A Trip To Imagica – Beyond Imagination!!

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A few years ago, one of my cousins from Delhi visited us with her kids. I took her to all the usual touristy sites in Mumbai, Juhu beach, Gateway, Siddhivinayak, etc. I also wanted to take her to Alibaug given the attraction a beach holiday holds for non-coastal residents, however she was not too keen on it. She wanted to take her kids to Adlabs Imagica instead. Well, to cut the story short, she went to Imagica with her kids, while I chose to stay behind, my then toddler wouldn’t have enjoyed it, and so neither would I. But, I was still surprised that she chose a theme park over a heavenly 2-day stay at Alibaug. She replied, “When your child grows up, you will realize.”

4 years later, last Saturday, my daughter, now 6 years, and I visited Imagica to experience the wonder first hand. We started around 9 from Mumbai and reached Imagica at Khopoli around 11:15. We took the tickets for all the parks; i.e Theme Park, Aqua Magica (water park) and Snow Park. I chose to take Express passes (which for Rs. 1000 more gives you the license to surpass long queues at all the rides). And God, wasn’t that a wise decision, given the unusual crowds that day, as Imagica has been celebrating Children’s Day all the month round in November.

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We decided to enjoy the water park first. To my surprise, they offer locker facility at a charge of Rs. 150. It is compulsory to wear nylon clothes; swimsuits, dry wear, etc. would do. Aanya had a whale of a time at the water park, and didn’t want to come out of water, especially the waves pool.

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My water baby

There was vigilant and friendly Imagica staff (3-4 personnel per ride) stationed at all rides. As my daughter couldn’t do all the rides there, we finished early and headed to the theme park. There is a free shuttle service between the theme park and Aqua Magica.

Once at the theme park, we lunched at Armada, a boat-shaped restaurant that serves a limited but nice menu. Our tummies loaded with food, we decided to avoid the rides and try the indoor motion simulator rides instead. I for India takes you through the stunning sights of India, but Aanya was not too keen on it (also it’s not recommended for people suffering from vertigo), so we went for Anil Kapoor starrer Mr. India, which through an animated motion simulation form movie takes you through the various rides and attractions of Imagica.

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Mr. India and his car

Though we enjoyed the haunted by lanes and dungeons of Salimgarh, I personally feel it could be made more eerie and terrifying. Alibaba and Chalis Chor was like a real-life video game, and thoroughly satisfying. We missed Wrath of the Gods, which is said to be a sensory delight, as none of us wanted to get drenched again after our 2-hour adventure at the water park.

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Next, Aanya and I sat on various rides like Tubby Takes Off and Splash Ahoy! I liked the fact that I could sit on these rides with Aanya, as she was more comfortable with me around. I would have liked to try a few of the more adventurous rides like the Loch Ness, Gold Rush, Scream Machine, Dare Drop, but we were short of time. May be the next time!

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Steps to the faraway lands

There were many school kids on picnic from some of the popular schools of Mumbai and Pune having fun at the pop jets, licking ice creams and candies.

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We watched the end of the day parade, which is a visual treat while sucking on an ice cream. The last item on our itinerary was to visit the Snow Park. The Snow Park has 1-hour slots. We decided to go for the last one, that was at 6 pm. It took me a little time to make Aanya and I ready in gloves, jackets and gum boots, and so we entered the 50-foot-tall snow dome just in time for the snowfall. It was impressive and the highlight of the day. We indulged in a snow fight, crawled inside the igloo and touched the ice sculptures.

Before calling it a day, we decided to check out the evening lights. Imagica in the evening lights looks magical, straight out of a fairy tale.

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We left from Imagica around 7:30 and reached home at 9:30, exhausted but totally exhilarated by our memorable experience at the theme park. And, I finally understood the meaning of the remark my cousin had made 4 years ago. As children grow up, they become ready for a different kind of adventure. And Imagica, thankfully, gives it all!

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A few tips to note before you head to Imagica:

  • Buy Imagica coupons online. There are various deals available regularly. Find one which best suits your needs.
  • No outside eatables are allowed inside the park. However, you have a choice of 6 restaurants serving a variety of cuisine. The food is absolutely not an issue.
  • You can buy Meal Packs (food coupons) online which are redeemable at any of the 6 restaurants. However, you can use them at carts to buy ice creams, sweet corn, soft drinks, etc.
  • They have locker facility everywhere. Instead of lugging heavy backpacks that would hinder your fun, just make use of it.
  • Imagica is more fun if you have a bigger group. However, if not, try to visit on a weekend when there are more people. Don’t be shocked, believe me, no one wants to go on an empty ride.
  • Avoid visiting in Diwali or Christmas holidays, but if you must, to beat the long queues, I would recommend buying an Express pass for Rs. 1000 pax. It’s totally worth it!
  • In case you forget to carry a swimsuit, cap, goggles, fret not; Imagica has various merchandise shops from where you can buy everything and more.
  • Carry flip flops and a sarong for roaming in the water park. It can get uncomfortably hot even in the winter months.
  • Carry a pair of socks for the Snow Park. The rest of the snow gear jacket, gloves and gum boots are provided to you at no additional cost.
  • No one can stay beyond 20-25 mins inside the Snow Park. Time your entry around the snowfall, so that you don’t miss the experience.
  • If you have adventurous teenagers with you, I suggest enjoying the theme park on one day and the water park on the next, to get the maximum out of your adventure. Imagica boasts of Novotel where you can board up for the night, or there are more options at Lonavala.

Hope, after reading this post, you are raring to check out Imagica, that is at par with many international theme parks! And do let me know about your experience.

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I am buying nothing this Diwali!!

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A few years ago, while going through old photographs of my father, I came across this particular picture in black and white. It was of my young father and his siblings standing together. What was particularly interesting about this picture was the clothes they were all wearing… because they were all wearing the same clothes. The same vertical line high collared shirts and plain bell bottomed pants. All the girls were wearing the same salwar-kameez. On inquiry, my father reminisced about his old days, “Those were the days. Can you imagine, we would get new clothes only on Diwali or on a family member’s wedding. Not even birthdays!”

On looking at my shocked face, he said,”We didn’t have luxury in those days to choose our own clothes. Once a year, that is, on Diwali, our father would ask the local cloth merchant to deliver a few rolls of cloth, the tailor would come home and take the measurement of each child and thus on Diwali, all clothes in the exact same colour, pattern and style were ready.”

We were slightly better off than our parents. Apart from Diwali, we would get a new set of clothes on birthdays. That’s it!

And, today, the scene is totally incomparable. I buy clothes for my daughter without consulting the Hindu calendar. Whenever I feel like or whenever there is a sale (both online and offline), I get new stuff for her. She has more clothes and shoes than occasions to wear them.

While doing my Diwali cleaning, I realized how much materialistic we have become. I have clothes lying in my cupboard with their price tags intact. Our life has become all about acquiring and possessing. More, more and more!

Holding on to this thought, when the big Diwali sales  announced on all major shopping sites, I refrained from buying. Not even a single pair of shoes for me or a dress for my daughter. She is going to wear an old dress on Diwali, and that is alright. Millions of other children do, she will do too.

I want to teach my daughter the true value of Diwali – (no, it is not to buy new things, but) to be content with whatever you have, to share them with others and to find joy in the small things of life.

I want her to grow up not fretting over Diwali shopping, but thinking of Diwali as the festival to be enjoyed with family, friends and the less fortunate ones.

PS: My daughter and I have already taken out a horde of things; clothes (some old and new), hair accessories (even unused ones), shoes and toys which we are going to go on the New Year day to a nearby orphanage and the YWCA and offer to the people there.

Daan Utsav doesn’t have to be limited to a week, it can be whenever you want! So, why not on Diwali, the festival of goodness and kindness!

 

 

 

The Curious Case Of Being A Woman!

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Image: pexels.com

So I had a small surgery last Monday – it was a small procedure, well actually 2 procedures done together – Polypectomy Hysteroscopy with Cervical Cauterization. Big names! And btw, I am fine. Recovering, little weak and easily exhausted, but better!

So it actually started 3.5 years ago, when I started strength training at the gym. I would bleed a little outside my menstruation cycle. As it happened only on the gymming days, I put it down to lifting heavy weights. It happened on and off, but I never paid much attention. As I said, I noticed it on the days when I visited the gym. Also, since I turned 33, I would get an annual health check up done which included complete Thyroid profile, CBC, Lipid profile, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Fasting Sugar and Post Lunch Blood Sugar, Bone Density, etc. And, they were all under control, which gave me little reason to worry about a thing as small as infrequent bleeding (as I thought).

Curiously 5-6 months ago, I realized that the bleeding happened even on days when I didn’t go to the gym. That worried me. Time to visit the gynec. The doctor checked via an ultrasound and showed me a mushroom-like structure having taken up residence in my uterus. In medical terms it’s called Endometrial Polyp. She told me it was big and would only keep getting bigger and acquiring blood vessels, which in turn would burst and bleed. It happens to pre and post menstrual women. It is a cause for worry in post menstrual women who have never had it before as the growth may be cancerous. There is no reason why it happens. Our body works in mysterious ways, I realized that day!

She suggested me to remove it within 6 months to a year, because with the polyp growing, it could pose embarrassing situation for me. So without delay, I got the procedure done. There was no pain before or after the surgery. No stitches either. But it was a procedure that involved many risks to the life if went awry.

Long story short – if I had seen the doctor 3 years ago when I first saw the bleeding, I might have been saved this surgery. There was a chance the polyp could have been melted with medicines.

It’s not only me, there are many women like me who have this easy going attitude when it comes to their health. At the first sneeze of our children we rush to the doctors, while we can bleed to death, we are least concerned. Women’s Day and Mother’s Day come twice a year – the days when all women and mothers suddenly become extremely precious; but the rest of the year, we still need to manage on our own, we still need to fight our own battles, whether they are mental or physical.

My polyp was a small thing; I got away with a simple surgery. But the next time, things may not be that simple or curable. I have to take the reins of my well being in my hands. And, thus I urge you my friends to be more aware of your health too. You make the world (at least your household) work; so don’t take things lightly. Age has got nothing to do with diseases. They can come anytime.

If you are unsure about the slightest thing, get a health check up done, rush to the doctor and get things sorted. Take Care!! Hugs!!

Yes, I’m a Good Parent. My Daughter Gives Me 7 Signals That Say ‘I Love You’!

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Image: pixabay

Being a mother is not an easy job. And, no I am not talking about the sleepless nights, baby colic, diaper changing, breastfeeding, etc. I say parenting is not an easy job because even after doing all these things we are always doubtful whether we did enough…

As mothers, in spite of serving fresh, home cooked food to our children, we worry whether they are eating right. In spite of loving them, we wonder whether we are raising them right and if they are happy. A parent’s life is full of such moments of doubt. If only parenting had come with a guide! Well, it did not and it won’t. It’s up to us to create a guide as we make mistakes each day and learn from them.

There are times when such doubts creep up into my mind too and I question my parenting tactics. But, then I try to remember and give myself the reasons that prove I am a good mother. The reasons that my daughter gives me from time to time. The signals that tell me she loves me a lot…

1. She wants to see me close to her

One Sunday morning when my daughter woke up, I was in the washroom. She didn’t realize that. She started searching for the whole house. She even asked her father, “Where’s mama?”


When he told her I was in the bathroom, she started banging on the bathroom door, “Mama, are you inside?” It was only when I replied “Yes!” that she said “OK!” and started playing with her toys.

The same thing happens when she comes back from school and doesn’t find me home. She immediately calls me to find out when I will be coming home.

2. She seeks comfort from me

Whether it’s a cut on a finger or whether she scraped her knee while playing, she needs me to kiss her and cuddle her. She stops crying as she is comforted by my presence. She knows mama will make things better.

3. She gives me these little gifts

I distinctly remember the day when she was 1.5 years old, and she had gone to the neighbouring park with her nanny. When she came back, she was carrying a raw mango that had fallen off a tree. She gave it to me! She was so happy when I took it from her hand.

She also gets me flowers, fallen leaves or rocks…all for me. She even sometimes makes a portrait of the two of us together and gives it to me.

4. She tries to comfort me, in her own special ways

When I hurt myself, she tries to be my mother and kisses the area to make it better (just like how I do to her). Sometimes, when my eczema flares up and I develop rashes on my legs, she offers to rub cold cream on it every night without fail. She knows that I comfort her when she needs me, and so, when it’s time, she extends this comfort to me too.

5. She tells me her ‘big’ secrets

Continue reading at – http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/yes-im-a-good-parent-my-daughter-gives-me-7-signals-that-say-i-love-you/1291/2

My journey from a fussy mum to a buddy mum

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A sculpture of a mother and children with the words “A Child Gives Birth to a Mother,” Bandra, Mumbai, India.

If you have ever passed through Bandra reclamation, you might have stumbled upon this beautiful sculpture of a child and mother. But, more than the sculpture, it’s the words written on it that will grab your eyes.

A child gives birth to a mother. – Dr. Vithal Ventakesh Kamat

It’s so beautiful and so true! I understood it the day my daughter was born. Coincidentally, it was also my birthday. Yes, my daughter decided to pop out on my birthday. After the delivery, as the doctor was stitching me up, I happened to tell him that it was my birthday that day. He congratulated me and then said these words.

You may be born on this day several years ago. But, today you are reborn as a mother.

However, the funny part is that I didn’t feel that I was a complete mother the very first day. When I breastfed my daughter for the first child, I experienced a wonderful motherly feeling. When I lulled her to sleep, I felt more of a mother than ever before. When I stayed awake nights to nurse her cold, that’s when I reached a new height of motherliness. It was a slow transition, this motherhood. And, no mother achieves it overnight. It happens with time, patience and effort.

Every day is a new journey. Even after five years, every day I learn a new thing. It makes me wonder how I survived all this while. Motherhood is like a part of a giant jigsaw puzzle, and every day, a part of it gets connected correctly. And once a mother, always a mother. So this puzzle will stay with me till the very end.

In this journey of mine, I have learnt a lot of things – from my elders, neighbours, peers, friends, and maids. Also, I have learnt a lot from Khuljaaye Bachpan. As I write for it, I also try to emulate in real what I write. And, that has helped me. Tremendously to be a good mother, no, a better mother.

I was a fussy mommy, like all first time moms usually are. I wouldn’t let my child play in the sand much for the fear of germs and not let her get wet in the rain for the fear of falling sick. I would fuss and fret over small things. But, a year later, though I wouldn’t say I am completely a fuss-free mommy, I can at least confidently say that I have come a long, long way. My daughter now gets wet in the rain (though she needs to take a hot bath immediately) and plays in the sand (though she gets a head to toe wash later).

Recently, we travelled to Goa on the occasion of our birthday. There we rented a scooter, and my little darling was thrilled to bits on standing at the front. She loved the cool breeze on her face and hair. But, that also meant her hair was full of stubborn tangles. The older me would have never let that happen, and would have plaited her hair. But the new me didn’t bother tying her hair. Later, as I was combing her hair, it produced a few tears, but at least she had her fun with her hair down. J

Another incident that highlights the new me took place recently. My daughter loves to explore my mirror cabinet that contains perfumes, lipsticks, nailpaints, powders, bindis and other knickknacks. I usually keep the door firmly locked, because if she finds it open, it becomes very difficult to detach her from it. And, as far as my cosmetics are concerned, they are later found in different states of distress. Now, that day, I forgot to lock the cabinet door. After a while, when I went into my room, I found her surrounded by my cosmetics – her toes were painted green, there was a bindi on her forehead, and her lips were scarlet red. And, then I saw my favourite red lipstick lying on the floor broken.

I was just about to shout at her, when I stopped myself in time. She was all dolled up, and looking a pretty sight. I didn’t want to spoil her fun by shouting at her. Yes, the lipstick had cost a bomb, but my shouting wouldn’t have mended it. So, I let it go. The next moment, I sat down with her, and asked her to paint my nails green too, and put lipstick (a different one) on my lips. By choosing not to make a scene over the incident, I bonded with her.

I am committed to give my daughter a happy and carefree childhood. The Khuljaye Bachpan journey has helped me turn into a buddy mum. And, I think twice before shouting at and scolding my daughter. If things are not important enough, I don’t rake them up. My household is much calmer and happier now.

I have changed, and for the BETTER!!! Though there is still a long way to go…

 

My daughter has taken over my birthday!! And, I love it!!

It was my birthday last week on 21st August. It was my daughter’s birthday last week on 21st August. As well. Nope. It’s not a typo. We share the same birthdate. And it wasn’t planned either. She just decided to pop out on my birthday. My due date was 25th August and she had a variety of dates to choose from – Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami. But she chose my birthday.

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Frozen theme birthday cake!!!

I was ecstatic. I had (in the past) always been very enthusiastic about my birthday. I counted days till my birthday. And as soon as the birthday was over, I’d start counting all over again. Yes, you could call me crazy. So having my daughter on my birthday was naturally the best birthday gift ever; I even forgave her for the painful labour. I thought I had got someone to share my birthday with. We would both share our passion for the same birthday. Mama-daughter!

Her first birthday came. People called, my family, my friends. They called me on my phone and asked for the little one. They wished her, though at one she was totally clueless about the hullabaloo. Then they kept the phone down. What about wishing me? It was my birthday too. So rude!

Next birthday she was still not ecstatic about it. As for me, I wanted her to grow up a little so that we could throw a joint birthday party. Third year, and I threw her a little house party calling a few very close friends. She was excited, not for her birthday, but on seeing her friends and sooooo many gifts.

By the fourth birthday came, she knew her mind. She wanted to invite all her friends and wanted a Ben and Holly cake. And, that’s what she got!

I realized that somehow from my birthday or our birthday it has become her birthday. I have poured the enthusiasm of my birthday into hers. So, when the fifth birthday arrived, I was adamant, no big party this time. I wanted to take over my special day. And, so we went off to Goa to bring in our birthdays. Though she cribbed for a while to not have met her friends and received a large number of gifts, she forgot it all as the magic of Goa worked on her. It was a great birthday (a quiet one too), away from noise, gifts and paraphernalia.

But, could I really escape from the birthday mania? Once we came back, a few of her close friends decided to show up with her favourite Elsa and Anna cake and the (unavoidable) gifts! Well, my daughter was ecstatic, she got the best of both worlds. 🙂

Does anyone here share her birthday with their child’s? How do you feel about sharing your birthdays?

How round and fluffy rotis by my 5-year old make me proud?

As a small child when I visited my nani’s house, I loved cooking with her. Though she had a cooking platform, she preferred sitting on the floor and cooking, mostly on ‘angeethi’. I also sat down with her and made rotis. Small ones. And, I would offer them to my mamas, nana, nani and a couple of them I kept for myself.

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I was sixteen years old, and during summer vacation, my mom would ask my younger sister and I to make rotis in the evening. She believed, “A girl needs to learn cooking as it’s a very important aspect of being a good homemaker”. Well, her whole life centered around making her daughters study and teaching them housekeeping. So every evening, my sister ad I went into the kitchen and tried our hands at making round, fluffy rotis. Sadly, we couldn’t. However much we tried, our rotis were never round, neither fluffy. But, my father never complained. He was still proud and ate without a complaint.

My mom, on the other hand, was a tough taskmaster. “When you go to your sasural, your mother in law would say that your mother didn’t even teach you this basic skill of making round rotis,” she would taunt. I don’t remember if her jibes ever hurt, because frankly speaking, at 16, a mother in law seemed like a mythical creature, a veryn distant possibility, something that a teenager’s mind doesn’t want to delve upon.

After my class 12th board exams, I got a 3-month long summer vacation. The first day itself, my mother told me,” Remember, you have to learn to cook now that you have holidays”. I groaned out aloud. She never forgot, this woman.

“Mummy, I deserve this vacation because I studied hard for the whole year, not to cook.” I complained.

But, mom being a mom had the perfect reply. As always.

“So you have your vacation. It’s not like I am asking you to be in the kitchen the whole day. Just help me in the kitchen for two times in the day and learn to cook. That’s it.”

“But, I don’t like cooking.”

“Then, what you will serve to your husband, in laws and kids?” She asked.

“I will become an important person, so I won’t need to cook. I will hire a cook.” I answered defiantly.

“It’s good to study, but you should learn cooking too, so that you are not dependant on someone. Remember, when you don’t know something, even your domestic help cheats you. Even Indira Gandhi knew how to cook.” She ended the conversation.

Back then, there was no Internet, so I couldn’t find out if Indira Gandhi actually knew how to cook. But, that wouldn’t have helped much. My mother would win any argument. Hands down. So I started making rotis in the evening. And they were always shapeless.

Now, one evening, my sister and I were making rotis, which weren’t impressive. Just then I had an idea. I took the lid from one of the steel boxes in the kitchen, put the lid on my roti and when I lifted the lid, I had a perfect round shape. Somehow the rotis came out fluffy too. Soon, our roti box was full of round, fluffy rotis. Both my sister and I were super happy. It was our little secret, so no one could know.

My mother was sitting on the garden swing all this time. Just then one of our neighbours called on us. In Ahmedabad, it was a regular affair to visit one another’s home in the evenings for a chat.

To show her (our guest) our culinary skill, we took two rotis outside. She looked at the roti and was impressed.

“Wow, your girls can make such round rotis,” she exclaimed.

Our mom said nothing. She looked at us and smirked knowingly. Our mom knew. Our secret was out. Moms always know.

20 years later, and my daughter is 5 years old. And, while I am working in the kitchen, she loves to help me. Now, before someone starts accusing me of child labour, she does it voluntarily. She helps me wash the fruits and cut the vegetables. But, of late, she wants to roll out rotis. So, I let her. She makes little rotis…but are they round? Yes..!!! Are they fluffy? Yes..!! Do they make me proud? Yes, Yes, Yes…!!!

What I couldn’t do at 17, she did at 5!!! ❤

Now, she more or less makes rotis everyday. And, I am a happy and proud mother.

I realized that I am not so different from my mommy, though my reasons might be different.

I do not want her to impress her husband or in laws with round and fluffy rotis, but every person should know how to cook. And make round fluffy rotis…because they are a pretty sight! And beautiful food indeed makes the mind happy!