Vacations are dead! Long live vacations!!

Other than the saving grace of awesome food, last (long) weekend was akin to Rambo training to go into Vietnam. Hoping for a relaxed getaway at the family home in Mysore, I found the holiday to be anything but that.

After a sumptuous breakfast, and only 2 hours behind planned departure time, we took off to the homestead. A cucumber with salt stop at Maddur, and we were at our cousin's home in Mysore a little after 2. The eating started in earnest right there. Lamb chops, brain masala, mutton pepper fry soon disappeared in record time.

Fortunately, my nephew advised us against go-karting and bowling due to the crowds and I escaped that one for a dinner. That was a fiasco though as the place we went to had the most horrible service. We made up for this with some delectable desserts at Corner House.

Sunday morning is when the unwarranted activities began in earnest. First a hike up Chamundi hills, a hefty climb of 1000 steps. Luckily we got the driver to drive us down. A heavy breakfast of idlis with Gowda style fish curry pretty much wiped out anything burnt on the uphill task.

Back home, I was looking forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon. The walk up the hills, an endeavor I had never taken up in my lifetime was already too much exercise. My cousin, on the other hand, though in his late 40s is made of a different caliber. He had the brainwave to drive to Balamuri, a water spot, few miles from Mysore. Left with no choice, as everyone else was showing immense enthusiasm, I reluctantly agreed.

Balamuri had about 2 million people with similar goals as we did. Demurring at the crowd, we were about to head back when my cousin started talking to this guy with an auto. The fellow asked how many of us we were and when we said 13, he said 'No problem'. I was now very intrigued. An auto that can take 13 people? Well, my intrigue turned to dismay as the auto happened to be a cattle carrier type of contraption. The front portion was undoubtedly an auto, but the back was a metal carriage flatbed truck. As we were determined to have fun at whatever cost, the group piled into the auto thingy. A nephew of mine recently recovering from an operation down under was under a lot of stress as this was a ride that could give a normal person afflictions in the gluteus. We held on for dear life but luckily it was only a 2 km drive.

Arriving at Yedmuri, we found that the crowd was definitely less, but only by a million. Unfazed, my hyperactive cousin crossed the river (by foot) and found a private farm with trees and hence shade (for our lunch!). On the other side, we encountered an expressionless farmhand who refused to let us in. Complex negotiations followed (read - money changing hands) and we were in.

Food was as usual a treat. Mutton biryani for the non-veggies, chapatis, pulao, sabjis for the veggies, sweets, strawberry milk, fruit juices, the usual stuff one takes on a light picnic lunch.

A little bit of frolicking in the water for the brave and the energetic and we headed back to Mysore.

Again, no rest. Palace lights to be seen. I don't think I have ever seen the palace lights myself even though I've lived in Mysore long enough and visited it untold number of times. But, it had to be done. Luckily, we got in just before they shut the lights off.

Dinner! Well, we never thought we needed table reservations in our town. Apparently, we did! We couldn't find a damn restaurant with a table for 11. We finally ended up in Park Lane where we waited for 20 minutes and got a table. Food was good, but the service bad.

We managed to rush out at 10:30 and after ensuring the advance party had ordered desserts for us, we had our fill of ice cream with mango pulp, fudge brownie, hot chocolate fudge and other such diet products.

I was so bushed that day and cursed my 'bunny in heat' type of energy my cousin had. We finally got home and I crashed on the bed in an instant.

This was a vacation that never was. I have never gone to Mysore and done so much. In fact, come to think of it, I haven't done so much in all my time living there. I need to go back now secretly, without my cousin's knowledge and get my lounging time. But then, he does know the best places for mutton...hmm...what a conundrum..
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