I feel really blessed to have spent my summer in Bengaluru, and even more so being able to spend time with my relatives. The presence of my cousins is like the icing on the cake, as there isn’t a single dull moment when I am around them. My cousin Nikhil had flown in from Ithaca a couple of weeks ago after graduating from Cornell, and decided to host an outing/party for the entire extended family in Bengaluru. Another reason to celebrate was his younger brother Nitin’s stellar performance in IITJEE-2015.
My Sunday began with stuffing my small backpack hurriedly until there wasn’t even an inch of space left. Anil Uncle and Chinna Aunty were on their way to pick me up, and the last thing I wanted to do was delay them. The three of us picked my cousin sister Nitya, and embarked on an hour long journey to Guhantara Resort. The last time all of us met was for my cousin Vinayak’s wedding, and the thought of meeting them again and have a fun-filled Sunday instantly planted a huge smile on my face. The journey was fun as we joked about a lot of things. Nikhil had requested everyone to be there as early as possible as breakfast buffet ended at 10.30am. We teased Anil Uncle saying that he would have to treat us to breakfast if we missed the buffet. Fortunately for him, we reached the resort 45 minutes before the buffet ended.
True to its name, the place seemed like a cave (Guha) at first. “Second Left” said the receptionist, after checking the details and guiding us to the Amphitheatre, where breakfast was being served. The route to the amphitheatre was rocky and dark – the cave did look pretty authentic. The amphitheatre itself looked great – there was a nice waterfall-pool and a bamboo bridge connecting opposite ends of the pool. There also was a raised platform for live music. The thing that really stood out was the web-like structure in the centre of the ceiling. It really left us wondering for a bit, until it struck us that it was for the Rain-Dance. We spotted Nikhil in a grey Cornell hoodie and started chatting with him while sipping on the welcome drink. Nikhil was expecting about 30 of us, and more than half of the group was there by the time the 4 of us reached. Nikhil himself had reached a couple of hours earlier to make sure that everything planned went on smoothly.
I was thrilled to see Nitin after quite a while. He has really shot up in height – the last time I saw him, he was a little bit taller than I was. He is now a LOT taller than I am! In a matter of a few minutes we were joined by my cousin Samarth’s family. After chatting for a while, Nitin distributed the coupons to the breakfast buffet. The buffet was pretty well planned. The South Indian cuisine was perfect for breakfast as it was filling, and at the same time not too heavy on the stomach. Chinna Aunty, Nitya and I had a quick tour of the surroundings and found that Guhantara had three pools in total – a big pool, a small pool and the third on adjoining the amphitheatre. We joined the rest of the group on their way to the activity area, and passed by the Fish Pedicure on our way there. “If the fish actually eat up all the dead skin and leave us with glowing fairer skin, a fish facial makes more sense than the pedicure…Coz you see, people notice our face before our feet!” my cousin brothers joked.
Nitya, Rahul, Samarth and I first went to the indoor games area. Foosball caught our eye, as everything else was already being used. Rahul and I played against Samarth and Nitya. We used a Table-Tennis ball, as we couldn’t find anything else. After a couple of games, we moved on to Table-Tennis, and started a game of doubles. I wouldn’t say we were great at it, but being with cousins was certainly a lot of fun. Nikhil and Nitin joined us soon, and we played a couple of games with them. We kept playing TT waiting for our turn at Foosball, and waited for a bit. Finally, we asked the family at the Foosball table if they wanted to swap games. It turned out that exactly like our case, they wanted to play TT but were politely waiting for us to vacate! The Foosball match was another level of fun. Nikhil was clearly the Foosball Rockstar, as his team initially lead 5-1 in a 10 point match. As he got called for something, Nitin filled in for him. The match had a nailbiting finish, in which Nikhil’s team won by a really close margin of 10-8. With a feeling of satisfaction, we walked to the outdoor activity area.
The first activity that had my attention in the outdoor activity area was the Zorb. I had always wanted to try that one out, but never had the opportunity owing to too much crowd. Fortunately, our group was the first one there. Chinna Aunty had inaugurated the Zorb and told us that it was worth a shot. Nikhil got coupons for Nitya and me. The Zorb was an experience of a kind. We strapped in – ankle straps first, followed by the strap for the torso and then securing it with the strap for the waist. One could only hold on tight and enjoy the ride, as the Zorb would be controlled by the guy pushing it.
Nitya and I had a memorably insane experience. While first part of the experience was okay, as I had a feeling of falling forwards. Just before the guy controlling the direction of the Zorb reversed it, the strap securing Nitya’s torso came off. We noticed that the only things supporting her were the waist and ankle straps. We both screamed trying to get the attention of the guy controlling the Zorb, who incidentally stopped the Zorb only when Nitya was at the highest point! He helped her out after by securing the strap. Thankfully, the remainder of the ride didn’t have any more surprises, except for the scary feeling of falling backwards. The minute-long experience was one way to kick-start our adventure. As we both squeezed out of the tiny cavity, Samarth joked that our screams could be heard from a 100 metres away! Rahul and Samarth went soon after us, and fortunately, their experience was much more comfortable.
After everyone was done with the Zorb, we moved on to the outdoor games for the next half-hour. I learnt that Cricket not only influences people, but also unites them. And this time it was really a lot more special because it was not just the youngsters playing – in fact, the elders were the core of the game. Anand Uncle (Nikhil’s dad) and Anil Uncle enjoyed every moment on the field. I could truly see the glow in their eyes as their bats connected with the ball and flicked it away. Personally, I felt that this part was the most magical of all – we got to see our elders enjoy their childhood again.
The energy and enthusiasm of my uncles and cousin brothers was infectious – it kicked up everybody’s energy levels by a few notches. Chinna Aunty suggested renting badminton racquets and shuttles, and soon enough everything was ready. Nitya and I joined them for a while. It was the first time in so many years I saw all of my aunts play and thoroughly enjoy themselves – even though a few of them were in sarees, it didn’t seem to slow them down. We played until it became too sunny and then decided to explore the other activities that Guhantara had to offer.
Here is the link to the next part of the post –
For the video capturing our best moments, here is the link –