Off to the Hills

As we left Chennai behind and drove towards our weekend retreat, a sense of relaxation started to set in.  Now let’s just rewind a couple of hours. Of course, all the things that can go wrong on the D Day took its course. We had packed all the possible things we would need on our trip and planned to hit the road by six thirty to escape the morning city traffic and save on our travel time. But of course, as always, firstly, the alarm doesn’t go off, so we had to hurriedly jump out of bed and rush out to get ready. Secondly,  my daughter refused to wake up and decided that the world wouldn’t come to an end if we start an hour later. Kids! Now what do they know,  except to complain later when we’re stuck in traffic. So finally, when reasoning failed and threatening began,  she got the point. Then of course my son, who couldn’t go anywhere without his cricket kit (and I mean stumps and all) , his transformer toy and all the  bare necessities a ten year old boy can’t live without, had to be packed . Finally and I  mean Finally, after ticking off the check list for last minute things to be done before leaving the house, we managed a group hug (this is a tradition we love to follow just to bring everyone into the holiday mood,  thanks to my dearest hubby) we are in our car cheering in  chorus – yelagiri here we come.

The three and a half hour drive to the nearest hilly terrain, yelagiri,  doesn’t seem to be too tedious,  does it.  Not if you have two kids simply allergic to the idea of  travel. The mere mention of it can spell disaster in our household.  So, right from the minute we left our apartment premises,  the infamous phrase “are we there yet”  was the only mantra we heard for the next 2 hours. Thank god for the music we took along that saved the day. We had downloaded the kids favourite songs just the day before. What a life saver….(sigh).

Another minor abberation to our plan was that the online purchases (which usually don’t arrive without much following up), miraculously began to arrive one after the other at our house right about the time we crossed the city limits. But nothing could stop us from enjoying our holiday plans, we decided, and yanked the music a little louder to drown all the mundane thoughts in our minds.

Soon the scenery around us started changing.  From the hustle and bustle of the city life, we were suddenly in the midst of serenity, surrounded by hills and grassy plains with very few signs of civilisation. The surety that we were in the lap of nature came when we lost cell phone signals and network.. (wink wink).  We could feel the daily routine of hurried monotony melting away and giving way to a relaxed and laid back mind set.

As we drove past the hair pin bends, we could feel the sweltering heat of chennai taking a dip as the fresh mountain breeze started to blow on our faces.

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We were pleasantly surprised as we entered the property  where we had booked a cottage. Nestled amidst greenery, flowering shrubs and fruit trees,  it was just the place we were hoping for. Vast acres of green space with cozy cottages, hammocks and park benches, huge trees, birds chirping, swings, exotic plants, kitchen garden and duck pond,  it was an ideal getaway for my family of four.

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For my artist daughter,  cricket fanatic son,  outdoor adventure loving husband and a person like me who would love to curl up with a book or sketch, this seemed to be a perfect place to unwind. This private property managed by two brothers had everything a nature lover could wish for – including a private trekking path starting from the premises with our own guide,  a cheerful old farm helper.

Day one was reserved for lazing around and nothing else – apart from us trekking to sunset point and a few good games of badminton, followed by a hearty dinner.

On day two, the weekend crowd started pouring in.  Voices of kids squealing and chattering filled the air. A nearby location for adventure sports beckoned. After a couple of hours of adrenaline rush, we returned back to our oasis for a sumptuous lunch. There is nothing like a short nap on a lazy Saturday afternoon, is there?

My daughter accompanied by her sketch book didn’t leave the cottage and my social butterfly son, chased new friends around, played ring ball, badminton and random games and never entered the cottage. Post dinner, a roaring camp fire was an ideal way to wind up a beautiful Saturday.

Day three,  started out with an early morning nature walk around the 10 acre property with Korean grass pathways,  bamboo grooves, trees like mango and guava laden with fruits,  geese quacking, birds chirping and the sun coming up shining brightly. Equipped with a nikon camera deftly around my neck, my hubby and I had a field day clicking away trying to capture the beauty (if that’s even possible) in a vain attempt to relive the moments later. That done, we were ready to leave, rested and rejuvenated.

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