Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Surprise visit to my Parents' Place

It was one of those days wherein Bangaloreans get an extra day off, in the name of Kaveri Bandh. These bandhs have been a ray of hope for many including me, since my childhood, to get some time off and laze with family. During my boarding school days, we would wait for the bandh to be called, in order to head home for an extra "month-end" holiday. Month-end-hols is a term framed by Xavierite boarders. It is a term that originates from the fri-sat-sun weekend holidays the hostel used to provide the students. It slowly became the word we used for any three days weekend holiday we took. 

As I read  the newspaper that day, I knew what I was going to do next. Month-end holidays at parents, it was. Only difference this time, I did not inform my parents that I was visiting home and they were not picking me up. It was going to be a surprise for them.  SO EXCITING. I immediately called my cousin, who lives in bangalore, and discussed about my plans for the weekend. He agreed to visit his estate too, and we decided to go in his car. Now my plan was set. No one knew about it except for me, my cousin and my sister. 

Vani Vilas Sagar Dam 
On Friday evening, I parked my bike at my cousins place, and we left for my hometown. Hiriyur, is a small town situated on the Bangalore - Pune NH4 highway. It is about 160 kms from Bangalore. It is renowned for the oldest dam in Karnataka, Vani Vilas Sagar Dam, called fondly as Mari-kanive by the locals.

Mari Kanive - The water resembling the Indian Map
The dam was built over the Vedavathi river and was the first dam to be constructed by Dr. M.V. Vishweshwaraiah in Karnataka under orders from the Mysore Maharaja. The goddess Mariamma is said to be the protector of the dam, and is worshiped by the people of the town. The name, Mari-Kanive is a  portmanteau from the words, Mari - the goddess and kanive - meaning dam, in the local tongue. 

View from the Dam

View From the park on the hill

The man made park on one of the hills of the dam
We reached hiriyur at about 10 p.m.  During my usual night phone-call with my mom, I had told her I was on my way back from the lab and it was drizzling, here in Bangalore. She believed it, It was the usual conversation I have with her and she din't smell anything fishy. I called my dad to pick me up from my cousins estate. He came immediately. He was at his weekly Rotary Club meetings. Every Friday they meet, discuss about future plans and have dinner together. My dad has been associated with Rotary since his early 20's. My Dad is 60 now. His humanitarian efforts, has been very influential and inspiration to me. 

View from the terrace, at home. 
Once my Dad arrived, my cousin and me decided to surprise my mom. Dad didn't show any facial emotions when he saw me there, he is a man whose feelings cannot be read. However, I knew he was happy by my visit.  When we reached home, I knocked on the door. My mom called out asking, " Who's it?"  in Tamil. I replied saying, "Amma, Its me".  She dint respond for few minutes. She assumed she was in a dream. After about 7 minutes or so, she peeped through the window to assure that it was indeed me. The joy I saw in her eyes that day was incredible. She hugged me and said, " You should have informed. I would have prepared good dinner"

Moms Love. Home food. 
That night, I was so thankful that I had such loving parents. My Amma and Appa were overjoyed by my visit. I stayed back in Hiriyur for the next three days. Month-end holidays it was. During my time there, I had delicious home food that included dosas, idli, vada, boiled rice, dal curry, rasam, chicken curry, Madike Chicken, my moms special KFC chicken and few sweets like kadlai muttai and boondhi. I was lazing on the sofa with the remote on one hand and snacks to munch on the other, like everyone would envy. Life at my parents is a bliss. Its the place I wish to go every time and every day. 

Newly planted arecanut trees at the estate. 

 I love driving around here and to my estates. Driving in the country side is so much more peaceful and enjoyable than in the traffic-ridden cities.  Most of the roads are single roads with no traffic lights.  However, with the migration of more people from villages to the town, there has been a huge rise in the traffic inside the town. The municipality has recently been upgraded to "Nagarasabha" which means city limits.  With the funding from the government coming in, there has been widespread cutting of trees to widen the roads and to provide the infrastructure for the town. Though I support modernization , I am quite saddened by the town having to loose its charm. It is getting "Bangalorized" , as my dad says. 

Driving along the country side.
My visits to my parents, always invokes the childishness in me. I feel younger, protected and more carefree when they are around. My other activities included, playing in the river water, trekking inside the coconut plantations, playing with the estate dogs, driving the tractor and helping or rather distracting the helpers in the estate. 

Sunset at my dad's coconut estate.
The river brook separates two portions of the estate.
Three days of calmness and relaxation is what I experienced. Isn't this what we crave for in the metropolitan cities ? We pay so much just to relax. But, here in Hiriyur, I was relaxing with nature at its best for not even a penny. It was love, care and nature. This is the power of the countryside.  Given a choice, I would definitely choose staying at my parents over going back to work. Every one loves to laze, don't we :D

Dad on the river bank holding the first coconut from the new estate.

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