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Tuesday 19 December 2017

Holiday at Shiny Valley - Chapter 1

Neel and Varun are not too happy about spending their holidays in the remote and peaceful Shiny Valley at their grandparents' home with two pesky cousins for company. An afternoon spent turning over things in an old trunk, changes the quiet holiday into something else.

Do read this three chapter series, Holiday at Shiny Valley

Chapter 1: Cozy Nest

Nina was ecstatic! She had won a week long, all expenses paid trip for two to Bali! But what about the kids? It was their vacation time. Hmm, sending them to her parents’ place was the only option, this was too good an opportunity to let go. Bali…a dream come true! 

Nina and Nik broke the news to the kids. They’d be spending their holidays at Grandpa and Grandma's place in Shiny Valley tucked away in a remote corner of Coonoor. Thirteen year old Neel and ten year old Varun loved it when the grandparents came visiting them in Mumbai, but they were not particularly happy about staying at Shiny valley that was so different from what they were used to. Nina assured them that their cousins, eleven year old Mili and nine year old Reya who lived nearby would be great company for them. All the same she felt guilty that they would be away holidaying in Bali while the kids fussed in the old place, driving the grandparents nuts!

Neel and Varun were super excited to see Aunt Leela, mom’s sister and her husband, Uncle Ray at Coimbatore airport. They were dying to tell them of their first ever, parent-free air-travel. Neel poked Varun when he was about to tell them about how they nearly drove the air-hostess crazy by repeatedly asking for soft drinks. Aunt Leela smiled and informed them that their cousins were waiting eagerly to meet them.

After a three hour long drive, they reached the remote Shiny valley and finally arrived at the quaint one storied bungalow, “Cozy Nest”. The boys got out of the car and inhaled the cool air laden with the fragrance of Eucalyptus trees. They were welcomed with hugs and smiles by the grandparents and the old caretaker couple, Charan and Bani who lived in the tiny outhouse helping with the gardening, cooking and other odd jobs. Mili and Reya came down rushing from the first floor and hugged the boys who awkwardly pushed them away. The girls had cajoled their parents to let them stay with the cousins. What a pandemonium it was with everyone talking all at once! Aunt Leela and Uncle Ray soon left for their home a few kilometers away.

It was long time since Neel and Varun had been to Cozy Nest and they wanted to explore the entire house immediately. The faithful cousins, playing host followed them everywhere. The bungalow had a small shaded portico with rough stone sit outs, perfect for spending leisurely hours chatting or simply reading. The ground floor housed the pretty living room with lots of artworks painted by Grandma and heavy old wooden furniture. To the right of the living room was the cheerful dining area cum open kitchen. On the left side, a corridor from the living room led to the grandparents' bedroom. A central, sturdy wooden staircase padded with soft carpeting led up to the first floor into a large open space – The Den. The den opened into a large terrace through large French windows and had a grand view of the front garden and the winding road leading up to Cozy Nest. On either side of the den were bedrooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. The den had comfy easy-chairs, an electric heater and a large bookshelf with Grandpa’s collection and also all the books Nina and Leela had collected in their childhood. 

The garden was Grandpa’s pride where he grew beautiful flowers and a tiny kitchen garden for Grandma with Charan’s help. The girls were eager to show the boys the cowshed with its new addition - A fortnight old calf. The boys were thrilled to see the little brown calf that was tottering around its mother. “What’s his name?” asked Varun. Reya giggled, “It's a she, her name is Devi. She loves to play with us, come on,” as she tugged at Neel’s arm. But the boys were too timid to go near the animals and simply wrinkled their nose at the smell. “Eww, it’s so smelly out here! Let’s go in, we have to show you the gifts mom has sent for you two,” said Neel importantly.

Back indoors, Varun went to Grandpa and asked, "Grandpa, what is the wi-fi password? I have to show you my web album with pictures of my car collections back home!" "Sorry sonny! We have no wi-fi or computer here. We do have TV but most of the local channels we receive here might be a bit boring for you," said Grandpa.

Neel and Varun's faces fell; they couldn't believe it! No wi-fi for a whole week? Mom never warned them about this! Evil Momma, how could she just abandon them in this old place with no entertainment?! And drat those two wimpy girls, who always wanted to play Scrabble or Dumb Charades!

Grandma saw the wan faces and cheered them up saying, "Now who wants to taste these crispy, hot pakoras? They are fresh off the stove. I bet they'll taste delicious with the tangy tamarind chutney." Sorrows forgotten the kids dashed into the kitchen to grab the delicious treats, gobbling them up ravenously.

Chapter 1: Cozy Nest >> Chapter 2: The Den >> Chapter 3: Things get exciting

Read other stories from Nina's World: Click on tag/label #NinasWorld 

Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

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