Later on, we did find out that the cars are very few in number and the waiting list is usually large. If we have the time to kill, we may wait for our turn to be zipped around. Maybe next time
Anyhow, by the time we returned to the main gate, I swear I could feel my arms ripping out of their sockets! With the last of my strength , I made it till the car and settled the twins in the rear seat before slumping in myself! Just as we stepped inside the house, the twins woke up. They were surprisingly refreshed and chirpy, where as me and the BF looked like we’d just been battered by Khali! I handed the twins to the nanny, prepared their lunch, fed them and their father and called it a day! I took a nap, but can’t say I felt better after that . When I woke up, the SIL was home with her two sons. She had bought presents for the twins, which were duly demolished and damaged within the first 30 minutes. Ahh well……!! Happens, right ?!
Anyhow, by 6pm, it was time to get the twins ready for the evening
Lui with Ab
That is Lui with cousin Ab. The poor boy is a year older then her and already apprehensive of her!! The bossy Lui made sure I clicked her cousin Ab’s snap (which she thought I wouldn’t do unless she grabs his hand!)
You can see the red scar on Shobby’s face. He hurt himself on a stone while we were at the zoo. The in-laws weren’t too happy with us about it. But like the BF says, kids need to fall and get hurt, else they would never know how to be careful! And I agree with him. Can’t be molly coddling them all the time!!
And ohh…we finally figured out the reason for the bad picture quality. Slow shutter speed. Looks like its time to show our camera to experts. Or to buy a new camera. Lets see…..
Anyhow, the BIL bought a cake, we lit the candles and cut the cake, just our family, the SIL and her kids. It was a lovely warm setting, the kids enjoyed blowing at the candles (the trick ones, which don’t go off in one go)
SIL placing the candles
We initially thought of lighting only two candles ….but then since the SIL’s kids also love the cake cutting part, the BF said, what the hell, light them all. And we did
Lui went crazy blowing at the candles. And while I sat near the table clicking away, I realized that a camera cannot capture the glee on her face as good as my heart does. Those bright twinkling eyes, the big smile, the sheer happiness of it all……I don’t think this snap does it any justice
My darling daughter
The twins had dinner with their aunt. She’s awfully good with them and whenever she’s around, the twins scamper around her like pups . It also helps that they LOVE the company of their cousins and would rather spend dinner time with them than with us!
The twins crashed out early for the night. They’d had a eventful day…..maybe even more than us. They won’t remember any of this ……but we do. Because more than anything else, there is nothing better in life than spending time with one’s own. It was a special day for us. And long after the twins were asleep, me and the BF ,while massaging sore shoulders with Moov, chatted over how rich our life has become post kids.
And oh, a parting good-night message from the BF :-
“You really need to exercise and lose weight pronto. It was sad to see you struggling to walk when you were carrying Lui. You are in awful physical shape. Better do something about it fast. Good night”.
Some guys do know how to ruin a perfectly wonderful day
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