Winter in Pune, is a joke . Not a typical ‘HAHA’ joke, per se, but a ridiculous one where you eagerly pull out woolens from boxes, sun them and then wait patiently till the weather is cool enough to use them. And then you sit back and twiddle your thumbs, waiting for the cold winds to blow your way.
The weather, alas, has other plans. So while the Northern region of the country freezes away to glory, the twins at home refuse to wear a shirt over their vest, claiming it to be ‘too hot’. The fan whirls at a nice speed as we sleep in the night, justifying, somewhat, the need to use a blanket (forget the heavy ‘razai‘ !).
Winter hasn’t technically arrived yet and I have already packed my woolies back in their boxes. Maybe next year, I will give them all away to charity.
Anyhow, so desperate was I for hint for chapped skin and dry lips that the BF obliged and took us to the nearby hill-station of Mahabaleshwar - the land of the Strawberry goodness . This was couple of weekends back. We just decided on the spot, packed our bags, fished for a few woolens for the kids and set off. I had just picked jackets for the twins but the BF suggested that Mahabi (as Mahabaleshwar is lovingly called) is a LOT cooler than Pune. With a hum and a haw I packed two sweaters too. Okay, on a side note, believe this – I packed clothes for me, the BF and two kids, with two sets of changes in one ruck-sack. I’m smug as I type this, because before this, each time I stepped out of the house, even for a day, I would carry at least 4-5 sets each for the kids, with towels, napkins, jackets, etc. Not this time. I kept it to a minimum, with just another hand-bag with the edibles. Thats it. With two bags in hand, we set off. The BF was mighty impressed with the limited luggage (He wasn’t so impressed the next day when he found that I’d forgotten his change of inners !! Oh well….we’re learning, aren’t we?!)
So we started not-so-early on Saturday, had a nice 3 and an half hour pleasurable ride through beautiful hills and fields. We crossed the picturesque town of Wai, famous for many movies (Swades, Bol Bachchan, Gangajal, etc). We didn’t stop there though. The ghat stretch was pretty treacherous with sharp bends and we wanted to reach Mahabi before the traffic got worse. Once we hit Mahabi, we visited the Mapro Garden. I think it is a popular destination for food/ice-creams (served with fresh strawberries)/ candies, syrups, squashes/jams/honey, etc. Though Lui had a bad cough, she kicked up a big fuss when we refused her the ice-cream. When she started screaming blue murder, we gave in and got her a cone. “She won’t be able to finish it”, the BF told me. Knowing my girl, I should have bet him on it. She finished it without a care about the world. I mentally thanked myself for remembering to ger her cough syrup along!
Shobby wouldn’t allow me to click his snap, behaving like a celebrity caught in the vicious circle of paparazzi. After a few snaps of him covering his face, I gave up .
The Mapro farm had put up a big trampoline inside their premises. There were a bunch of kids already going bonkers on it. I was a little apprehensive, what if someone lands on them?! But then, the kids seemed excited and we dumped them on the trampoline.
The twins had a blast, as you can see . Lui was annoyed when we pulled her out from there and started another tirade of rants. The BF quickly bought a big box of fresh strawberries from a counter outside and handed it to her. Thats it. The girl was on her best behavior throughout the trip. By the way, strawberries are her favorite fruit. She was overwhelmed at being given an entire box to herself, to eat as much as she wants. Believe me, she was so quiet afterwards that we wondered what was wrong with her
We reached the MTDC resort by noon (why MTDC?? Because the Country Club membership is one the worst mistakes we’ve ever committed in our lives!! In spite of being members, in spite of paying the AMCs, we still have to inform months in advance even if we need to go on a short vacation of 2 days !! We tried to book the rooms in the Country Club resort around Nov/Dec. Even then, we were told that bookings weren’t available. Anyone know if we can get a refund from the CC guys?? )
Anyhow, the MTDC resort was pretty good too. Not luxurious, but serviceable, yes. We got a nice family suite with two rooms. At 1pm in the afternoon, the room was chill enough to freeze water. I’m not kidding. The mattresses were frozen blocks of ice! When we rested there for a while, no matter how much we rubbed our feet together, the bed wouldn’t thaw . Exactly what I wanted
We ordered lunch, quickly gobbled the food and then contemplated the next step. I think an honest confession is due here. Neither the BF nor I am keen on walking long distances. We thought and we planned and then after much discussion resorted to taking a well-deserved nap after the long drive. So we all hit the bed.
I woke up the kids around 4pm. The MTDC resort is closet to the sunset point and I wanted to take the kids there. By now, there was severe chill in the air, even though it was sunny outside. The kids wore their sweaters and then the jackets over the sweaters! For kids running around in chaddi-banian at home, this was a major weather indicator
I took the above two snaps while the kids were playing outside our rooms. Though there were two swing sets, the two settled into one
Don’t be fooled by the sun. It looks warm and sunny but it really wasn’t. It was COLD!!!
It was pretty cold at the sunset point. I thought it would be enjoyable, but ummm, frankly speaking, I wasn’t impressed. Towards sunset the crowd swelled to hundreds and before my very eyes, dry winter dust rose sky high and provided very little clear view of the sunset. It didn’t help that the horse-riders were galloping around, kicking up further dust! Before we knew it, the sunset was over. We trooped back to the resort. There, the twins spotted a complex set of slides and bridges and set off for it even before I could give my consent (not that they expected otherwise, but still. A mother ought to command some respect )
After nearly an hour of play, we finally headed to the restaurant for dinner. It never struck any of us that we could take the car out and roam around the town streets, checking out their night-life
Once back in our suite, I have the kids a nice hot water bath, bundled them in their pyjamas and sweaters and settled them to watch “Charlie and the chocolate factory”. Meanwhile, me and the BF took a leisurely stroll outside, reveling in the chilled air, the one which makes your insides shiver (bliss ). Eventually, we saw the lights going off all around us, one by one. so we pulled out chairs and sat outside the room, chatting like we used to , a long time back. I think hours passed. Sure that it must be nearing 12:30 in the night, I asked the BF if we should go in.
“Its only 10:30 now”, he informed me.
“What?!!” I mean, it seemed like ages since we were sitting in the darkness. If it was still 10:30, what time did the people around us go off to sleep?? 8:30??!! Its an unthinkable hour, by our regular standards
Anyhow, we called it a night . At least the BF did. I was busy finishing “the immortals of Meluha”. We woke up early the next morning. The BF had some work to attend to back in Pune, we wanted to be home by afternoon. On the drive back, we came across Venna lake. Lui and Shobby wanted to go boating, but he service hadn’t started yet. The BF was in a hurry so we kind of cajoled the kids into believing that only kids who can swim are allowed to go boating. My poor little angels for the fib . Though they agreed, Lui wasn’t happy about the whole deal, something that she made clear by pasting the biggest frown on her face when I asked them to pose for snaps! Shobbs had no qualms in smiling though.
We made only one stop on the way back. Halfway through, we came across a nice stretch of farms and on one end was a stall selling sugarcane juice. Who could resist?? We bought 2-3 mugs of it. I asked the seller to add ginger to make it easily digestible for the kids. Alas, they hated the taste of it. But again, they had no problems posing for a snap . Lui’s good mood was restored too.
We reached home by lunch time and after that, life was back to routine.
After reaching back, I realized that we had crossed a major milestone. I rarely took the kids out for long drives before, bothered more about their toilet urges and not having proper facilities on the way. I wondered if the kids will fall sick, throw up and be miserable. I wondered if I would be able to manage them.
This trip was an eye-opener. I realized that my kids can control their urge until we reach back to our room. There were no accidents, no throwing up, no peeing on the bed and surprisingly, in spite of that big ice-cream, no coughing and fever from Lui. The kids have grown up, and how!
I feel useless . Drat them! Why couldn’t they have been the itty-bitty babies they were before