The first day of summer started with an all nighter of binge watching “How to get away with murder” and ritualistically poking Shivani on Facebook at odd hours of the night.
I was pretty disappointed with the way the show ended, but I still can’t stop watching. She makes some beautiful shows, Grey’s anatomy, and Scandal were some of my biggest obsessions.
I finished season 2 of HTGAM and 15 mins into episode 6 of Lucifer my mom walks into my room with a pink toothbrush sticking out of her mouth.
“Get ready we need to leave” stares at me for 30 seconds before walking away.
I didn’t realise we were leaving so early, so I continued watching Lucifer for another 15 mins, skimmed through the rest of the episode and got into the shower. Obviously I’ll finish it when I get back and I did.
We locked up the windows, doors, turned off the gas, checked it twice and once more before leaving, because Paranoia.
We started from home at 7:15 am and I started to doze off on Hosur main road and when I woke up next we were nearing Salem. It was a little over 10 when we made a stop for breakfast, it was a pretty clean and not darshini like, but trying hard to be a fancy, Tamil breakfast hotel.
I scanned the menu on the white board at the entrance and had already decided to eat mini idly and sambar. We sat down, my brother-in-law Manju was in the wash room, so I told the others what I want and went to wash my hands. I like washing my hands a lot, it makes me happy. So when I got back with Manju the order was placed and what the others had ordered was a mystery.
The first to arrive was a plate of Idly, sambar, chutney, and a spoon of Kaseribath. It was clearly my younger sister Renu’s order, she always plays it safe with food in places like this. Of course it backfires sometimes and it did in Mahabalipurum when the idly was sour. The kaseribath was a mystery. Two plate’s of pongal arrived, one was for my dad who turns into a Tamil man (he’s not) for breakfasts in Tamil Nadu and the other was for my cousin Kavitha (my dad’s older brothers daughter). Then a bowl of sambar idly arrived that was passed to Manju (Kavitha’s husband), a second bowl arrived that my mum hijacked from me, and finally mine showed up. FORTY GOD-DAMN seconds later. They all ordered the same because it sounded nice or something like that and there was Kesaribath that came with all of these, like annoying relatives who randomly show up at your house on the day before your most important exam, that very same one you were procrastinating over because it was too hard.
We got back onto the road and made our next stop at some arid area around a windmill farm, 20 kms before Palani. It was a pee break, since I’d sweat most of the water, didn’t have to pee. Got around to picking tamarind from the tree we were parked under.
Then we spent another 45 mins driving till Palani where we stopped to visit the famous muruga temple and to ride a weird contraption that took us to the top of the hill. It was a weird rail of sort that dragged the two compartments from the base of the hill to the top, using a giant motor. Simplified, it was a roller coaster compartment that took you up the hill while you are stuck between three or four people, sweating it out in the Tamil Nadu (TN) heat.
We paid a middle-woman Thangam akka to get us to the top of the temple and back faster than the regular crowd. We paid six hundred (600) rupees per person and we were six people in all. The middle lady was an adorable woman in a pretty, flashy red-yellow cotton silk saree with matching blouse and wearing a string of jasmines in her hair, that was plaited into a braid. The most striking features of hers was a pretty smile, and the kukum bottu.
The temple was a long, never ending journey that came to a halt very slowly. My favourite part of the entire temple visit was the wait for the train to take us down hill. I took pictures of a lot of people who were waiting for the train just like us.
From here we headed to Kodi and as we got closer to Kodi the weather changed faster than my Dad’s mood swings. We reached the beginning of the ghat section, Kavitha and I were staring outside the window. Windows rolled down, face sticking out, mouth slightly ajar and trying our best to not let the motion sickness get to us. I managed to not throw up but Kavitha didn’t last very long. My dad finally stopped after missing half of the scenic view spots and stood at the most boring of the lot to take pictures that looked awful and Kavitha finally puked in peace.
We got back into the car and drove to the city only to spend three hours looking for a room. The room we found in the end when we’d given up all hopes in finding a descent place and just wanted to take any room that was worth the money. We struck gold. We settled in, after my dad downed 2 quats of 100 pipers, we are out looking for dinner. We ate in a North Indian restaurant, we ate chapati, aloo mutter curry, dal fry, paneer paratha, jeera rice, and pulav. All the chapathi’s were hot and it tasted like home made food, couldn’t have been luckier with the food. We went back to the fancy Emperor family suit with three beds and passed out on the unnecessarily bouncy beds.
The next day was a drive to see the tourist spots that weren’t inside the city. We started at the upper lake view and headed to pillar rock. On the way stopped at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics to walk through a museum. It was a beautiful walk inside the campus, my sister and I got out of the museum pretty quickly, I came out first though. We were walking around the museum when this dark, balding man in a yellow grey striped shirt and grey trousers chased me out and we got out of the gate and sat on a concrete stone. The man walked towards us but stood on the other side of the road and was watching both us and the gate. He was there only till he saw an Auntie trying to pluck a rose and was now after her, yelling and barking. The walk down was just as pleasant and the trees looked like they were older than a century, maybe even two.
Then we went to a view point where we watched people take selfies on a pillar in the garden at the entrance to the exotic Berijam lake, to visit which one needs to get permission from the forest department and only 30 cars or vehicles get it everyday.We were late and missed it, so we went ahead to see the pine tree forest but my dad didn’t want to go now, he said we’ll check it out on our way back and made us skip one more spot on the way up. So we kept going and stopped at pillar rock.
It was 11 am in the morning and the rocks were still hidden behind fog, we waited and saw an animal that looked like a red-panda. Kavitha and Manju were bored, were done taking selfies but my parents weren’t so they went out to chill in the car. The fog decided to momentarily clear up to show us two bits of the pillar rock and it looked like the mountain range from Avatar where the flying creatures lived. It was a majestic view of natures grandeur, like a queen in a fabulous crown or head gear. Kavitha and Manju missed the view but we were around the area for an hour shopping flowering plant bulbs and seeds.
My dad wanted see what was above and we went uphill but didn’t stop at dolphin’s nose, golf course, and few places because dad wanted to check them out on the way back. We kept going up and then we started going down and landed back upper lake view. Everybody was pissed but didn’t say anything because they couldn’t dare to, then we got back to the city ate lunch at a Malyali hotel, the biryani was pretty descent, the parota, chetinad chicken gravy were great only the chicken was rubber and the chilly chicken was tender chicken floating in tomato sauce along with onion and capsicum. Lunch was a near disaster.
We headed to Chettiar park that had recently been placed under the townships care, opposite to it is a bungalow that I’d do anything to own, but it’s owned by Vodafone. The park was small, pleasant and not crowded like the rest of Kodi.
We went back to the room spent around an hour resting and then headed to coakers walk for a walk. From coakers walk we headed to the crowded likes of Bryant park. We bought more plant stems and bulbs here, after a walk through the park. My phone started buzzing it was the pedometer app on my phone and it buzzing that it was my latest record of over 12K steps. We headed back to the room, again. Manju and my dad were having another drink before dinner which went on for another two hours, I went to the far end of the room where a bed was separated from the rest of the room by a beautifully thick and dark curtains, while everybody watched King Kong in a hotel room 400kms from home where we had a 4k tv and better food, I passed out in depression in the super squishy and soft bed.
I woke up an hour later and they were still drinking and like all family vacations it ended in an argument that set the tone for a fight arena for the rest of the trip.We went out for dinner to restaurant that was next to Kodi’s only Baskin Robins. I was pretty angry and didn’t eat anything, then they tried to cool me off with ice cream but I still didn’t eat. We headed back to the room it was 10:30 I went out to buy a bottle of water and then headed for a walk around the beautiful Kodi lake.
After the boat house there was a broken fence at the footpath, I saw that sat there for a bit. There was a boat drifting and it was tied with a yellow rope to the broken fence. I was texting this pretty girl I want to date and telling me about the mushrooms there but I didn’t have the time and texting her always seems to help.
I was trying to take pictures of the boat when my phone started hang and the battery was about to die. I put it aside and just sat there and took it all in, but I couldn’t enjoy, the pleasure of being alone was getting killed. The fight, walking away and their anxiety got to me. I switched my phone on and there were a few missed calls, told them I’m walking back and I did. It was my last night in the city and the next morning we were heading to Valpari after breakfast, which was going to be the worst decision we’d made in the entire trip.