|On our return from Ooty we spent a night with Renjini chechi (Kiran's cousin) and her 2 cute daughters, Anamika & Ananthika in Coimbatore.
Our journey from Coimbatore to Bangalore was by an overnight bus. On first impressions, It looked very luxurious with comfy reclining seats, ac and warm blankets. However as the journey progressed, Kiran's gymnastic performances in an attempt to fit in his seat became less amusing; a symphony of snores reached crescendo and the bus made several impromptu stops on pitch black streets. Needless to say we reached Aunty Manju's house in Bangalore bleary eyed and dishevelled.
A week in Bangalore was a welcome change from the constant travelling that we've been doing. Gayatri was the perfect hostess as she guided us through Bangalore's nightlife and many shops. At home, Uncle Gopi would indulge us with tasty food and stimulating conversation. He even persuaded us to go to Mysore for a day trip (in spite of Neha repeating her clumsy ways and temporarily hurting her foot - all better now) to see the Maharaja's Palace - definately a good idea.
Bangalore to Chennai (Madras) was another overnight bus journey due to the fully booked trains rather than our love of the buses!
This was a journey from hell. Neha lost her glasses temporarily (rendering her blind) in the middle of the night and just as we had dozed off again after the panic, we realised the rain was seeping into the bus from all angles. We must have looked very strange as we sat huddled in our raincoats attempting to get some sleep! As if things couldn't get any worse, half an hour later the driver forced us off the bus as we had reached the last stop in Chennai, 3 hours early at 4.30am. The roads were flooded as we drove around in circles looking for Gita aunty's flat. Thankfully, we received the warmest welcome when we eventually reached there.
It has been fantastic spending some time with Smitha chechi, Swati, Shree, Seema and Ananya (Kiran's family). Ananya is adorable and we're trying to spend as much time as possible playing with her.
Conversations with Gita aunty have introduced both of us to a wider range of Indian literature and as a result we found ourselves in the "biggest little bookshop in India", called Giggles. Although the shop has the smallest floorspace, it has the biggest collection of books - several towers cover the floor, leaving barely enough space for 3 people to stand sideways in the middle. The proprietor's knowledge and memory of the books is astounding and we walked away with bags of books after 3 hours!
The plan is to spend the next 3 days in Pondicherry and then return to Chennai for a couple of days (we'd miss Ananya too much otherwise!).