Two legendary personalities born on the same day (different years though). R.D. Burman and second.... well, okay, should not praise myself, not a good habit. So, it was my birthday again on 27th June, my first one after marriage. As I had small small surprises for Nimit on his birthday, he did not had a surprise, but a planned outing- a trip to Yercaud- a hill station some, 30 kms ahead of Salem in Tamil Nadu, 5 hours from Bangalore. To whomsoever we told about our vacation, everyone supported enthusiastically of the place (I mean, those who understood the name of the hill station at the first place), so we were also very excited as if we have found out the best destination in the world. We started off on time, had really nice breakfast and reached Yercaud also well in time.
Now started the search for our resort/hotel. We followed the instructions for the way to the resort/hotel as per the contact person and suddenly spotted the name- “Cliffton Inn”. The name looks quiet fancy, right? But we were shocked to see that its a small house-converted-to-inn type of place. It could have been just one corner of a big resort. Nimit and I went into a state of shock and disappointment, because, both of us had also checked out its website which gave us an idea that its small but this small was not expected. Anyways, somehow put our luggage there and tried to convince ourselves that its a matter of just one night to be spent there. Next discovery was that our phones would not catch any signal in the room. WOW... my birthday, I am especially expecting calls at 12 o'clock but I would not be able to get any calls.
Finally, got ready and left for the lake, the only saving grace of Yercaud. Opted for pedal boating. It was fun, although the lake was not too big. But the weather was very pleasant. Then the deer park, where there were a total of 5-6 cages with deers, peacock, pigeons (normal pigeons, not the masakkali types), rats, rabbits etc. Thank God, they didn't put crows in the cages. Next, we decided to have nice lunch. Reached Shevroy's hotel which was over crowded. So we again thought that it must be a good place. It was good but I guess was one among the very few decent eating places and so was flooded with people. We stood near a table where a family of 3 was having their lunch, so that once they get up, we could grab the table. OK. So, have you ever had noodles with curd? Let me guess, you might have definitely ate noodles with hands (in exactly the same way as you eat rice with hands)? NO? OK. Then noodles with sambhar?? Don't tell me that you have never done that before. Even I have not done that but that family was doing exactly this. Aunty was forcing the noodles, mixed with curd, into the tiny mouth of her daughter with hands and since the girl was not enjoying the meal, her father decided to finish the noodles, and ate it with the remaining sambhar (from his South Indian meal thali).
Then we decided to cover the remaining points. Ladies' Seat, Gents' seat. Children's Seat, Pagoda Point, Shevroy's Temple- go anywhere, they were just the highest points of Yercaud, overlooking the valley. If we would have gone to any one of them, then also we may not have missed anything. At the last point, my intelligent husband got a bright idea. Rather than staying till next afternoon at Yercaud, lets go to Hogenakkal waterfalls. With that we went down to the lake again and sat there, called our folks and relaxed. Had dinner at the same place. But since we reached too early so thankfully did not encounter another noodles-with-hand episode. Packed chocolate pastries and ended the day. At 12 o'clock, was woken up by Nimit, wished and he handed over the lovely card sent by my parents and an amazing gift by him. I guess, the signal-less resort/hotel was actually planned by him so that no one wishes me before him...
Next day, we packed up as soon as possible and left for Hogenakkal. Throughout our way, I kept on getting calls for wishes. A BIG THANKS to all of you. The entrance was not at all appealing, with Tamilian and Kannad families all over the place with huge utensils, cylinders to prepare food there and have bath and picnic. We decided to have the round boat ride – coracles or paisal (in Tamil) or or Teppa/ Harigolu (in Kannada). The ride was expensive, though. Rs. 150 per head for a boat shared by 6-8 people or Rs. 600 for two people + Rs. 100 for waiting (which was anyways be default). So, it cost us Rs. 700 in total but the ride was amazing, different from traditional boating. On a small island there, you can have freshly caught fishes fried in front of you. They were amazing. For all the pure vegetarian people, it might appear as a gruesome act, but for rest, they were tasty.
After Hogenakkal, we finally reached home by evening. But the celebrations were still going on. Hubby dear got chocolates and cake and then my sis-in-law and her husband also came with chocolate fantasy pastries (yummmmmm). We ordered pizzas and another home made cake was cut in Delhi, with Birthday song sung on the phone in loudspeaker mode. Our guard came with another gift. No, he didn't give me the gift but it came from my parents and brother and sis-in-law- an amazing Fast-track wrist watch. Just as I crash landed in my bed, there came another cake and bouquet, from Delhi. What else should I ask for?
While I lay in my bed after calling off my day, I made up few points in my mind, which I must share:
1.Whenever you go on a vacation, always take other's feedback and book the staying place only on recommendation (don't follow what the website shows, the photographers and the site designers do amazing job in fooling people). If no one had been to that place, look for a hotel which atleast have a spa and other activity area (like TT, cycling etc), just to ensure that it is big enough.
2.Always carry sufficient stock of snacks, as we had, so that if you wish to avoid the noodles+curd+sambhar site, you can go back to your car/hotel and have your snacks.
3.Check all the taps and bathroom accessories before handing over the remaining tariff amount to the hotel people, so that you are not stranded in the middle of your bath for water. Don't ask from where I got this point.
4.Check if your mobile is catching the signal in the rooms, specially if its your birthday...
5.Even if everything goes wrong, don't forget to remind yourself that its a vacation planned by your special one to make your special day the most amazing time with bags full of feeling. This thought will definitely bring a smile on your face and everything will seem to fall in right place.
Thank you Nimit for planning my birthday in such a lovely way and thanks to all of you for overloading me with gifts, cakes and wishes... Love you all....CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!
(Just for summary sake: 5 cake+pastry cutting ceremonies and 4 times birthday song in a single day)