And I missed Montmorency

So it is barely four days before we take off to the mountains. Along with mega supplies of Avomine and plastic bags knowing the child’s penchant of spewing out all the contents of his stomach onto unwitting copassengers. I think I might just have to order in a plastic bubble suit for myself for all the infinite rides that we will have to do. It would be safe to say that I am looking forward to this trip with a fair amount of dread. It is a hectic schedule. We leave for Pune. From there we go on to Delhi. From Delhi we go by road to Haldwani Junction. From there we go onto Jaageshwar and Binsar and Nainital and Almora and finally end up for a day at Corbett National Park. Hopefully, we get to see a tiger up close and personal but not too close and personal for it to decide that lunch was at hand. And then we drive down to Delhi, stay in Delhi overnight before coming back to Mumbai. The scariest part about packing for a trip that included varying climatic conditions is the need for different kinds of clothes. Pune will be hot. Delhi will be an inferno. As will Haldwani. And I am told Binsar, Jaageshwar, Nainital, will be chilly, pack the woollies. This is too much packing for my addled brain. I need to make out lists on excel to keep track of my day to day schedule and plan my outfits according to perceived weather at place of stay. To add to this I have been warned by all and sundry to keep my luggage down to one single bag. One single bag. Hmmph. What am I supposed to pack in one bag? I pack one single bag when I go to Pune for a weekend? Going to diverse climes for a fortnight means I should send out my luggage in advance through crates consigned to packers and movers to wait for me upon arrival. You know. How can a girl be coordinated head to toe with one single bag of clothes to pack? Packing for the beach is easy. Swimsuits. Check. Matching sarongs. Check. Straw hat. Check. Matching flip flops check. And I still have the entire suitcase left for make up and cosmetics of importance like a Bronzing brick to add on the tan after I’ve spent all the day on the day performing all sorts of brazen contortions while sitting in a deck chair to ensure not a stray ray of sun hits my skin of my face, which has anyway already by slathered with copious amounts of humungously high SPF laden Sunblock which promises on the cover to be non greasy and sweatproof but which inevitably makes me look like I’ve dipped myself into a vat of oil, and been fried about a bit in it. Which reminds me, I need to pack the sunblock. Them rarified mountain climes are a bitch on the skin, I’m told. And I need proper shampoo and conditioner because the hair will get frizzed out. And I would need appropriate body lotion and such like to ensure I dont pass for the reptile woman on return. And how can I leave the premises without at least five lipsticks, a few glosses, a pot of eyecolour, bronzer/blush on, eyeliners in various hues and plain vanilla compact, and more industrial strength compact? Add to this the brat’s medicines. Medicines for cough and cold, for vomiting, for fever, for indigestion, for ‘you name it and he could get it and I’m damned if I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere without the medicine for it’.  All in one single bag.

I ambitiously began the packing yesterday. Read, I dug through the lofts and got one suitcase and one strolley down. The maid had to be called to hold the stool steady. The grandmother sat in the immediate vicinity to loudly direct the proceedings, the child insisted on coming underfoot and narrowly missing an avalanche of ‘stuff we dont need but refuse to throw out’ coming down on his head. The bags were cleaned up nice and proper, and the zips tested. The child hauled in all his action figures and some assorted vehicles and dumped them into the suitcase, occupying around 80 percent of the space within. The remainder 20 percent he stuffed with his sunglasses, watches, belts, underwear and some sleep wear. There is no debate as to what his priorities are and from which branch of the genetic family he gets his from. I gently took out an old disused duffel bag and transferred a majority of what he had packed into it to much agitated squawking in the background from the offended party.

I began with my basics. Jeans. How many would I need given I would be gone for over 14 days? At the rate of one per day and no access to reliable laundry services? The math was a no brainer. But I compromised with half the number and a few salwar kameezes thrown in for the family visits. Now with the jeans in the bag, the Tshirts got thrown in. Struggling for coordinated outfits becomes easier when 90 percent of what you pack is black. Hides the dust and grime of the road too. For warmth I chucked in a black sweater and a black shawl. No toosh one. Just a basic warm rough hewn one I wouldnt mind leaving behind if it became the repository of contents hurled from churning stomachs.

Now for the shoes. The only pair of walking shoes I have are in two different shades of brown thanks to an unfortunate encounter with the washing machine. I really need to make that shopping trip right now, I must must must buy myself sensible practical shoes and sandals. Or be doomed to teeter up slopes with my ridiculous four inch stilettoes, albeit coordinated.  If I dont, I might just have to get myself a coordinated cast for that foot I will undoubtedly fracture.

And yes, I must remember to pack the toothbrushes. In the side pocket. I always forget the toothbrushes. It is so not a good omen to wake up on the first morning of your trip and blink furious eyes realising that no, you dont have a toothbrush, nor a tube of toothpaste. And no, you didnt pack it at the bottom of your suitcase, this realisation achieved after you have emptied the entire contents of your suitcase on the bed. Yes, I better start by packing the toothbrushes.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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15 Responses to And I missed Montmorency

  1. “Arrey, shubh shubh bolo” is my mom’s mantra while packing, when I keep conjuring up the worst that could happen and listing down what we’d need then 😀 So, yes Kiran, shubh shubh bolo and pack with an optimistic mind.. as you said in your previous post, it’s one hell of a juggle to lug all the stuff around anyway!

    Most importantly, enjoy the trip 🙂 (am I jealous or what?!) Keep us posted pliss.. we’ll live the safaris and the treks vicariously 🙂

    True, shubh shubh bolo, but hope for the best and prepare for the worst is mine motto…:)


  2. Deepti says:

    hey, i belong to the part of wrld wher u are heading to for vacations, i can tell you that for a trip like this for mountains you can very well do without lipstics and cosmetics, apart frm sunscreen and moisturizer for sure. Shoes are a must, and it should not be very cold these days, a 1 sweater/ warm jacket should suffice.
    Dont overload urself with too much stuff, there is a risk of u getting too tired, juggling with the luggage itself, keep it minimal, and u would njoy ur trip..:)

    Do without lipsticks??? Blasphemy….


  3. Phewwwww…i feel tired just reading about ur packing…Poor u!

    No no. I’m all drama. Was done in half an hour in troth.


  4. sj says:

    Just a note on Corbett park and tigers…we had visited the park in 2004 and the moment we sat in the tour bus the guide said don’t expect to see tigers imagine you are here to see ‘the jungle’. So after traveling miles and miles (we live in the US ) in hope to see a tiger all we seen were a lot of tress 🙂

    Hmm. The kid is all wound up about seeing ‘a reel taigur”, so let us cross our fingers.


  5. sj says:

    btw is your husband’s family from almora? my husband’s father is from champa, his mom is from haldwani? last name is Jeena

    His Mother is a Rautela from Kaela, and father is a Manral from Sanmannur.


  6. Sonia says:

    Oh man, I could just imagine the chaos and samaan in your house while packing…

    Btw I love to pack and do a good job, multiple trips back and forth from India have honed my expertise :))

    Have a great time!! Looking fwd to your updates



  7. dipali says:

    But who or what is Montgomorency?

    The dog in Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat whose task it was to get underfoot during the packing


  8. anna says:

    always cute!



  9. Tamanna says:

    Have fun! Keep us updated. Take me along! 😦

    Come come…


  10. Gigi says:

    Even for Nainital, the low temperature is always 18 degrees, not very chilly. It probably is a shock to the system after the torrid temperatures of Delhi.

    18 degrees. Thats chilly for me…


  11. Bhavna says:

    Hey Kiran,

    U Mumbaiites baba!!! No- u will hardly need a full sleeved T shirt. For both u and the kid. Take a lot of sun block. Himalayas are harsh to skin.

    Uff …u mumbai ites


  12. Anon says:

    Just visited Nainital last week. Its pretty hot if you ask me. It gets pleasant in the evening. But if it rains, then it might get chilly, so you anyways have to go prepared…


  13. anonymusketeer says:

    think you mean montmorency, and happy vacation! 🙂


  14. kenny says:

    Montmorency! That is one helluva scene, right? The butter! Eww.
    That and Housemaid’s Knee, both fall of a chair funny! Enjoy your trip, am sure you packed just great…


  15. Did u see — ur name mentioned in mumbai mirror day before…i think u had tweeted to Mumbai Mirror…did u did u…


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