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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Holiday Ahoy! - Part 2

Read Holiday Ahoy! - Part 1

The alarm went off at the designated hour, but alert Nina was up before it went off! She could hear its particularly nasty and tuneless tempo even from the bathroom; set specifically to awaken the dead....at least the normal dead! Finally she came out of the bathroom and switched it off.

'Herding time once again', she thought while prodding Nik vigorously and proceeding to wake up the little Kumbhkarans.
After a quick shower, the groggy boys and the chirpy mom soon made their way to the restaurant for a quick 'bite'! The 'bite' of course turned out to be a full-blown event, in fact the resort's brekkie was touted to be one of the best around...so one couldn't miss that could they?!

Pretty soon the Dev family was so full that it necessitated an urgent visit to the room and its washroom!

"Tring,Tring" It was the room's intercom. "Hello, yes it is. Yes, please hold the bus, we are on our way, just 2 minutes and we'll be there!" Nina said to the receptionist. 
The family hurried on its way and was soon thankfully ensconced in the sleek tour bus replete with reclining seats and curtains for the boys to play truant with!

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The bus's only other occupants were an aged foreign couple who smiled benignly at them, amused by the antics of the brats.

Nina went over to the driver, a friendly Goan named Joe and informed him of their tour preference: Of visiting only one beach instead of the half a dozen listed on the itinerary, skip all churches except one and so on!
The driver nodded happily and said,"You ask duh udder people if dhey olso don wanta see, dhen toh no problem men!"

Nina smilingly went over to the lovely old couple,"Hey, I am Nina, that's my husband Nik, and my kids Neel and Varun. Nice to meet you. Where are you from?" 
The lady replied in halting English,"I Denise from Denmark. Spik leettle Engleesh. This Peter my new husband. We on honeymoon."
"Oh, how sweet!" gushed Nina and added, "I was wondering whether we could cut short the long tour, it is pretty boring, same kind of places, let's do only a few important places, hope you have no problems....?"
The wizened old lady replied, "Oh, no, no, no....v must see all places, very vunderful I hear!"
Nina persisted, "But they all look the same, no difference, it will be a waste of time.." 
"Oh, psshaw! V luv same, same look place don't we Pete?" replied Denise the Dane with a ringing  finality to close the discussion!

Crestfallen Nina reported back the latest debacle, that would set back their day's schedule by more than half the day....and all of them groaned!

The rest of the journey, the oldies totally ignored them and gone were the indulgent smiles! The family drearily made their way in and out of the bus, every ten minutes, the Danes had added a few more undiscovered beaches and churches to their list of 'Must-see places in Goa' researched from the  Lonely Planet or whatever! They spent hours posing cozily for selfies in each of the locales! Joe the driver happily pandered to their whims as he surreptitiously pocketed the Euros they slipped him! 'Athithi Devo Bhava' Nina kept chanting to herself, in between gritted teeth!
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The kids and Nik squinted tiredly at the camera trying to smile and pose for Nina. "Didn't we come here just a few minutes back mum?"wailed Varun.
Finally the day was drawing to an end and they had still not made it to any of the places of their choice. 
Nik went to check with the driver Joe, who cheerfully replied,"Oh dat? We do dat tomorrow no? Todday too late men!"

And so they returned wearily to the room, to wash off the grime and sand of the tiresome day. 
Ahh...lovely house-keeping staff, had cleaned up the room, plumped up the pillows and laid fresh, crisp sheets on the expansive beds...this was heaven!

Nina sank into the tub to soak her tired body into its deliciously soothing, scented foamy warmth and scowled thinking about the insufferable Danes. As she delicately flicked the foam off her fingers, she thought dreamily,"Ohhh....I wish I could spend the whole day doing nothing....that would be so lovely!"

Yes! That was just what they needed: To do nothing, just relax and soak in the pleasures of the lovely resort and its various attractions!
Nina jumped out of the tub and hurried to share her exciting 'No-Action plan' with her family. The children and Nik lustily cheered her breakthrough plan with loud whoops of joy!

The next day, the family enjoyed the best day of their lives doing the things they loved the most, which was basically - doing nothing besides eating, sleeping, eating some more, swimming in the pool, matinee show in the mini-theater watching Steve Martin in the rib-tickling 'Pink Panther', playing on the beach, swinging in the hammock beneath the coconut trees and capturing umpteen shots of all these happy hours of undiluted bliss!

Nik fondly placed his arm around Nina, "Babe, we really must do this again, this is so totally relaxing!" Nina rested her head on his shoulders and nodded in agreement...yes, totally, completely, their ideal kind of holiday: Holidaying on the beaten path and loving it!

Time to get back to reality. The holiday was over and it time to get back home, Nina hurried about, collecting souvenirs from the lovely hotel room. 
"Hmm, tea, coffee, milk powder sachets in, note pad, pens, pencils, matches in...Neel, Varun! Go pick up all the dental kits, soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer bottles from both the bathrooms kids, its all been paid for, no point in leaving them behind."
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The kids obediently pooled in their joint spoils into Nina's have-it-all tote.
The holiday was over but they would be carrying away with them, the fragrances that would remind them of the happy times.

And thus it was that the Dev family returned back to base, making it look more like a railway station and a thriving Dhobi-Ghaat with the washing machine running on repeated cycles! Nina mourned the fact that she'd scarcely worn even a quarter of the clothes she'd carried and hurriedly changed the topic, when Nik gave her his 'told-you-so' look!

Their posts on the social media had created sufficient ripples. Family and friends suitably appeased with gifts of cashew-nuts (hastily picked up at Goa airport) amidst tales regaling all with the virtues of the pristine beaches and lofty churches of Goa!

"Mummy we forgot to bring back all this kind of stuff from Aunt Leila's house when we stayed at her place last summer. But don't worry, next time we go there, I'll not forget! I quite liked that large bottle of Watermelon and Apple shampoo, she had kept in the bathroom," Varun commented importantly as he helped her unpack her large tote!!


Read other stories from Nina's World: #NinasWorld

Disclaimer: All the characters in the above posts are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

Copyright © 2016 KALA RAVI

Holiday Ahoy! - Part 1

Hurray! They'd be going to Goa for a vacation! Whoopee! Neel and Varun were super-excited, after all it was their first vacation to some place besides their routine vacations to the grand-parents. Not that they were not fun, but this time the excitement had escalated with Mum and Dad plotting and planning, poring incessantly on the internet, surveying innumerable sites, before finalizing on all the bookings.

Nina resolved to research the trip with due diligence, to get the best deals. It was kind of tiring to watch all her friends on FB posting brilliant pictures of their excursions to all kinds of exotic destinations. 
Time her family got to bomb the social media with their own set of shots at a destination not very exotic but still undeniably thrilling - Goa! 
And she was determined to do Goa in style, staying at one of the best properties, 'Yess!!' she smiled to herself a trifle guiltily considering the cost of their first five-star holiday. 
She looked at the itinerary:
Day 1 Arrival and evening sightseeing
Day 2 Sightseeing North Goa
Day 3 Sightseeing South Goa
Day 4 Departure
Hmm, seemed made to order for her family!

With all the fanfare justifying this milestone journey, Nina and the kids packed with gusto, two large, two small suitcases and of course two backpacks for the kids and two hand-baggage for the adults for their 3N/4D trip. Doesn't hurt to pack a dozen extra clothes does it? "Never know when you may need to wear the party gown or the zari sari," Nina thought to herself.
Ever-wise since the fiasco of minimal packing that Nik had insisted on their last trip to Jaipur for a wedding! Imagine her horror when she had to repeat the sari she had worn for the phere function, for the impromptu cocktail party later in the evening, just because Nik had insisted on her packing only one sari; after all they were going to attend only one function! She might as well have paraded in her old jeans and tee that she was to wear for the flight next morning, for the kind of disapproving looks the ladies at the function snidely bestowed her with!

A resounding, "Hmmph! We are anti-minimal packing, please don't offer any of your brilliant suggestions!" was her response to Nik's bemused look at the large number of valises parked next to the door, the night before departure .

And so the eager family of four plus the stream of baggage, duly landed in Goa. The kids had been perfect angels, and Nina patted herself on her back for thoughtfully having packed enough packets of junk-food, the tablet, the PSP and other pacifiers in their backpacks!

At Goa airport, the hotel representative stood awaiting them with a placard bearing 'DEV FAMILY' and they couldn't stop beaming at the prospect of the luxuries to follow!
Neel and Varun were practically jumping for joy when they entered the resort's resplendent lobby cum reception, and the parents weren't too far from the same feeling!

They soon checked into the beautiful family suite room with a swankily appointed living room, two bedrooms and attached bathrooms. The kids shrieked in delight when they saw the large bathtub and were soon busy turning knobs. 
Nina took it all in, savoring every little nuance of the room, mentally planning to take pictures of everything. "Heya boys, stay away from snacks in the Mini-bar and focus instead on the stash in your backpacks, these nick-nacks cost a bomb, see..." she said pointing to the tiny Mini-Bar rate card discreetly stowed between a host of Room Service, Hospitality and Tourism service booklets! Good she had done her homework of reading all the possible travel reviews!
Nina checked the time, "Oops! Time for lunch....guys hurry up, Nik drag the boys out of the bathroom, we'll be late for the lunch buffet, it's included in our package."

The buffet was mind-boggling and the family managed to load their plates with everything on offer, an incredible feat! Pretty soon, "Ma, I don't think I can eat any more pasta," groaned Neel. Nina never thought she would be hearing this line from her pasta-crazy son! "Okay, no worry...go check on the desserts, and report back on what you see," Nina sagely advised him while going to get herself a much needed second helping of the wholesome salad for good health and a generous helping of the Paneer Cheese kofta to revive the taste-buds after the salad! 
Nik was busy ploughing through a mountain of his all-time favorite Rajma-Chawal when she reprimanded him,"Oh! Come on dear, why are you stuffing yourself with this boring thing? Try the Chinese Schezwan rice, Manchurian or you could try the Basil and Parmesan Risotto no?" Nik's, "But...I like this", was a lost cause as she dragged him back to the buffet counter! 

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Meanwhile, Neel and Varun had been busy at the dessert counter. After four trips back and forth, they decided they had adequate samples of all the treats the dessert counter had on offer. Nina looked at them approvingly and also suggested getting refills of half-a-dozen items!

By 3 p.m they were finally done. Nina wistfully looked at the dessert counter, now being hastily shut down by the catering staff. She had to admit, she had never felt more full in her life! They all wearily waddled to their room to sleep off the heavy work they had done! "Kids, Nik remember we have to be ready by 4.30 to go for the sight-seeing tour," she murmured just before hitting the pillow.

Out of her semi-comatose slumber Nina dragged herself awake and looked at the watch...it was 5.30! What the hell! Darn! They'd missed the tour bus! She angrily called up the reception to check why they hadn't called them. She kept the receiver down shortly when the receptionist crisply informed her that they had made a couple of calls and when they went unanswered, the bell-boy was sent to their room to remind them. His door-bell calls had no success either, so they had presumed that the family was not interested in the tour!

Nik of course was still in coma, while she made her way to check on the kids. They were fast asleep too, cocooned in the pristine folds of the comforters, lulled by the ambient air-cooling. That was it! They were all too cozy to wake up. She knew what to do. 
Sweating and cursing the three sleepyheads were out of bed in no time after the AC was switched off!

"Come on, do you know we missed the tour bus! How could you all sleep like that? Okay, now we'll get to the pool, do a spot of swimming and then head for the beach," she said stuffing everyone's swimwear into her over-sized tote containing the DSLR, sunscreen, glares, caps, hats etc. 

At the pool, she stylishly sashayed in her new flamboyant tropical sarong, hat and glares, got a large cooling drink and made herself comfortable on the deck chair while goading the boys to swim more or pose while she clicked away! No point of entering the pool and messing her perfect coiffure!

Just as the boys were totally digging the pleasures of the pool, she realized the sun would soon set....wouldn't that make for some awesome clicks? "Boys, out, out this instant, gotta get to the beach or we'll miss the setting sun in its full glory....aww do hurry Timmy! Nik you first!"

The group trundled towards the beach shivering in the beach towels. They were just in time and they managed to pose in numerous angles with the fabulous background of the beach, waves and sun!

Soon the kids got busy playing in the sand, while Nina and Nik relaxed contentedly, occasionally calling out instructions to make the perfect tunnel in the sand mountain or yell a warning to stop spraying sand on all of them. 

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The sun had set and Nina was astonished to see it was 7.30.....time to rock the evening in her new LBD (one that managed to hide all the bulges and still seem chic!).

Again, she had to drag them all back to the room and hustle them to shower when all the three were keen to plonk in front of the wide-screen muti-channel TV. 
She decked herself to the hilt with accessories et al to go with the dress, a heavy smattering of the new foundation, new red lipstick and the piece de resistance - suave stilletos that she barely managed to balance on. 
She proceeded to pose flatteringly in front of the now showered trio and tried in vain to catch their attention! Only one way to do that...yes! With curses the three lifted their eyes off the blank TV screen and focused on Nina's new avatar.

Varun was the first to respond,"Mum, why are your legs so fat and why does your face look scary?" Neel followed it up with,"No, no dude her legs are fine, only the arms look odd, and the neck looks weird!" Expectantly Nina looked at Nik, who was trying to frame something appropriate,"No darling, you look absolutely perfect, only you must be tired, you seem pale and the circles under your eyes seem very prominent today."

"Yes, I guess I am a little tired and harried trying to get you three to move your butts that seem to get stuck wherever they settle! And guys this is the latest fashion, I simply love it, can't dare to wear this back home....so this is my only chance," pouted Nina.

The dinner spread was more decadent than lunch and Nina consciously avoided second helpings to prevent over-stretching the dress fabric along the waistline! Mentally she made a note to avoid wearing such tight fits during dinner or for that matter lunch!

Post dinner they strolled to the beach, singing favorite songs in chorus, much to the amusement of other guests. The gentle salty breeze and the full stomach soon made them very sleepy indeed, as they made their way back to the room. Nina tucked the kids into bed and she and Nik decided to utilize the free Wi-Fi to upload their clicks and bombard the social media with their happening holiday!

Tomorrow they would have to catch the 9.30 sight-seeing excursion. They looked up the tour agenda, skipped the Day 1 agenda guiltily and leafed through Day 2. Hmmm....Baga Beach, Anjuna beach, Aguada beach, Calangute beach, Butterfly beach, Arambol beach
As one they decided: Lets just do one beach, one beach looks like the other; what's the point of visiting six similar looking places? Ahh, they would do the Basilica of Bom Jesus - good for the kids' G.K, the Mangeshi temple for blessings from the higher authorities and the flea markets to satiate Nina's shopaholic cravings! 
'Yes, all sorted, tomorrow is going to be a long day', she thought while setting the alarm for 7.00 a.m!

Read other stories from Nina's World: #NinasWorld

Disclaimer: All the characters in the above posts are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional. 

Copyright © 2016 KALA RAVI