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Year 2009

Why am I writing about Year 2009 in 2019?

Well, as it happens, I’ve completed ten years at my current place of employment. During the celebratory spring-cleaning of my laptop, the 3rd one in this office, I discovered 10 years’ worth of pictures. I backed up the pics promptly on google, but then I thought it might be a good idea to back up my memories as well by penning them down. So here goes….

2009. The year of global recession. While people were being laid off all over the world, I chose this year to return to regular work after being a freelanc writer for nearly two years. Fortunately for me, as part of its recession-battling drive, my new company was trying to prune down earned leave accumulations of all existing employees by giving them compulsory time off for one week each quarter. As my husband was also in the same office, we turnd this into an opportunity for making multiple trips across the country.

Jan 24 – 26 to Byasi and Rishikesh

The first trip of the year was to Byasi (near Rishikesh) with my husband and son. Although we have traveled to this region many times, this was the first time we stayed at a camp. We stayed at Camp Five Elements, along the River Ganges. What stands out in my memory about this trip is my first experience with a camp toilet, a dry-pit one with a Western-style commode over the pit. Although the tent surrounding the toilet was securely zipped up, I remember feeling very vulnerable.

May 1 – 10 to Kayamkulam, Kerala

Just before joining my new company, I made a solo trip to Kerala to visit my parents. At the time, I thought I might not get time for a 10-day vacation till the next year, little knowing that my company was planning to give us all mandatory time off.

May 23 – 25 to Ambala

This was a weekend trip with my husband and son. My brother-in-law was posted in Ambala at the time, and we stayed at his place. My son and his son are best friends, and the trip passed quickly. We sampled goodies from various restaurants and dhabas, including the “Mashoor” Puran Singh dhaba near the cantonment area. There were many Puran Singh dhabas, each claiming to be the original one. I’m not sure whether the one we visited was original but the butter chicken was good enough . The highlight of the trip was a drive to Kasauli and Pinjore Gardens.

June 20 – 22 to Rishikesh

Another weekend trip – a quiet trip to the Rishikesh with my husband and son. This was our second visit to Ganga ji this year.

Contemplating the Ganges, each in his own way

July 03 – 12 to Pune

This was the first of the mandatory time offs. We landed at Mumbai in the evening and stayed the night at a friend’s place. The next day, we split up for the trip. My son and I, along with a friend who was stationed in Pune at the time, set off to Khandala and Lonavla, while my husband went to another friend’s place at Pune. However, my son soon got bored of only female company. So the next day, my husband picked up our son and returned to Pune, while my friend and I continued to Mahabaleshwar. We spent a couple of days in Mahabaleshwar. The rain accompanied us throughout. I loved it, but my friend hated it….she had slowly turned against the rain gods during her stay in Pune and was missing the Delhi sun terribly. From Mahabaleshwar, we returned to Pune and we spent the rest of the trip exploring Pune and meeting other friends there.

At the beautiful Dina Hotel in Mahabaleshwar

Aug 14 – 16 to Bhimtal and Alchauna

Independence day trip with my husband and son. We’d hired a car for the trip but it was not in good condition, and we were plagued with breakdowns throughout the trip. The first breakdown was near Choti Haldwani, aka Corbett’s village. We passed the time by visiting Corbett’s museum.

Corbett’s village

Bhimtal was beautiful, as ever.

We also visited my husband’s mother’s hometown in nearby Alchauna.

Sept 26 – 28 to Haridwar and Rishikesh

Our third trip of the year to Rishikesh region. This time, my brother-in-law and family also accompanied us. We stayed at his company’s guesthouse in Haridwar and at the GMVN resort in Rishikesh. The highlight of the trip was watching a group of local boys diving off from a cemented platform into the Ganges. Our kids watched, learned, and followed!

Rock on!

Oct 02 – 04 to Chilla (RajaJi)

Our fourth trip of the year to the Rishikesh region – this time to Chilla (aka Rajaji National Park) with my sister and family. The national park is beautifully preserved and is a good place to unwind and relax. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps marked this trip. While it all seems funny now, I remember feeling quite anxious at the time. I think this trip deserves its own post.

Oct 17 – 19 to Byasi (Five Elements Camp) and Rishikesh

The final trip of the year to Rishikesh region with my brother-in-law and family. This was a Diwali trip. We normally celebrate Diwali at home. But as my husband’s uncle had passed away that year, we were not celebrating Diwali and decided to go on a trip instead. The rest of North India kept off the roads and we reached Rishikesh in record time. However, it also meant, we didn’t find any open restaurants on the way and reached the GMVN resort quite hungry. We explored the bylanes near the GMVN in Muni ki Reti and finally found an open sweet shop. We decided to get a kilogram of gulab jamun packed. Just as the sweet shop owner started to pack, I had my doubts and asked him to give one piece for tasting. My son ate half the piece and pronounced it wonderful! I was a few seconds late in biting into the other half…..it was completely stale and had a funny odor as well!

To this day, we tease our son for his sense (or rather absence) of taste, and this trip is referred in our family history as the “sada (rotten) gulab jamun” trip. It also explains why my son was a non-fussy eater throughout!

Dec 04 – 06 to Jim Corbett

Corbett is another of my family’s favorite haunts. This time, we went with my husband’s best buddy and his family. This trip was different from our previous Corbett trips. We usually stay at The Hideaway Resort, which is outside the forest reserve area, though very near its Garjia gate. This time, we stayed inside the forest reserve, one night each at the forest rest house in Gairal and Sultan. We saw a wild tusker elephant, a few wild boars, and several kinds of deer.

Dec end to Kayamkulam, Kerala

Another visit to my hometown, this time with my husband, son, and father-in-law. This was the last mandatory time-off of the year.

Categories: travel log

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Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure.
In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on.
As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more.

Write to me at leenatpandey@gmail.com.

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