Kodaikanal lake view

The lazy person’s guide to Kodaikanal

I can feel the excitement of the school year finale in the air. We’re in the middle of the annual exams. We’re ripping out tattered covers of books knowing they need not be covered again. We’re using up extra notebooks as rough books. I am already dreaming of late mornings and leisurely toilet time. As usual I have a whole lot of things I want to do this summer including vathal making, de-cluttering the house, teaching kids some basic cooking, signing them up for some fun classes, re-arranging some of the furniture, catching up on 6 months’ magazines, finishing all the un-read books in the bookshelf/kindle, maybe going on a short vacation.. I may have planned for the next 5 summers. I am getting all tangled up just thinking about them. Talking about vacations, we went on a mini weekend vacation to Kodaikanal last month. It was quite a last minute thing. I did not really believe a 2-day vacation would amount to much. I am happy to say I was wrong. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable, relaxing vacations in recent times. We didn’t do any of the regular sightseeing. We skipped all the viewpoints, waterfalls and must-see places. With summer vacation around the corner, I thought it might be useful to share my lazy person’s guide to kodaikanal. Find a nice spot, sit and simply look at the lake We checked into Carlton that’s just along the lake and were lucky enough to be staying in a beautiful lake facing room. We’ve been going back to Carlton Kodaikanal for several years now. Mornings, we woke up early, went out to the balcony and quickly ran back in shocked by the ice cold floor outside. We’d head back wearing slippers, sit down hugging ourselves in the nippy air and look across at the misty lake mesmerized. It’s still early, much before the cycling and boating enthusiasts are out. It’s quiet and peaceful. We wonder how life would be for the family that lives in that house across the lake. We order coffee through room service, not wanting to leave the setting. Snack and walk around the lake The kodaikanal lake has an almost 5km circumference and is usually crowded with tourists. You can hire a cycle and cycle around the lake. Or you can walk around the lake. When you’re hungry, stop for a snack...

Travel Post – Vintage charm at Chidambaram and Tranquebar

I enjoy reminding Yuvan that school starts in just a few weeks, just about a week now. And that I am really excited that he will be starting full working days. It irritates him no end. He’d charge at me. Now he pretends he hasn’t heard. Although the beginning of the school year brings joy and an overwhelming respect for school teachers, I am also worried I may break the school’s record for late-coming, that Hasini may turn me in and the principal may punish me, make me stand in the verandah/on the bench,  for being the most incorrigible parent. I am too ingrained in the summer holiday routine now. We haven’t started on any of the holiday assignments. They whiled away the summer holidays, colouring, watching cartoons, playing at the beach, in the swimming pool, decoding everyone’s mobile pins and using up their data plans, hijacking the ice-cream vandi and not letting the lady move until somebody bought them ice-creams. I whiled away the holidays contented not to have to sit through homework time. We happened to go on a small vacation at the beginning of the holidays in April. We were going to a dear friend’s wedding in Chidambaram and we decided to turn it into a mini vacation. I’ve been waiting ever since to share some of that experience here with you guys. This is a photo-heavy post. Please be warned. I don’t know if you know that I am mad about antique stuff. Antique rosewood tables, grandpa clocks and typewriters make me weak in the knees. Dressers and Almirahs make me dizzy. Brass vessels, high ceilings and cane armchairs make me babble in joy. This particular vacation had most of these elements, which is why I thought I had to share. There is a small heritage bungalow just off Chidambaram called “Lakshmi Vilas Heritage hotel” that must have been some zamindar’s place long time ago. It has been beautifully converted into a heritage hotel complete with “Ammi kallu” (traditional grinding machine of Tamil Nadu) and Ural and Ulakku lining the corridors, the reception desk at the entrance set beside a large spacious thinnai, a wooden swing at the far end and a couple of employees stretched out beside it. The staff were all one family, really. The receptionist was a petite girl in her early twenties from the same locality. The security cum general helpers were...

Appam and Stew on the mind | Holiday in Kerala

Suitcase loads of clothes washed, folded and arranged in cupboards, suitcases shoved back on to the paranai (loft), tired and exhausted but looking forward to the grind, to thinking of what to cook tomorrow. Can you say I’ve just been on a holiday? After a week of winding through Kerala’s highways, up mountains, down gravelly goat tracks, getting stuck on muddy, slippery paths and having a large group of toddy high Malayalee chettas heave the XUV forward, staring at google maps all day, legs cramped and butt sore, crashing on to the hotel bed every night dreaming of Puttu, egg curry, Fish moilee, Appam and vegetable stew… All I want to do now is stretch my legs and then make some Appam and vegetable stew. I lost one and gained 2 (kilos of course). I painstakingly lost one kilo after weeks of heavy restraint and mild exercise and then I went on this holiday. I ate my way through kootu curry, puttu, egg curry, karimeen pollichathu (spiced fried whole fish), Kerala chicken roast, Malabar biryani, Chemmeen Ularthiyathu (prawn roast), Fish Moilee, Appam, vegetable stew and unlimited papadams. Appam and Vegetable stew Everyday! Oh My, I love Kerala food. I am hopelessly smitten. I can’t get over the delicious food. I am going to have to make all of these at home. I got in the swimming pool and unsuccessfully tried to invoke my muscle memory and realized my muscles are as absent minded as me. I don’t know how I swam as a little girl. Did I? I am beginning to doubt. I can’t get my head into the water without flaying my arms, gasping and freaking out. I just can’t swim. But I can get tanned. I returned home cast ironed (not bronzed). Wayanad was one of our destinations. It is a nice, quiet place, beautiful when rainy and pleasant otherwise but a bit of a bore for me. It has the usual touristy spots that plague most hill stations – lots of view points – different angles of the same mountains – maybe of interest if you are the selfie type and you want to choose the best selfie from the different angles or  if you are nature person and if you are not afraid of heights. I am selfie challenged and shit scared of heights. There are a couple of waterfalls (some of them closed to public),...

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