Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kanush's first trek - Fort Bhongir (June 2007)

Things had been pretty quiet on the wheelie front(biking/backpacking group in our office). Some core members got married, some had kids, and others were just plain lazy. So Sushim proposed that we have a short trip to get things started again and to introduce the newly joined spouses/kids. Atul proposed Bhongir or Bhuvanagiri as the locals call it It is a fort that is about an hour's drive from Hyderabad. "It's a pretty boring place, a studio of some sort, the climb is about 100 meters, If we go slow we might stretch it to 10 mins", he said. I wasn't sure I was up to it. Since the Hyderabad half marathon in November last year, all I had done was lay on my back and eat enough food to shame the average african elephant. Consequently I have started to resemble one too with a good 15 kg added mostly around my tummy. However, Pratibha and Kanush needed an outing and I decided to go for it.

The day before we started we decided that Pratibha would carry the kid all the way till the climb and I'll do the climb and descent with the kid and she'll take over after that. The morning of the trip, when we started out, we decided that I'll take care of the kid throughout and she'll carry the backpack. Eventually I carried the kid and the backpack. I really need to work on my bargaining skills. The drive was very pleasant. Started off at roundabout 7 and by 8 we were close to the fort. In continuation of a long standing wheelie tradition, we tucked into the local cuisine at the dirtiest roadside eatery we could find and, as usual, it tasted great. 10 mins from there and we were at the base of a hill we needed to trek to reach the fort. 10 mins .. Atul had said. Pratibha, Anita and Neetu had sandals. Chandini had her floaters on. Sushim and I were carrying infants and the 'hill' was a good 400 meters high. Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay wouldn't have made it up in 10 mins. Point to be noted, scratch Atul from the planning committee next time. Our spirits couldn't stay low for long though. The weather was perfect. Cloudy, so the sun wasn't out, and windy. Anand offered to carry my backpack and we set off. Kanush certainly dint appreciate being carried on a fine trail like that and she showed her displeasure by pulling my ears and kicking my neck. I finally gave in and put her on the ground. Bad move, In a few minutes I was huffing and puffing trying to keep up. "This stretch is risky dear, here, let me pick you up" I said as I grabbed her. She saw right through my ploy and started howling but I dint care. I had lost a lot of races but I had never lost to an 18 month old toddler and if I could help it I wasn't going to let that happen. We stopped for loads of pictures (http://new.photos.yahoo.com/pratibha_meee/album/576460762404246033). And a good 40 minutes later we were at the top. By then I had already run out of strong words to throw at Atul and even if I had any I was wheezing too much to be able to talk. Pratibha, thankfully was in the same state. So she could not make fun of me. The view from the top was magnificent. Green all round. The breeze was strong and rejuvenating. I forgot my aches and pains and whines and moans in an instant. The fort looked no bigger than a 2 bed apartment. It must have been a poor king who built that. But it was picturesque. Kanush and Pahi (sushim's and Neetu's kid) stole the show with cute poses and Kanush even did a little dance for everyone. Soon it was time to leave. Neetu had spotted a resort on the way and we decided to stop there for lunch. The menu was in a top secret code that few could decipher. We had 'plan non' (figured out that to be plain nan), polka (phulka) and what not. It was a varied spread on offer. There was rabbit, quail, goose. Sighting a rat on the rafters, the waiter offered to even cook that for us. We, however had had our adventures for the day and we chose just the regular items. We tucked in for all we were worth, cleaned out the whole kitchen and returned home, a happy, tired group. Sonu has now firmly bitten the trekking bug and I cant be happier about that. As for Kanush, next time, her mother will hold her .. and the backpack too.
Kanush is currently giving me a fine tutorial on the behavior of toddlers. She walks comfortably and all books on child rearing that I have filled my house with are of the unanimous opinion that I should now leave her to explore the world on her own. To do that we take all dangerous objects out of a room, fill it with toys, and leave her to play in it. A month back I left Kanush in an empty room with nothing but toys and a 15cm tall foot stool on which she sits. I had barely stepped out when I heard a 'thump' sound. I turned round to see Kanush on her hands, feet in the air. I started clapping and saw visions of a Nadia Comeneci coming out of my own home. My first instinct was to run for the camera to take a pic, but the thought of her mother, with the kitchen knife in hand, asking me how our baby ended up on her head, wasn't very enticing. Kanush had stood on the stool to see out of the window and had walked straight off it. Fortunately for her she had flung her hands out and she catapulted up to do a handstand. I rushed in and grabbed her legs before she could fall. She liked it a lot, wanted to do it again, even started crying when I took away the stool. Another time we ran into a dog that was barking madly. Everyone was running away from it and I too badly wanted to do the same, but unfortunately my daughter was running straight at it screaming 'bow bow' in an excited high pitched voice. She had never seen a dog that close. The poor fellow, scared by her antics, ran away and so she was saved.