Our comps are not cooperating these days and need our attention… so not too many photos yet. But here are some of the highlights of this past month:
We had a lovely long day at Essel World. Its like 6 flags in the US. Not quite as intense… but still good enough for Raghu’s age. 6 flags had more intense rides… lots of loops and other stomach churning rides. This place had only a couple of stomach churners. Rest were twirly, up and down, car-banging type stuff. Clean and well maintained. We did not get any stomach issues from their street-food-vendors. Bathrooms were alright and did not gross out the kids. Thats a sign of progress here in India. These basic amenities get clobbered by sheer human numbers. So these things made for a better trip.
We were 10 adults and 5 children. Ravi had to take a day off so we could beat the crowds and do it on a w’day. We hired a mini-bus and set out for the outer regions of Mumbai. We opened the place and quite literally shut it that night. The kids had a blast. THey repeated rides non stop and tried almost everything. Bumper cars and roller coasters were the popular ones. The kids survived on icecream and cold drinks all day long. We ate lots of local spiced things. Yum.
The day after this we had the homeschool fair here in Pune. This group of homeschoolers includes eclectic, traditional, unschooling etc. The idea had started because of Raghu wanting to sell lemonade. So finally it happened. Raghu sold home-made lemonade for Rs.10 per glass. He made about 450Rs. He was thrilled. His 2 girl cousins sold playdough and greeting cards. I did free caricatures of everyone willing to be subjected to a few laughs 🙂
Some of the other stalls were selling Solar cookers, jewellery, nail painting, darts, pasta, etc.. We enjoyed purchasing things from the other children. Raghu was upbeat and stayed in selling mode for almost an entire hour. Ravi’s aunts and uncle helped with washing up the re-usable glasses we’d taken along. The entire fair was conducted without any plastic throw-aways. Felt good to eat pasta in the leaf-bowls… dry leaves stitched together with tiny stems… eco-friendly and useful for semi-dry food. They compost easy.
After the fair we had a relatively quiet week with some cousins exiting and one staying for a longer stay (Kaveri is Ravi’s sister, Meghna’s daughter.. they are both staying till mid-June). We picked up books at British Council Library. Where Raghu also found Magic School Bus cds!
Veena and Nikhil (my sister and her husband) came to be with R and Z for 3 days. Not once did they call with a “come home now” wail. So Ravi and i got upto 6 continuous hours each day outside the house, loaded with laptop and internet-plug-ins. We spent time at air-conditioned cafes and a restaurant in a fancy hotel. So we had access to coffee and food (basics of any conference 🙂 and clean bathrooms. We lounged, chatted, searched Sandra’s site for potential hot-topics, boosted each other’s egos and juggled ideas. It was fabulous being able to focus on Sandra’s site and really plow thru all the links with no interruptions. I think only once there was a call from Raghu about getting rock salt in his eyes while making a witch’s brew. Other than that no calls! Thanks to Nikhil and Veena for giving the kids a lovely time and us some much needed time alone to chat unschooling. More on this conference and what it pulled up in a separate post.
We left for Dharwad on last Friday and had a lovely journey except for the last couple of hours (its a 6 hour drive).. when i started to feel real sick. I ended up bed-bound for a day with a bad viral. The doc gave me 2 shots… which the kids loved watching me get. They have not been vaccinated in full… and don’t remember getting any shots. So it was quite a scientific moment… and not fraught with fear.
A day later i was better and we went to Kali River Rapids… water was low enough to walk thru… as it is still pre-monsoon. It was a fabulous experience. The kids, Veena (my sis joined us there for 2 days), Ravi and my mom waded thru the water and collected lots of beautiful rocks/stones. Mini waterfalls and small outcroppings…. we got to feel like we were sitting on the surface of a flowing river. Dharwad was green, cool and refreshed us. Raghu declared it a beautiful place and one that he’d like to move to! He loved Amma and Appaji’s apartment. My parents built a 3 story building for their business. The top floor is a large, simply fitted apartment with a terrace. Amma brought some of their old furniture there to make it more comfortable. The kids loved the house and were effusive in their compliments. It was nice to see them enjoy Dharwad and the house.
Over the course of the 3-4 day trip (extended by a day because Raghu insisted) the kids observed us doing namaskaras (occasionally), eating off banana leafs, eating foods that normally they may not have eaten, interacting with relatives, riding on a motorcycle, etc. Food time was a traditional sit down, banana leaf, served by men in lungis, ritualistic sort. Raghu decided to taste things and ended up liking some of the foods. We were happy for him. Normally if there is nothing on the menu that satisfies them… plain rice and yogurt is a staple for both R and Z. The kids found their fun and went up and down the stairs, played DS, played with some cousins, and generally had a nice time.
I did not carry any preconceived notions about what the kids will or will not like/do… given the traditional atmosphere all around… and just let them be. We followed them when possible or found ways for them to enjoy things on their terms… which meant that at someone’s house the entire meal was ignored by the children and WE graciously over-ate on their account and did not apologize for the kids 🙂
More about the ceremony soon.