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Getting away: Up in Dharamsala

Family vacations are things you dream of when the work piles up and deadlines threaten to obliterate all possibilities of sleep. Getting away from it all in the company of people you are comfortable is a great way to destress and to do it with kids gives us the opportunity to see things from their uncomplicated and ever-excitable perspective!

Yesterday was one hell of a day for us. We started from Gurgaon at four thirty am, quite a feat with four adults and three kids aged 4,5 and 9! All three of them were bright and chirpy, thankfully. Making good time, we crossed Delhi in an hour only to hit a snag when Mishu’s car had a tyre bust. Not ones to lose steam, the rest of us carried on to Murthal in our car and ate a leisurely though super early breakfast while a replacement car was arranged etc. only about an hour later than schedule, we were back on track, driving straight through to Chintpoorni, where the climb towards Dharamsala begins. Of course, the kids car hopped a bit, so there were short handover stops. They sang songs, playing some sort of Antakshari, with our inputs. They played ghar-ghar, with strange role plays that left us bemused. We invented code names and played a game with Rahul giving them instructions that they must respond to only when their code names are used, without ever responding to their real names! Great fun, with all of us collapsing in giggles!

At Chintpoorni, we stopped to say hi to the resident goddess, who promised to fulfil our wishes, whatever they may be. The experience of wading through throngs of devotees, responding to touts selling Prasad and blessings was amusing and thankfully not too stressful. Mishu introduced us to ‘uncleji’s’ bun-paav and we were off again, stopping a bit to feed the kids a proper though late lunch and then driving straight on to D’sala. The hills gave us a fitting welcome, with a wonderful show of rain and thunder. Temperatures dropped and all of us, up since early morning with barely a wink of sleep on the way, were refreshed and excited to be here. It had taken us 12 hours to do the entire trip, each minute enjoyable.

The numerous pics I took are locked inside my Nikon for now, but I am sharing some shots of the Dhauladar range as I see it this morning after a good night’s rest, from my room at Blossoms Village Resort.

We’ve had a number of friends writing in via mail and FB with some great tips for how to spend the next few days here. Will get back to you on what we decide to, and how it went!




The liberation of leaving town- March 17, 2012

There is something particularly relaxing about leaving town. Today, we drove out only about half an hour to a friends farmhouse for a birthday. We drove through a bustling little town and a couple of sleepy villages. The green fields, the trees, birds and the rocky outcrops of the Aravallis came next. With every few kilometres, I felt my heart rate drop and my senses open up more.
At the farm, the children revelled in the simple pleasures of the outdoors. Climbing, running around, setting themselves simple challenges, it was a sheer pleasure to watch and be a part of. The hostess had gone a step further and organised some extra entertainment, calling in a potter from the village nearby, a horse to give kids rides, besides a funny duo who blew balloons, painted tattoos and showed magic while getting utterly bullied by the children.
The farmhouse itself was delightful. Landscaped but not manicured, some real veggies and fruits, lots of flowers. No loo and the kids seemed to even enjoy the experience of peeing in nature!
Kudos to all city dwellers who invest their money and their time (which is a lot tougher) to nurture a getaway. I especially admired this family for keeping it a simple wholesome experience that their children are an integral part of.






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