I have been so busy over the last three weekends that I had no time whatsoever to sit down and write. The great thing is that this time, I feel I have been busy doing things which make me really happy! Sunday afternoons of mine are generally spent moping about the loss of a promising weekend which turned out be finally the same combination of grocery shopping, spring cleaning (eternally through spring, summer and winter!) cooking and keeping things ready for the next long week, all done in different order every week to allay boredom! The last few weekends have effectively changed that!
My perception of a holiday was to go to on a long vacation. Small breaks used to put me off, because the time taken to prepare for a holiday would seem to be too much in comparison to the holiday I actually took. This, keeping in mind packing extensively and intensively for my kids, especially my younger one, who is quite finicky about her food! (that, with me being extremely finicky that she eats well!).
As a kid,I used to read and fantasize about picnics on river banks with a variety of fancy sounding food (courtesy Enid Blyton), trekking and exploring unknown places, not knowing that I would get to realize this dream close to my middle age! I have always found rivers and mountains fascinating. Images of misty mountains, sparkling streams, gurgling brooks, a house in the middle of long pine trees and forests make me go into a state of dreamy stupor. Therefore it was great to discover many such places so close to my home town which I had not explored.
The first experimental weekend started with a long drive on the banks of River Tunga on to a small hamlet called Keregade about 70 kms from home. The riverside was clean, unpolluted and had a makeshift, scary but surprisingly steady launch boat to take us to the other side of the river. The afternoon was sunny, bright and perfectly picnicky. We walked along the banks of the river, explored, went on a trek, listened to forest sounds and found footprint fossils of unknown animals. I had almost forgotten how good silence felt and how soothing was the sound of water, gently lapping the bank. The picnic we had was the icing on the cake! Home made bhel, cakes, juice, fruits and chips never tasted so good. We came back super charged and raring to go back to work.
So great was this euphoria, that we ventured a little further out and reached Chikmagalur, for the next weekend. Chikmagalur is a town famous for its coffee and natural beauty and is situated about 250 Kms away from Bangalore and hardly a two hour drive from Shimoga. Thanks to techies from Bangalore who visit for short weekends, a whole lot of homestays have mushroomed all over the place. The weather is awesome, the route is scenic and green, the air smells of the mountains and to top it all we found a charming little cafe on the way where we ate what seemed like the tastiest noodles ever(I strongly believe that Maggie tastes better when eaten in out of the way places!) and drank yummy smelling coffee. The highlight of our trip was our trek to Mullayanagiri, the highest peak of the Sahyadri range. The mountaintop has a small temple and the view from the top is amazing!
In the aftermath, a dull, delicious sort of calf pain(from the trek) which persisted the whole week kept reminding me of the weekend. By the time it subsided, we whisked ourselves away to Dandeli in the district of Uttara kannada. We got together with some of our friends to stay in a jungle lodge on the banks of River Kali. Dandeli is famous for river rafting on the rapids. It is also known for its almost untouched forests and its hornbills. The resort is right on the banks of the river and bang in the middle of the forest. For the first time, I realized that doing nothing also takes some effort. In the beginning, there was this unconscious urge to finish some task, call someone, check on something and so on. Gradually, I settled down into a lazy routine of enjoying nature, taking long walks and cool swims, listening to the sway of the trees, watching an early bird get a fish, just looking at the mist raising from the calm river, watching the water glide smoothly over a rock, wondering about how birds maintain an exact formation while flying and basically just BEING.
Today, I am a super happy soul. Just the memory of these sweet short weekends puts a big smile on my face. They gave me a chance to connect with myself and my kids full time. When we enjoy our work, we forget that, how much ever we do like what we do, our body and our soul need some time to recharge. And that we need to make memories for later. And that we need a change in perspective to start working all over again. So, people, get up, get going. Take a break, have fun and relive!