Magical Story….

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them” – Ira Glass

And I believe in it. It is always an exhilarating experience to share stories, many known and some own with Dheer and his friends.

So, as I was shortlisted for the activity which involves story telling with  #ColgateMagicalStories Activity at BlogAdda, I was ecstatic. Colgate had been a trusted brand in my family since childhood. It was patronised by my grand mother and then my mother and now followed by me. And to be involved in an activity with such a brand was an experience in itself.

So, here it goes, our experience of Colgate magical stories activity:

As a part of the activity, I received a nice bright package with a  huge print of Colgate on it. With no clue of what this activity is going to be, we ( me and my son), were curious to explore. The package had 3 large tubes of Colgate paste. Each carton of the paste had enjoyable illustrations on their reverse sides.

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As we cut open all the cartons, there are some characters and interesting facts written about them.

Apparently, as we started our first job of cutting and pasting the characters, we spoke about space and satellites which made me realise that Dheer was apprised with some facts about the same. Some facts that he knew about space:

  • Space is very far from earth.
  • You go to space in rocket.
  • You cannot go to space in jeans, there is a special dress and helmet made for people who want to go to space. 
  • When you go to space, you do not have to go to school. 
  • Ananya, his friend also told him that in order to become an astronaut, he should learn how to operate a remote car so that it is easy for him to operate a space ship. 

After listening to the facts known to him, I tried explaining about gravitational force, for which he countered me with a question: “So, when you want me to read a book, I will not be sitting or playing around, I will be flying around. How will you get hold of me? “

I  replied, I will fly along with him and we can read a book flying around which sounded pretty exciting to him.

As we proceeded with the cut and paste activity, we prepared all the characters given. There were two astronauts, one alien, space ship, rover, couple of planets like Mars, Saturn, Juipter, sun and some additional characters.

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Dheer’s version of the story:

There are two astronauts Dheer and Tworoos. ( This name is inspired from Mickey Mouse O..tworooos!!!) . 

They take the rocket and go to the space. In the space, they find that the sun is troubling all the planets with his brightness. 

One day when Dheer and Tworoos were playing in the space 😮 , they find an alien. They realise that Aliens are dangerous. 

Dheer and Tworoos wear the helmets, go to the sun and request him to threaten the alien with his brightness. Sun accepts their request and goes near the alien. 

The alien runs away due to the sun’s brightness. Now, the Sun realises that he has been troubling all the planets and wants to change himself. 

He goes to Dheer and  borrows his helmet and wears it so that his brightness does not trouble other planets.

Tworoos and Dheer give their helmets to sun and come back to earth. After coming back to earth, they go to their school next day. 

As the sun’s brightness is reduced, it becomes night on earth and that’s how nights started on earth. ( I am sure he adopted this concept from various other stories we read as how leopards got their dots or how crow became dark or soo…). 

And finally he finishes his story saying every one is happy in the space!!! 

After few minutes, he realized that he did not tell me the moral of the story and says

Moral of the story is ” Do not go near bright objects. If you go, you will have to give your helmet to them 😮 “

I am now confused if helmet was the hero of the story or the astronauts :p , but regardless of all these, his extempore was beyond my expectation and it made me realize if given an opportunity, kids can go to a great extent imagining.

Well, we had a great time assembling the characters, building the story and also have stocked up Colgate toothpaste for next few months 🙂

P.S: “I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

3. Out-V-Go: Vandalur Zoo

I have been yearning to continue the Out-V-Go series that I started a while ago.Though I visited a couple of story telling sessions, magic shows, circus could not blog about them. Anyways, leaving behind the passing clouds, I am here with a new post about ” Vandalur Zoo”.

Zoo website: Vandalur Zoo

Address:

ARIGNAR ANNA ZOOLOGICAL PARK
Vandalur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600048
Ph.Off.044-22751089, Fax.044-22750741

How to reach?

Vandalur is very well-connected with trains and buses from most parts of the city. The closest railway station and bus stop are named after the Zoo.

Timings to visit: 9:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M

Working days: All days except Tuesday

Parking : Ample car parking is available. If the parking near the zoo is occupied, there is a new parking lot just closer by.

Parking charges: Rs.20/- for cars, Rs.10/- for bikes

Type of tickets / Charges:

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Let me explain:

a) Ticket – Entry ticket is considered as a full day pass. In case you wish to take a break in between, you are welcome to do that with a re-entry to the zoo at  any point of time during the day.

b) Zoo round vehicle – Depending on the number of members, there are two types of vehicles to ferry us around. Members upto 6 to 8 are accommodated in the battery cars and any team with more than 6 are allotted the TATA Ace.

c) Lion / Deer safari – In a properly shielded bus for about 30 minutes.

d) Camera charges – Cameras in the mobiles are also chargeable. ( Invariably, that means mobile phones are charged, wonder who carries phones without cameras these days??)

e) Cycle Fees-
 
Refundable amount per cycle – Rs.200
Deluxe – Rs.25
Adult bicycle – Rs.15
Child bicycle – Rs.12
Pram – Rs.15
Best time to visit the  Vandalur zoo: November to February ( Only because the weather is pleasant and so you can spend good time inside the zoo)
Our experience:
It was a pleasant Saturday morning and  it was the perfect day to plan our outing the zoo.

We live about 25 kms away from the zoo. We started at around 10:00 A.M from our home and reached by 11:30 A.M with a pit-stop for breakfast.  Apparently, the zoo is crowded in the weekends and this weekend was no different. After parking our car, we stood in a queue for about 10 minutes to purchase the tickets ( Entry, camera, vehicle, safari ) and moved ahead. Card payment is not accepted, please carry cash for the same.

At the entrance, bags are checked. Plastic bags, snacks, food items are not allowed inside the zoo. As we pass through the entrance, there is a beautiful waterfall that welcomes us.

There are direction boards, maps all around to guide us. Once we pass through the entrance, depending on how we want to go around the zoo ( Walk/ battery car / cycles), there are clear direction boards. We opted for the battery car and moved in that direction.

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Since, we opted for battery car, we moved ahead to the car queue. Before the battery car, we decided to take the Lion and Deer Safari so that we can preserve the energy to see the rest of the zoo. We managed to grab a comfortable window seat in the Safari bus, which might be about 20-seater and proceeded. All the Lions were lousily sleeping, it might be a very habitual thing for them every day that the buses come with group of people to see them. There were about 6 lions properly caged.

From there, the same vehicle proceeded to Deer safari. There were quite a good number of reindeers and spotted deers which were enjoying their lunch at the time we visited them. It took about 30 minutes for both the safaris. Once we were back from the safari, we had to wait for about 5-10 minutes for our the battery car.

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This vehicle ferries us around the zoo in an hour by pit-stopping at almost each animal. Since the weather was pleasant, we enjoyed the ride and saw all the animals in close proximity. I need to mention our driver, Senthil was very courteous and detailed us about each of them.

We saw monkeys, chimpanzee, birds, panthers, cheetah, tigers, snakes, giraffe, zebra, elephant ( the list I remember). Overall, it was a nice experience to spend a quality day.

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Points to note:

  1. Cards are not accepted. Please carry enough cash.
  2. Outside food is not allowed. So, I recommend you have a good breakfast and proceed to the zoo. Inside the  Zoo, there is Hotel Tamilnadu located near the entrance, where there are options for lunch though the standards do not seem great.
  3. There is Hotel Sangeetha in close proximity to the zoo (outside zoo).
  4. All the tickets (safari, battery car, camera) need to be purchased only at the entrance. I have seen many people ignorant of this information and walking back to the entrance after waiting for the safari.
  5. There are refreshments points inside the zoo with options of milk, coffee, tea etc.
  6. Things to carry: Sun glasses, water bottles.
  7. Foot wear: Wear comfortable footwear as you might have to walk long distances.
  8. We preferred the battery car as we were skeptical about our kid getting cranky after long walks inside the zoo.
  9. If you are going as a group, it might be good to opt for bicycles or walk to have the maximum fun.
  10. Try visiting the zoo in the cooler seasons to avoid the harsh sun.
  11. One tip to save time: The zoo officials allot a number on first come first serve basis for the battery car. So, it would be a good option to get yourselves a number allotted and proceed for the Safari. By the time the Safari is finished, you might be at the right time for your battery car.
  12. Carry enough water.
  13. Please do not litter. Currently, the zoo is maintained litter free and looks very tidy.
  14. Do not tease the animals.
  15. If you are visiting in summer, do make sure you see the elephant bath time, which is around 3:00 P.M to 4:00 P.M regularly.

Vandalur Zoo is one of the best places to visit if you have kids, if you are an animal lover, if you would like to explore your photography skills or if you would just like to chill on a regular day. Hope this post helps you to plan your trip.

Please check my posts about other Out-V-Go series here

A refuge here…

So, neither was I born nor raised in this city Chennai, but have been living here for past 8 years, adapted to it and adopted by it now.

The initial days, when I did not know the language, when no one speaks Hindi were tough, but, now I am proud to gloriously admit that I can read basic Tamil, speak fluent Tamil. Well, this blog post is neither about how I learnt Tamil nor I am writing a series of learn Tamil in 30 days.

During this course of my courtship with the city , quite often incidents happened which were very funny and left the people around me in huge bursts of laughter. Sharing few:

Incident 1 – At my office:

Call from front office which is in 2nd floor: “Madam, ungala paaka Senthil vandaru” ( Madam, Senthil came to see you)

Me sitting in 1st floor: ” Ok, avare erandhu varatame” ( Here I was supposed to use Erangi varatame, which means, let him walk to first floor, instead I used erandhu varatame, which means, let him die and come)

#%$@!~$%%^&&@@@ – Front office surprised, people around me in huge laughs

Incident 2 – From phone service centre ( when I gave my phone for a service):

Custom service executive: “Madam, unga passport number venum to check your phone” ( Trust me he sounded passport, he actually needed password number of the phone)

Me: “My passport number???”

He: “Yes, Madam”

Me:  Quickly fetch the passport number, still puzzled why he is asking for passport number and call him.

Me: ABCDE12334

He: “Madam, your phone’s passport number” ( U guys have to trust me again, he still sounded passport in place of password)

Me: “What do you need? And why do you need my passport number?”

He: “I need the phone’s passport number!!” (3rd time, I still did not get a hold about this)

He: “It is a 4 digit number to unlock your phone”

Me surprised, shocked and finally feel adopted by the city Chennai

This place Chennai is difficult to fall in love but when you fall, you don’t fall, but raise in love with the city. 

Some traits which surprise me that define Chennai:

  • Having a minimum of 25gms of vibudhi on face is mandatory before stepping out of the house.
  • Stopping by every pillayar kovil in each street, remove your slippers right on the road, and start praying.
  • Wear 2-3 garlands of flowers and ensure that the office floor stinks with heavy fragrance of malligapoo.
  • The best dish in a wedding lunch is the rasam and everything else is okay!!
  • Rahu kalam is the first thing kept in mind even to go out for mundane things like shopping groceries.

But, I also love:

  • The beautifully adorned rangolis as early as 5:00 A.M
  • The multi talented people of Chennai
  • The respect given for various forms of art
  • The city culture, still preserved carefully
  • The British constructions flaunting their beauty

and many more !!

 

A Fairy land

Far away in my wishful thinking, a fairy land exists where

He works, she works too

He mops, she sweeps

He cooks, she packs

He does the dishes, she dries the clothes

He respects her, she loves him

He spends, she saves

He shouts, she calms

She is upset, he quirks

And the unbelievable equation goes on….

Why do you think I said a fairy land?? The human mind is very sporadic. It behaves at the drop of a hat for us to realize our mistakes only later. What a pity?

I am big-time self help book reader and I love collecting quotes, pointers which are very close to our everyday life and experiences. Some of the important pointers to myself are:

  • Be happy you are alive
  • Yesterday is over. Don’t whine about it
  • Happiness is within you. Think aloud, say “I am happy”
  • You are your best friend
  • Eat good, keep fit
  • Count your blessings
  • Keep your expectations low, that makes it easier to handle tough situations
  • When upset, take a break. Look through the window and you will find the nature answering you
  • You live a better life than many others who are deprived of basic necessities.
  • Keep yourself engaged in any activity that gives you serenity

Good to follow? What say?

I am participating in Blogging challenge hosted by Blog-A-rhythm. Today is Day 6.

Today’s prompt: Wishful thinking

 

 

Caught Red-handed

They planned it tonight,

Reached home much earlier than regular,

Ensuring no one noticed, he switched off the lights…

He came closer and admired her beauty

He wanted to grab her right immediately

When mommy opened the door and caught him red-handed

Stealing her chocolate!!!

I am participating in Barathon Challenge. Today is Day 4

Today’s prompt: Caught red-handed

barathon

Fragile lives

He:  “He is no more!!!”

She : “What? Are you sure? You must have been mistaken!!”

He: “ No dear, calm yourself down!! He is no more!!”

She: “ No, you are lying, this is not true” urges her shrieky voice as the surreal truth strikes her soul.

This happened on 26th April 2009, 09:30 A.M in my life. I lost the most precious person in my life, my father.

As I try hard to stop the falling tears off my eyes, I fondly recollect the incredible memories with him. My father was a great human being. He always spread a jubilant aura around him with his great sense of humor. He was forever positive towards every single thing in our lives. Never did he belittle someone, he knew only to see the good, be it a rickshaw puller or his classmate politician.

How can I not write about those days we watched movies together on the first day, those days he ironed my dresses, those days he pressed my legs, those days he dropped me at the bus stops, railways stations. I fondly recollect one instance when I had a problem with my bike, all I had to do was to call him and intimate him the place where I parked my vehicle and get back home in an auto and forget the rest. The next day morning, I would find my bike shining bright right at the same place where it usually was!!

He was an obedient husband,awesome father, great father-in-law, a humorous brother, humble son and a very entertaining friend. I am sure many of them who interacted with him would not agree any lesser.

While we were two siblings, me and my younger brother, I was the prince for him. The day we lost him was the day many things changed for us as a family. All of a sudden, unexpected responsibilities were expected to be shouldered. I had to juxtapose myself to be the pillar of strength to my bereaved mother, my teenage brother. Life took a crazy backpedal and it did seem horrifying.

The transition period from a lovely daughter to a responsible elder in the family changed me as a person and the lessons were learnt the hard way. My perspective towards life, towards hope, towards faith took a major retraction. If I had to take away one point as a learning, I would say I learnt to live in today. Fragile lives!!! Alas!! Only time enfolds it all….

Unexpected tragedies!!! Irreversible pains!!! Impended responsibilities!!

barathonI am participating in Bar-a-thon. Today is Day 3 of the Bar-a-thon challenge

Today’s prompt: Fragile lives

 

Stranger than fiction

Living by the sea
looking at the stars
calming by the winds
hunting in the woods
Chirping birds, naughty squirrels,
windy nights, horny hugs
full moon tides

new moon kisses

Is there a world merrier than this?

I, for one, like many other teenage girls hated to visualize the future.I had a dream island where the order of the day was to live, love and live. ( God knows why I never dreamt of how will I earn the livelihood, well, dream is a dream right?)

Of course, this is fiction and I am sure most of you agree reality is Stranger than fiction!!! and yes it is. In reality, the mornings are driven by hectic schedules, running on the invisible shoes, coping up with the pace of life, competing with ourselves, balancing the work, home and zillion other things go on.

Perhaps, sometimes, it is good to take a break, pause the speed and share some sweet memories and make the moments merrier!!!

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Last week, we had been on a family vacation to Pondicherry where we created some beautiful memories!!! This picture is captured there 🙂
I am participating in Bar-A-Thon challenge. This is Day 1 of the #BarAThon Challenge
Today’s prompt: Stranger than fiction

Chi..pa!!

Yesterday on our way home, there was a self help audio played on the radio and I love listening to such. There was an interesting take away from the show which I am compelled to share  and here I go!!

The speaker in the show says no matter what you are going through in life, develop a “Chi..pa…” attitude.

Let me explain it.

“Chi..pa” colloquially means “That’s ok!!”. We humans are not easy going. We whine on things that are supposed to be ditched in the past or about the things that might happen in future and on which we have the least control of.

How true!!!. So, he says develop an attitude where you take things easily, ignore the mistakes and move on. No one is perfect in this world and we can still live happily.

If the blanket is not folded the right way, if the tooth paste is not pressed at the right place, if the plate is not kept at the wash area, if the toys are not packed up, if the dress is not washed, just say “Chi..pa…” ignore and still live happily with all the imperfections.

Vow!! It made complete sense to me.

The moment of epiphany struck!! I realized most often I tend to argue only because I expect perfection. I expect certain things to be done a certain way. After this, I have decided to try “Chi..pa” approach and make ignorance as my companion. After all, ignorance is a bliss!!

Try saying “Chi..pa” ( You need to say it loud to feel it guys!!) and you will realize what a fabulous lesson of life this is. Would you??

Linking to Daily prompt “Companion”

Vow Summers

So, as my life had been terribly busy with myriad things happening, this space got a sluggard treatment.  Realizing this and being better late than never, I decided to take up a trigger to push myself to write on a regular basis if not daily. After all, nothing except cuddling my little son gives me as much love as this space.

So, today’s prompt on Daily prompt is “Summer”. And I read it as “Summer Vacation” and not as “Summer season”.

Summer vacation revives those sweet memories of my childhood days.

  • That was the time, when we cousins visited each others houses to play, eat, cry and do nasty things together.
  • We always gossiped about the ghosts, stars, played devil games, enjoyed hide and seek in the dark rooms, made Maggie noodles in the midnight and had loads of fun.
  • It was the time when we all friends in the neighborhood had no worries about home works, class assignments. We packed our lock, stock and barrel to the playground nearby and competed in cricket, shuttle, running in the hot sun.
  • Summer afternoons were supposed to be spent at home to avoid the scorching heat and it invariably turned to be ours. We had a gang of friends who were those naughty chipmunks and who loved to experiment making lemonades only in the neighbor’s houses.
  • This was the season of the year when the power cuts were a part of our day and we enjoyed those times by singing songs, dancing to the latest numbers.
  • Those were the days when we did not own a bicycle and we used to rent it out. An hour of the bicycle costed Rs.5/- and my parents were generous enough to approve it all throughout the summer vacation.

As I write all these,it makes me feel that childhood days are wonderful memories in one’s life and cherished forever. Today, as a mother I am trying my best attempt to make it memorable for my son too.

This summer, we visited Coorg for a 2-day trip. We enjoyed an elephant ride, a toy train ride. We visited Hyderabad for a couple of days and had fun eating mangoes, ice creams, making new friends. And we visited the Golden temple at Vellore and were astonished by the massive construction and spent some leisure time on the couches at home and lazied around.

Hope you had a blast too!!

So, what did you do this summer?

Linking this to Daily prompt “Summer”