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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Trains v/s Planes- A Dilemma with Kids

Over this weekend, I got to know what it feels like, to be a regular business traveller. Samhith and I spent the weekend at Chennai with my sister-in-law, Sandhya, attending a function at her place. We went by train, leaving Bombay on friday evening, and returned by a night flight on Sunday, as Samhith had to attend school today (Monday). Whew! Were we tired!

Of course, the trip was worth it, because we had a blast ! Shankar's family was all there, as well as friends and relatives, many of whom we didn't remember...The function, a puja to Lord Ayyappa, went off very well.We all enjoyed it. I esecially loved the decoration (ook out for photos ..I shall upload them soon....) Samhith enjoyed the bhajan, and even sang one song !

But this post is not about the function. This is about the journey........

As I mentioned earlier, we went by train, and were lucky to get a good group of co-passengers, mostly 25 year-olds going back home after a conference in Bombay. Samhith made friends rather too fast, and thankfully, they diidnt resent it, and played with him, all through the journey, letting him listen to music on their mobiles, and showing him videos on their laptop... but even after all that, he was really tired and fed up with travelling, and wanted to get off the train... This, in spite of going in a Third AC Coach this time ! I have always enjoyed train journeys and want him to do the same, so I take along loads of books, and play some games with him almost all the time, but somehow he stil doesnt enjoy it. God alone knows how i can make him enjoy train travel a lot more.....

While returing by air, he was quite happy........after all, it is only a couple of hours...... and he asked me why we hadnt flown to Chennai too.... I tried to explain that we travel by air only when it is necessary, and that train travel itself is part of the holiday we are taking, but I dont think he was convinced...... Anyway, now he feels that it is perfectly possible to go to Chennai for the weekend, and asks me why we can't do it every weekend....

Explaining financial constraints to children is never easy, but important, and a task that I have to perform some time or the other. But I still dont know how to g about it..... We shall be travelling again, by train , during our summer holiday, and am already planning out activities to do while we are sitting indoors for 12 to 24 hours at a stretch... Hope this time around, I have more luck, and actually succeed in making him look forward to a train journey..........

All you young moms out there, Please do suggest some games or activities to keep a 5 year old busy in trains.......

Incidentally, here is another thing I have noticed..... Samhith seems happier in the II Class compartment when we are travelling more than 20 hours in the train.... Maybe because he can look outside, buy things from the vendors who swarm around at every station, and in general interact with a lot more people, than he can in an AC coach.

Now, is this something I have imagined, or is is something you too face ? I ask this of all of you, as my husband doent agree... He says that the II Class is too noisy and dirty, and there is to much dirt... Samhith can't possibly enjo it... He says I am imagining things, and now refuses to book in II Class, unless of course, nothing wlse is available.. Please do get back to me with your ideas...........


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To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.