Thursday, April 16, 2015

Holidays with kids

The vacation is over and done with. Now the actual challenge is in keeping the children busy. I don't want them to be stuck to the telly all day long. But, it is a tough balancing act. The younger one often sneaks in some extra time. He is very persistent, and he knows that when mommy is working, it is the best time to get things done his way.

Anyway, they are also playing cricket, TT and swimming. Talking about swimming, the younger one picked up a nasty ear infection while on vacation. It was swimmer's ear that he picked up as contaminated water got into his ear from a swimming pool. Luckily, he is well now but will have to wear ear plugs before swimming and even taking a shower.

I hope that they do more reading. The elder one is already doing some online courses. Mostly I want them to enjoy the time while still letting me work and do other chores.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The 'endearing' guides

When one goes on vacation as tourists, one really annoying part is the fake hospitality of many people. Right from the taxi driver who helpfully suggests a particular eatery for a cut most likely to a guide who is more interested in selling you a handicraft, an astrologer or a stone rather than really telling you the history of the place, it gets mighty annoying.

Why do people hound tourists in this manner? Seriously, they do not take no for an answer. If you have to learn about perseverance these people make the best teachers. They are enough to spoil your experience of visiting a heritage monument. I had a tough time on my recent visit to Rajasthan with them.

But, what I was even more shocked about is how they harass the foreigners. Right from quoting astronomical prices to them to literally hounding them, I wonder what they think of the image that they are promoting about our country. Food for thought, right?

Monday, April 6, 2015

The spitters

As I go through the small town of Bikaner, one thing that really hits me is the filth. Compared to the other cities in Rajasthan, this one looks quite filthy. There is garbage on the streets and the spitters abound. For some reason, we hate keeping our saliva in our mouths. Whether it is phlegm, paan or gutkha, spitting seems to be the finest way in which towns are painted red. Considering that this city draws a number of tourists it is quite tragic to see that no one seems to care about keeping the city presentable.

To my bad luck, I had my stay in the old city of Bikaner. Now I have seen many old cities in many cities across India. Typically, they have narrow lanes and old-style architecture but Bikaner's old city is comparatively even narrower and dirtier. Open sewers, a smell of feces hanging in the air and streets where one can barely walk as cattle, autos and humans jostle for space.

Luckily I had only a one day stopover here. Did not find much of virtue. The only redeeming feature was the Junagadh Fort.