Monday, 21 October 2013

The games we play....

One Thursday evening….

[It's start of weekend for residents in the Middle East incase you are wondering...]

“Let’s go to the mall” suggestion was met with cries of “It’s boring, we don’t want to go”.

“But why???” 

“We are always going to malls, it’s soo boring.”

Huh since when….they had the maximum fun out there; there were toy stores to be explored, bookshops to be visited, gaming zones to run amok in, freebies to be collected while the parents were usually found hurrying behind trying to keep up.

I would have been happy to hear this any other time but that day I wanted to go out.

I sat them down and stressed how lucky they were to have parents who didn’t need to be coerced into taking them out.

They looked at me unimpressed.

I told them about my childhood where I was taken out just twice a year.

That got some response.

“You are joking……only twice a year???” Nikita flabbergasted.

“Yes, on Christmas day and Easter……

……to visit relatives.” I added for a punch.

Both looked horrified.

Nikita pretended not to be affected and was like “Your time was different Mama so don’t compare then and now”


“How different” I challenged not willing to let it go so easily. “I was also a kid like you and would have loved to go to a mall[never mind there were no malls then] but my strict, authoritarian father decided we’ll visit relatives and so we went visiting.” I said woefully, mentally apologizing to my father for the way I was portraying him.

Two shocked faces stared pityingly at me and my deprived childhood.

Kids nowadays are funny I tell u….I so clearly remember jumping up and down for joy when my parents planned trips to visit relatives.

“I always obeyed my parents and did everything they told me to” I said grandly.

Nikita didn’t want to hear anymore….I think I over-acted a bit and the lost the bit of ground I had gained till then.

“We don’t feel like going to the mall, we want to stay home. Didn’t u say we’ll rest this weekend, so we want to rest” the siblings on the same page for once.


For a change the better-half & I wanted to go out and these two were playing party-poopers.

“I know exactly why you want to stay home” I said sternly. “You want to play on the tab right….right”

Two guilty faces confirmed my doubts. Well I didn’t blame them. If my father had downloaded 2 new games on the tablet for me that evening I too probably wouldn’t have wanted to go out anywhere. Too bad their mother was not so understanding.

“Alright we’ll stay home but both of you will not touch the tablet….
….or any other gadget in the house for the rest of the day.” I said closing all loopholes.

Two dismayed faces stared back.

Naina opened her mouth to protest but Nikita stopped her and said “Alright we won’t touch the gadgets, but we can read books right”

How could I refuse to let them read books without coming across as petty?

So they settled down comfortably to read.

I think Nikita realised that we wanted to go out more than them and was in her “two can play at this game” mode.

The better-half and I sat facing eachother, wondering what to do. I wanted to go out and by hook or by crook we were going to. What the heck…..I had already scrubbed and cleaned and closed the kitchen for the day thinking we were eating outside. No way was I going back in there to make dinner.

“In all other houses children are asking but their parents are too busy to take them out. Here we are telling we’ll take u out but you want to stay home to play some silly game.” I said in irritation.


You two are so lucky…..even before you say it you have parents who get you what u want. Go on, just look around you, you have everything, instead of counting your blessings and staying happy…..”

“But we do thank God for everything and we are happy…..we just want to stay home and not go anywhere out today.” Nikita says reasonably.


Silence reigned in the house for a few minutes.

The better-half started drumming on the dining table to hide his impatience.

I was hopping mad now.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

“Alright, we won’t go out if that’s what you want. You are right, it’s not good to go out all the time. I’ll make something ‘nice’ to eat and we can all laze around at home”

I discussed the dinner menu with the better-half.

“What do you think I should make for dinner???? I’ve got Rice, Rasam & stir-fry in the fridge or should I make Kanji*???”

The better-half’s fingers faltered for a few seconds and then resumed drumming when he realized my game plan.

The children who were merrily swinging on the recliner till then froze in shock.

“I think Kanji is better because it’s healthy and also it will take me just ½ an hour to make it.” 

The better-half drummed a tune on the table approvingly.

The recliner creaked to a halt.

Sensing victory I pressed home my advantage.

“It's too late to make a side dish but we can have it with some yummy pickle.”

Books lay forgotten as two white faces watched us like hawks.

“Ofcourse if we were going out, we could have had Burgers or Pizza or Chinese” I smashed the point home.

The ball in their court now, we waited nervously.



“We don’t want to stay home, we want to go out….we love going to the mall” wailed Naina.

Game. Set. Match.

*rice gruel

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Review

I got a few mails in the past month asking me for the details of my hotel stay in Rajasthan. I replied to them ofcourse and then I thought I'll also put it up on the blog for your information. Just think of it this way, I'm helping you in advance to plan your trip to Rajasthan whenever you decide to go there. Instead of wasting hours/days/weeks researching on the net where to stay you can straightaway zero in on your location especially when it comes from a ermm...reliable source like me;-).

Like I said earlier we did a lot of searching on the net to locate a good hotel without going overboard or scrimping. We finally zeroed in on three of them Trident, Chunda Palace and one more whose name I forget now. We also had Taj Lake Palace on our wishlist but the prices were so steep that it remained just that..a wish;-). 

Now Trident which is managed by The Oberoi Group had this 'Discover India with Trident' offer which we found very tempting not to mention suited our needs. We could stay at any of their hotels at all the places[if there was one ie] we visited in Rajasthan. The offer was flexible and we could plan our own itinerary. The staff were very informative and helped us make up our minds with all the little comforts they threw into the offer at no extra cost:-).

Front View, Trident, Udaipur
We stayed at the Trident, Udaipur first. Until one reaches the destination there is always this doubt whether we have made the right decision. There was a feel-good feeling as soon as we entered the grounds of the hotel; the architecture & the well-kept lawns won us over in the beginning itself. 

Lobby, TridentUdaipur
The reception and lobby[pic above] were designed keeping the Rajasthani aesthetics in mind and gave us the 'feel' of the place we were visiting for the first time.

Beautiful Corridor, Trident Udaipur
 The door you see in the picture above led to the restaurant where we had most of our meals. The breakfast buffet which was included in the offer was excellent......seriously it was a grand spread with Indian, continental, European, so many choices. The food was warm, tasty and with just right amount of spice. The servers attentive and quick to get us dishes which were not served[like eggs without yolks, waffles, etc] on the table. 
When I scanned through the menu card later I realised ordering A la carte was not a great idea as most of the dishes were high-priced individually, so if there were more than 3-4 people  in the group it was better to opt for the lunch and dinner buffet. In our case it worked out fine because kids below 10 years of age went free:-).

They also had a very good complimentary tea with snacks every evening but we weren't able to advantage of that everyday since we were out sight-seeing most of the day. 

Mesmerizing view, TU
The children really enjoyed their stay here; there was lots of space to run around and play and ofcourse the swimming pool. There were Peacocks and deer to be sighted, not to mention the tame squirrels darting about to keep them entertained. There is also a Childrens Club where they could paint pictures, play chef and try their hand at pottery. The staff were all very friendly & patient with them.

The extensive grounds, Trident, Udaipur
On the downside, the hotel rooms were a bit small but since we were hardly in there except to sleep it was okay and room service was always on hand to keep it tidy. 

Barah Mahal, inside TU grounds
There is a real palace[a teeny one;-)] called the Bara Mahal right inside the Trident grounds. Not a huge place but nevertheless exciting to explore. Seems like it was built by Maharana Fateh Singh in the 1800's for his hunting pursuits. But now it is just a sanctuary for birds, deer, monkeys and reptiles. We climbed up to the open terrace and were able to get beautiful shots of the place and the surrounding areas.

There was also a curio shop right outside the hotel gates which was very convenient for our last minute shopping. When it was time to go to Jaipur we did feel a little sad to leave and contented ourselves by taking pictures, lots of them:-).

Trident, Jaipur
Facing the beautiful Mansagar lake, Trident Jaipur had a enchanting front view. The mountains you see in the picture above are the Aravalli mountains; a beautiful sight to wake upto if you are staying in a room facing the lake.

Trident, Jaipur 
I have to tell you honestly here that after Trident Udaipur, Trident Jaipur was a bit of a letdown. They didn't have a lot of space, the quaint charm & holiday atmosphere which we enjoyed at the Trident, Udaipur was missing. This one was more a business hotel....the kind, people travelling on work would choose to unwind in at the end of a hectic day.

But the staff here made up for it with their service. They were very attentive to our needs...ALWAYS. Any wish of ours was their command, literally. They very often went out of their way to make us especially the kids, happy.
Puppet Show[sorry abt pic qlty]
They also had some kind of entertainment happening most nights. We managed to catch a charming puppet show and a kind of handicraft display. There was this old man & his assistant selling trinkets....while the assistant helped us choose the accessories we wanted, the old man was making the very things in front of our eyes. It was fascinating and Nikita didn't budge from his side all evening. I too watched him make colourful bangles out of resin collected from a particular tree. He told me the name of the trees too but I've forgotten now. It took him 30-40 minutes to make 4 separate bangles & I for one couldn't blame him for the exorbitant amount he charged for them;-P.

Trident, Jaipur
And I have to mention this particular incident which makes us shake our heads even now whenever we think about it. On the last day we were at the bar[at Trident, Jaipur] and the men decided to live it up a bit as it was the end of the holiday and all. I was there solely for the mocktails/chicken tikkas & other tasty titbits;-P. We must have been there for almost 2 hours and quite enjoyed sparring with eachother about the highs and lows of our trip/ culture and traditions of Rajasthan/ the state of the economy and other subjects. At the end when we asked for the bill we were told by the waiter who served us that it was on the house. With various expressions ranging from 'Oh' to 'eh' we stared at him. He explained with a smile that the General Manager of the hotel was there at the bar for a while and he had personally told him to. I groaned thinking about the conversation which he must have heard[which we did more to irritate eachother than out of any belief;-/] while the better-half chided the waiter for not telling us earlier. His logic was that we could have ordered the more expensive bottles if we had known;-P.

And while I'm at it let me tell one more incident and this I tell you was really embarrassing. One particular employee was particularly attentive and served us well and so I decided to tip him on the last day. He refused the money saying it was against the hotel's rules to accept tips. I cringe at the memory could I have been so thoughtless especially when I had already seen the notice which stated that the hotel didn't encourage the practice of tipping individually;-(.

Like I said, the staff at this hotel won us over with their earnestness and their priority that we enjoy our stay with them. When I look back now I realise that our whole trip went off so well mainly because we picked a really good hotel to stay. So very often our entire trip[which we plan so carefully] can be spoilt by an indifferent hotel or inattentive service staff. Thankfully we chose well.

Note to doubtful souls: Nobody sponsored/paid or forced me to put up this review. I just thought it will be helpful for anybody who was looking for a 'very good' hotel to stay with family in Udaipur or Jaipur:-). 

p.s: This was supposed to be a straight-forward review with a few pictures. But I should have known I couldn't keep it short;-P.