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Old 12th May 2010, 21:34   #271
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Wow that's a list buddy. Thanks for sharing. This is a must have list I am blown away by the electric boiler and baby changing mat. The Amul taza idea struck me, but I didnt spend much time with that ebacuse getting a plastic boiler was not on my list due to safety issues. I just completed a quick 3 days trip to kanyakumari from chennai and I had tough time to get hygenic milk for my son. This is in my buy list next time I go to any store.
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Old 7th July 2010, 16:21   #272
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Wife and daughter went to chennai for a week last month. Not much fanfare. Just a quite hop to and fro using Kingfisher airlines. I missed her maiden flight journey within India. She was a riot in the aircraft it seems and all the airhostess were behind her. (What father couldn't acheive in 35 years, daughter does in under 1.5 years )
But this trip she got to spend more time with my grand parents. Boy, when I see the photos I suddenly felt that she's grown up.
I treasure these photos a lot. I just recollect that I spent a week with my grandparents in chennai. But never touched my camera! Never took photos of them or my daughter at their place. Time was spent in only talking with them. So this trip my wife had 6 months after our mega drive plugged that lacunae.

With my grandfather. She's almost as big as his walking stick. That stick was a gift from me to my granddad. The only gift anyone has given him in last 80 years. Sadly, that's one gift I never wanted to give him.
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Apple of the eye. She's with my grandma here. I'm seeing her laugh after years! She flatlined the same day my daughter was born. They had to move her to ICU and revive her. It's been 1.5 years hence.
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These photos make me nostalgic again. Guess I will soon embark on another trip which will be close to my heart!

A special word of thanks to all the readers who came with loads of support, compliments, good words and appreciation.
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Old 7th July 2010, 16:42   #273
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These photos make me nostalgic again. Guess I will soon embark on another trip which will be close to my heart!

A special word of thanks to all the readers who came with loads of support, compliments, good words and appreciation.
And a narration too as close to heart as your journey and upcoming trip to meet grandparents would be!! Looking forward to another version of this trip..and equally touching narration..
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Old 7th July 2010, 17:33   #274
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MX6, just read through your post on the last page.
Amazing that you took the trouble of explaining in detail everything that you packed for the trip with pictures. It was indeed a wonderful learning and might come handy in future.Now only as "khoj" asked, a pic of the boot filled with all those luggage to show the innovative packing will do wonders. If you have that pic, do post it but if not then don't take the trouble of replicating the feat .
Your daughter has grown up quite a bit in six months, isn't it. Very adorable indeed, no wonder hostess in KF were so mesmerised.
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Old 8th July 2010, 12:12   #275
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Interesting. So I too can become popular with air hostesses if I carry a baby along?
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Old 8th July 2010, 12:18   #276
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Interesting. So I too can become popular with air hostesses if I carry a baby along?
Read Yeti's blog on etiquette's involved in airline travel - especially when it concerns Air-hostess!

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ir-travel.html (A YetiGuide® to Airlines, Airports and Domestic Air Travel)

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Old 24th September 2010, 16:23   #277
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Hi Mx

Very interesting write up. My wife generally is not very enthusiastic about long drives (poor me ). After I showed her this thread she was amazed about how your kid managed with out too much fuss. And now she also got some josh to go for a long drive...thanks to you and your family.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 19:46   #278
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Returning to this thread after a long time for some updates.

Firstly. Thanks vnk77. Just noticed your post. Enjoy the drives.

This trip I made over the last 10 days (originally planned as a 6 day trip) is also close to my heart. Hence decided to add that to the existing thread instead of starting a new one.
It also marks the second trip of my daughter to Udupi and Sringeri, 10 months after the first one. This time she was older to appreciate lot's of things happening.

This trip threw up challenges at unexpected corners again.

Here's a dampener. There are very few photos. I'd taken my DSLR, picked up my old SLR from Udupi and along with that was armed with a 12 mp p&s and a 5 mp camera in my xperia mini pro. But very few photos. Reasons will unfold when the story progresses.

It all began in last week of september, post my twin Kaas trips.
My leg could barely manage the 300 odd kms each on the kaas drives. The ligament hadn't healed after the fall in Harihareshwar in July. It hasn't healed yet.

My wife wanted to put our daughter in a play group near home. And I wanted to do that the traditional way. Pay a visit to Sringeri and offer our obeisance to Sharada Devi - the goddess of learning.

There was huge worries back home. My leg was swollen. Daughter has out grown her car seat and we need to acclimatize her to a new one that I'd be buying. Wife is always averse to any drives above 10 kms a day and has developed a back pain as well. My car's suspensions and clutch assembly were giving me trouble (for the 34K kms I'd done in all kinds of terrain in a year I don't know how they held till then). Financially I'm going to be hit heavily from all sides.

I mulled over various aspects of life and declared emphatically, I need to go. By Guru's grace, all will be fine.

Then the kaas withdrawal meet happened. In fellow Bhpian's Khoj's car, we had the most unfortunate accident where a snake came under our wheels. Khoj was more shaken as he was driving and narrowly missed couple of trucks at a curve over which we found the snake crossing our end. No way it would have survived. Destiny.

Being an animal lover and more importanly having reverence towards snakes (luckily the poor guy was a rat snake), I decided that this trip has to be done.

So back to my planning. First thing. Get the car fixed.
I drive to Planet ford and ask the service engineers to check the suspensions and the clutch. They come back stating that they indeed needed to be changed. Along with that there was a gasket leak and that needed change. Expected damages on my pocket 23K.

I dropped off my car on a wednesday and they promised they'd get it done by thursday. On a saturday morning, I was twiddling my thumb over a call I got from the service engineer.

Sir, the ignition key is rotating. It's not cranking up.

Between that saturday and the tuesday (when I planned to leave), I had little time to get my car back completely fixed, pay up, shop for the trip, get the car seat, get my baby accimatize to her new home during the trip inside the car (they can be extremely territorial - Paragsachania would concur with this), and above all worry about my car keys.

"How can the key rotate freely?", I asked the service engineer, "unless one of your personnel have broken it"

I was interrupted by another call from Mothercare.
"Sir, the car seat you've ordered has been despatched from Bangalore. We are expecting it shortly".
"How shortly? I was supposed to collect it yesterday".
"Sir. we are chasing the courier people. It should have come yesterday. One came and another person had placed an order ahead of you, so we gave that to him. Your's should definitely come by wednesday".

Again I was remarkably cool.
"Listen. Don't get me wrong. But I mentioned clearly that I'm going on a long drive and needed one by friday. I can't wait till wednesday. It's the safety of my baby. If you can't get me by another couple of hours, I will be forced to look elsewhere. Please understand that I can't dare take my daughter on NH4 without the carseat and she doesn't fit in the old one anymore and is uncomfortable in long drives. I'd urge you to chase your courier guys more aggressively and let me know by 12 noon. Thanks for understanding".

Saturday 10 am.
No excel sheets. No shopping lists. No to-do lists. No car. No car seat.
Father apprehensive over Karnataka political fiasco and the hearsay news he gets from neighbours about the pandemonium in the legislative assembly.
Wife apprehensive about long drives as ever.
I'm apprehensive whether I'd get the car and car seat and still make this trip to Sringeri! My parents had cancelled their train tickets on my insistence.

All I could do was continue twiddling my thumbs.

And the phone rang.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 20:02   #279
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Good start MX6.Waiting to hear more and good snaps too I suppose.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 20:09   #280
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Welcome back saar. Trust me, I don't have this much guts & ppl at home will drive me nuts if I were experiencing your situation. I don't know why any A.S.S takes pleasure in delaying the car delivery especially when you say you want to go for a long drive. The same thing happened with my Sabarimalai trip.Was expecting you to start a new thread, but still, we can have a tab on this one too. Waiting eagerly as what the phone call could be
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Old 22nd October 2010, 21:50   #281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Then the kaas withdrawal meet happened. In fellow Bhpian's Khoj's car, we had the most unfortunate accident where a snake came under our wheels. Khoj was more shaken as he was driving and narrowly missed couple of trucks at a curve over which we found the snake crossing our end. No way it would have survived. Destiny.

Being an animal lover and more importanly having reverence towards snakes (luckily the poor guy was a rat snake), I decided that this trip has to be done.
MX6,
Yes the incident shook me emotionally more than anything as to date I have never had an episode of this sort.

That said I am most thank full to your mother and to you in guiding me regarding the atonement process for this episode. The Abhishek at the Lord Karthikeyan temple not only helped me to feel better but also allowed me to contribute towards the then ongoing Navratra celebrations at the temple. So in a way some good came out of it. Well that is not the end of this story within the larger story and I will put in my two cents once you cover that part in your forthcoming posts.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 22:55   #282
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Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Good start MX6.Waiting to hear more and good snaps too I suppose.
Thanks for following Gajadonga. Not many snaps. Reasons will come later in the log. But nevertheless, there's some I've taken with my mobile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Welcome back saar. Trust me, I don't have this much guts & ppl at home will drive me nuts if I were experiencing your situation. I don't know why any A.S.S takes pleasure in delaying the car delivery especially when you say you want to go for a long drive. The same thing happened with my Sabarimalai trip.Was expecting you to start a new thread, but still, we can have a tab on this one too. Waiting eagerly as what the phone call could be
Well Aargee. I'm not sure whether it's guts or not. I'm crazy. And if Ashishpallod reads the rest of this post, he will come with a big sugar cane from Baramati and thrash me with that for not listening to his advices. But then, being a firm believer in Advaita and destiny, I feel that I don't prove anything or create history. I stick around when it happens!
Thankfully, I've lived to tell the tale.

And this is going to be a short log with 10 or so photos. Hence didn't want to start a new thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
MX6,
Yes the incident shook me emotionally more than anything as to date I have never had an episode of this sort.

That said I am most thank full to your mother and to you in guiding me regarding the atonement process for this episode. The Abhishek at the Lord Karthikeyan temple not only helped me to feel better but also allowed me to contribute towards the then ongoing Navratra celebrations at the temple. So in a way some good came out of it. Well that is not the end of this story within the larger story and I will put in my two cents once you cover that part in your forthcoming posts.
Luckily Khoj, I come from a family that's deeply religious and at the sametime very pragmatic. Contributing to the Navratra celebrations was a noble gesture from you. We shall come to it when the thread reaches there.

Having twiddled my thumbs enough, I picked up the phone. It was my service engineer.
"Sir, Can I replace the lock set?"
"I told you specifically that I want to replace the lockset next time. I also told you how to use this key which was slightly loose. Now you tell me that the metal part has broken off from the black plastic part. It can't be broken unless some one has used force".
"Sir we didn't use any force. The metal part was turning as such".
"It wasn't when I left it with you. Neither was it when you drove it in to the service and inspection bay. Nor did it turn for last 2 days when you took it above for repairs. Anyway, what's the solution? I can't change the lock set now".
"Sir. I can send a person to your home. Can you hand over the duplicate key?"
"Fine. Send a person. I will give him the other key. I just need the car by afternoon at any cost. You are sure it will be ready by afternoon?"
"Yes sir."

I thought for a couple of seconds after disconnecting. One key gone. One key left. Anyway I wanted to change the lock set by december. Why take the risk of driving over 1500 kms with just one set of keys? I called him again and told him to replace the lock set.

"Sir, it will cost you 1800 bucks".
"You broke my key. What else can I do now? Just change the lock set".

I was looking more at 25K damages now.
"Sir, we can give you by 5 only".

I was supposed to get by Thursday afternoon. Now it's become Saturday evening.
"Do you work sundays?"
"No sir. I ensure we will deliver your car before we down the shutters today".
"Ok. Just go ahead and don't miss out on anything. I want you to ensure the car is done up with utmost care and quality and not in a hurry".

Click. Pause. Silence.
I paced up and down the room. Finances will be hit major time.

Logged in to my online banking account. I can withdraw around 5K to carry as cash in this trip.
5K. Not a penny more. Not a penny less.
6 days. 5K. newly repaired car. Heavy expense of credit card already. Yet to do shopping for my baby's needs (including a car seat that costs 5500 bucks).
I opened my spend analyser and found that I'd spent over 1.6 lakhs in fuel cost from my card alone in 1 year. Damn. I should have cut down on 3 - 4 trips.

I just wished that the Mothercare guy doesn't call or calls and says the car seat isn't ready. I would cancel my trip on safety issues.

How do I tell my predicament to my family? It's time to think again.

Apportion some amount for stay. I need to reach Belgaum and stay at my favourite Durga residency on either direction. I need to find pumps that accept card for fuel. I need to apportion amount for food.

It was time to twiddle my thumbs again as I thought over the expense part. Can't go in to Udupi hotels that have small boards that read Oota Thayaaridhe (meals ready), eat for 80 bucks (4 meals) and expect them to carry a credit card swipe machine. Can't walk in to residency kind of hotels where they swipe the card and charge over 1000 bucks for a meal.

12 noon.

The phone rang again as I was twiddling my thumb.

"Sir. We are calling from Mother care. Your car seat has arrived. You can pick it up anytime".

"Thank you."

Twiddle. Twiddle. Twiddle.

Last edited by MX6 : 22nd October 2010 at 22:57.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 15:09   #283
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Evening 5 pm.
I stand outside the main gate of my apartment complex waiting for an Auto. Nothing in site. I have to be in Planet Ford before 6 pm to collect my car. I want to test drive tonight. Sunday's LoP meet, I'd be piggyback riding kind AnilisAnil.

Finally managed to get in to a BPO's taxi who obliged to drop me on Pune Solapur Highway for 5 bucks.
As I got off the cab, I saw an A/c Volvo BRTS pulling in to the signal. I tried running to catch the bus at the bus-stop. The damn ligament. I realised that I couldn't run.

5:20 pm. Another Volvo BRTS pulls in. I get in and get off near Planet ford by 5:50. It's half a km walk from there. Mustering strength, I barely managed to go in by 6.

Surprisingly the shutters weren't down.

8:20 pm.
My car is tested, inspected and ready to go.
"May I see the broken key?"
The service engineer pulls out the broken key from the boot where he's put the other parts.
The final bill reads a little over 23K.
"This can't be broken without too much pressure. Show my by applying pressure on the duplicate key. I'd admit that the key was faulty if the duplicate breaks without pressure and turns the same way".

"Sir. There are 100s of workers here. I don't know who did this".

"Thanks. Now that you atleast admitted that the mistake is at your side, all I request is that give me a discount. I'll pay for the lock set. Waive the service and labour for that."

He went upstairs and shortly came down.

"Sir. I can reduce the labour and service charges on brake pads. The other is already on the job sheet and I can't do it".

I thanked him and wished him happy Dushera. I drive out of Planet ford poorer by 23K.

8:30 pm.
I call mothercare and ensure that they are open till 9:30. I call home and tell my wife to be ready with our daughter.
"We are going shopping for a car seat. I want our daughter to like what we buy. We don't have much time to get her used to her new car seat. Between now and the time we leave, we have perhaps 10 kms of travel between Mothercare and home for her to get adjusted".

9:20 pm.
My daughter doesn't want to sit in the car seat. I wanted to check whether she's comfortable. She is firm and when I try to seat her in, she starts crying.
We let her run around the shop.

9:30 pm. Poorer by 5500 bucks more, I tell my wife to hold the baby in her lap and sit behind. She will get used to the car seat probably on Tuesday. When we are on our way.

That night my mother and I take the car out at 11:30 for a test drive.
we returned at 1 am back home after travelling over 85 kms. I clocked 130 briefly to see how she handles at high speeds in NH4.
A lot of squeaking nose which apparently came from the replaced broken parts that were in the boot.

Sunday I was off to Vashi with Anilisanil. Then joined Khoj and were off to LoP.

Somewhere after Kalyan.

"Snake. Stop. Snake".

splotch.

"Go on. Don't stop. You got the poor guy".

It was a curve, slightly upslope. Single lane road through a thicket. Khoj at the wheel. Anilisanil sits behind. Couple of trucks came thundering down that curve nearly pushing us off road and there at the last moment I noticed this guy, black, darting across like an arrow.

"No way you could have stopped. Had you swerved, the truckers would have got us. Destiny. Yeah. It is destiny".

We were all visibly shaken. And there was macabre silence that ensued in Khoj's car till we reached LoP.

And after a thick Lassi, 300 odd photos of Kaas projected on a 32" Lcd tv, a great cake and some enlightening conversations, we put the snake issue behind.

10:20 pm on sunday night.
"I'm feeling terrible".
My mother asked me whether we shall cancel the trip.

"No. There was an accident and we killed a snake. It definitely looked like a rat snake and I feel that I'd get solace if I do go to Sringeri".

"Ask khoj to offer Milk for Abhishekam to Lord Karthikeya", said my mother, "Accidents happen. You people couldn't avoid. Best you can do is offer prayers and put this behind as it was not a voluntary act".

Steeped in tradition we are, yet modern in thought process.

As I tossed and turned in my bed with dreams recurring about snakes, gods, temples etc, I woke up to drive to office on a Monday.

The car was doing good.

That evening as I left office wondering how to manage the finances for this trip. I've been living like an American. Pay check to Pay check! This is new to me. And I know this will get over by this year end. I'd have more to spare by year end.

When I reached home, my father comes over to me.
"How much do you need? I can withdraw from my pension account in Udupi and give you."
"About 10K. And I'm strictly borrowing. I'll pay you back in a couple of months".
"It's all yours. You don't need to pay me".
I just thought this within myself.
No. Nothing's mine. Not even this car. I have another 25 years of earning. He has retired over 10 years back. If I depend on him now, it's not fair. It will only make me a bad manager of my finances down the line. I have to pay him back. Actually I feel miserable borrowing from him. But then, he feels happy and important by helping me.

"Two months. I'll pay you back".

Next day I chat with HVK on facebook.
"Saar. Trip is confirmed. This is my itinerar. Pune - Belgaum - stay at Durga. Belgaum - Udupi - stay at udupi. Udupi Sringeri - stay at Sringer for 2 days. Sringeri - Sagara - Yellapura - Hubli - Belgaum - Stay at belgaum. Belgaum - pune".

"At udupi stay at Kediyoor", said HVK.
"Saar. My parents have a house there".

Tuesday evening, I rush around for last minute shopping.
Nestum - rice dal and veg - check
Amul Taaza - check
farex raagi - check
pampers napkins - check
The list goes on. Most for my baby.

Scheduled departure 4:30 pm.

5:30 pm, I have loaded everything in the car. Unhappy with the delay caused by family and worried over the traffic build up till Katraj, I didn't risk putting my baby in the car seat. We can do that after crossing Katraj Ghat.

6:50.
NH4 Katraj ghat road junction.

"This is for your safety. It will help you. It will make your travel safe and comfortable. So please sit in this".

She refused. Cried bitterly at first. Wailed later. Then came tired shrieks. It was heart rending. She refused to sit and didn't allow us to put the 5 point harness.

I refused to move. I can't risk her on the highway without a car seat. Just that she's feeling insecure in a new contraption.

My wife and parents were shocked. Should we turn back?

"No. We shall go to Sringeri. We shall go after she settles down in the car seat".

And my daughter was looking at me with sorrow and confusion in her eyes.

I took her, held her on my shoulder and spoke in to her ears softly.

"Please. It won't hurt you. Remember your old Car Seat? This is better and bigger. We have another 320 kms to do. It's a long distance. In case of accident, if you sit outside, we will hate ourself for not taking proper care of you. Remember, you are everything we have".

I prepared to put her in the car seat.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 17:35   #284
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This is a new style of narration @MX6 & I like this one, just stating the fact with time. Man!!! 85 kms test drive? When I used to say, I do about 10-20 Kms test drive after each service, ppl at office mock at me saying I'm wasting fuel. 85 Kms & that too in the night...hmmm!!!

Quote:
I've been living like an American. Pay check to Pay check!
Sounds very scary, hope I don't join this life soon. But by the way I'm spending these days, this is soon to come!!!
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Old 23rd October 2010, 18:05   #285
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@Aargee. I replaced both front suspensions. I replaced the bearings. I replaced the complete clutch assembly. I also replaced a gasket (oil leak from engine). And if I have to take the car out in 2 days after all this work on a 1700 km trip in harsh terrains, I need to ensure that the work is perfect.
I did bumper to bumper traffic for few kms. I did high speeds at highway for few kms. I did rough roads for some kms to ensure suspensions are ok. I had to some abrupt braking to check the brake liners.

In short, I kept driving and checking for abnormal behaviour/ noise. Once I was completely satisfied, I came back home.

My Pay check to Pay check life will get over in Dec mostly! And I bought a nice dvd about the history of Kaladi tracked out from the birth of Shankara, with a lot of research done from various bhashanas of Sri Vidyaranya. It is highly recommended for you. They've met a lot of people in that Agraharam in Kaladi who are featured there too. Lilting music by L Vaidyanathan, Mandolin U Srinivas and Ranjani Gayatri and excellent visuals make the story of Kaladi a treat to watch. Seeing great kings of Travancore Samasthanam prostrate before ascetic monks of Sringeri who possess nothing brings a great humbling effect on viewers. Adding feather to the cap was the rendition of Sanskrit compositions of Sringeri Shankaracharya by Smt. Sharada Ramanan at the end. Sanskrit recitation of Shankaracharya with english subtitles makes me yearn for more.

Enought of OT.

7:00 pm. My daughter was pushed in to the car seat and the harness firmly clamped. She cried for a while. Exactly till we reached the BP pump ahead of Khed Shivapur toll. That would be around 6 - 7 kms I guess from Katraj tunnel. for 5 mins.

I stopped to tank up. When I stopped a tiny voice piped from behind.
"Amma. Is Car seat over?"

My wife was speechless.
"Not yet.", I replied, "We have to reach Belgaum tonight. Car seat is not over yet for another 310 kms atleast".

7:15 we were on our way to Satara.

Dinner break at (where else but) Mahendra. The Kaas hasn't rubbed off yet.

My father doesn't eat on Tuesdays. My mom had packed food. Wife and I relished Chapatis and Bhendi Fry. Daughter had a rocking time with the fishes in the fish tank while she had her idlis.

But I could sense that in the corner of her mind, my words were still reverberating, "Car seat is not over. Appa is taking you out for dinner. You can play with the fish. Once you are back, you have to go back and sit in the car seat. Till we reach Belgaum".

8:40 pm/ We paid up and left Mahendra. As we sat inside my daughter suddenly developed a liking to her car seat.
"Appa. Car seat Bokkachi (she says Okkachi - baby tamil for sit like that)".

I realised that she is now acclimatised. She realised that it's the best place for her. Soft, cuddly, colourful, safe. It offers her freedom to reach out and grasp things, turn her head around and watch things out, moveher legs free while firmly holding her in place. The height made her peer out of the windsheild (she was seated in the rear middle) and look at our things in front.
She also realised that she is not separated from us, but she's given a special seat which non of us enjoy.
Now when ever I take her to the car, she happily exclaims "Appa Car seat Bokkachi" and jumps in to the car seat herself. We just have to clamp the 5 point harness.

Kolhapur, Kagal, Nippani flew by. Tawandi and Vanatamuri ghats disappeared in to oblivion when I last saw them in my rear view mirror as I drove past.

11 pm.
"Two deluxe double rooms please. We are a family of 4".
"That would be 547 per room sir with tax. An Advance of 1100 please".

We unwound and put behind all aspersions, the biggest being my daughter's reaction to the car seat.
"When do we start tomorrow?", my wife asked.
"9:30 in the morning. So that we have lunch in Ankola Kamats by 1 and reach Udupi by 4:30".
"Can we reach Udupi that early?"

"depends on Bhayankar Bhatkal".

My daughter felt lost in the hotel room. She missed her bed room.
"Amma. Let's go tata babayee".
1 am: we were all asleep after she finally settled down.

Up next - The horror of Bhatkal.
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