Last December, my family planned a big reunion of sorts. My immediate family (Mom, Dad, brother, sister-in-law and niece) and I were going to see our extended family in Chennai, and I was quite excited about it. These were aunts and uncles and cousins I hadn’t seen in ages, and I was looking forward to spending quality time with them. Then, of course, the Chennai floods happened, everyone was left in disarray, and we cancelled the Chennai part of our trip altogether. That left the core bunch at home in Coimbatore, which is a lovely little city with great weather, but where there’s not much by way of activity or excitement.
We’d floated the idea of a road trip early on, a short getaway from home to get out of familiar surroundings, to get some sun and fresh air for a couple of days, and to activate some family bonding time. When the word came back to us that Yercaud, a small hill station in Salem, Tamil Nadu, had been chosen as the destination, I think it would be fair to say that I was… not very enthusiastic. Furthermore, when we were told we’d be staying at a health resort of sorts, my interest level dropped even further. My road trip fantasy was fast deteriorating into a nightmare. This wasn’t what I had pictured! I wanted wind in my hair, songs in the car, chatting and gossip, not Yercaud and health food and ayurvedic remedies.
But you know what they say about assumptions. Yercaud turned out to be a great little place, with fantastic weather (what I like to call ‘air-con climate’, where it’s as cold as if you’d switched an air-conditioner on outside, but the sun still shines on your face and warms you up). We had great views from our resort, and we had the whole place to ourselves, so we could really run amok without people yelling at us about the noise, the food was healthy and delicious, and the family bonding was fantastic. We sang songs, we played games, we performed skits and recitals. We went on long, leisurely walks and we solved many, many, many crossword puzzles. If the three-year-olds participated actively, so too did the seventy-year-olds. We had the most diverse group of people in terms of personalities (as well as levels of chattiness), but we all got along splendidly. I think it’s fair to say the trip exceeded my expectations beyond measure.
Not everybody gets a chance to travel with extended family, and I’m not only glad that I got to, but that the place was beautiful and the company was great.