Sunday, July 8, 2018

Avani's dose of the day!! Motivation!

Having a free spirited child at home is an amazing feeling. Everyday u learn something from them. But at the same time, handling their tantrums, temperament, moods, likes and dislikes is a mammoth task in itself. The day to day activities are sometimes not so routine with such kids. And no prizes for guessing who in my house is that free soul.

Last Monday, I wake her up in the morning as usual at 6 am. She refuses to get up. After a stern voice, she budges a little.
Mummy: Avani, get up. Be quick. It's Monday and weekend over.
Avani: Why?? (with a big frown) I don't want to go.
Mummy: Going to school is not an option.You have to go to school every day. We had alot of fun over the weekend, so stop complaining and get ready.
Avani: (with lot of earnesty) Mom, tell me what motivation I have to go to school. I have no motivation at all to go to school. It is so boring.
Mummy: (hiding my smile) It's ok. Whatever it is, you have to go to school.

Firstly, at the age of 6 I hardly knew what MOTIVATION stands for. And not having motivation to go to school was out of question. Though Avani enjoys going to school, but as a brat she always cribs about getting ready in the morning.
More than anything else, what amazes me more is the way she puts across her points with logical arguments and data points. I stand dumbstruck with her logics most of the times
And then in the evening I hear a cheerful voice...

Avani: Mummy, I finally have a motivation to go to school now.. we have started practising for Culmination day now.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

LIVING IN DENIAL

She opened her bleary eyes when the cat, all seven pounds of squirming flesh, climbed onto her belly. Squinting into the sunlight streaming in from the open window, she discovered that she was now the weary possessor of a pounding headache, and at some point, had managed to lose both a tooth and a spouse.
It was only when the pain from her heart ache settled; she actually realized the pain of that broken tooth. Her mind was blank and could only feel the inability of her limbs to obey the commands of her brain. The cat has been hungry from last 48 hours while she laid almost brain dead after the hurricane which hit her on that night.
That night could have been like any usual night in her life, but it wasn’t. She has known about the unalleged relationship he had with other woman in his life. The lipstick marks on his shirt, the long strands of hair in his car, the mid night calls and the business tours on weekends. Everything gave her all the clues she needed to know. She could have confronted him. Stopped the grey scenes behind her back and questioned the integrity of his so called dotted husband. But all she did was sobbed in her pillow every night.
Anita was a confident, modern woman. She worked in an advertising firm where she handled adversities day in and day out. Beautiful, stylish, down to earth, happy and positive woman. She was everything a man would wish for. Aryan had wooed her for a year before she said a yes. He was head over heels in love with her. When they got married, it looked like a fairy tale life to her. There was never a moment of sadness or loneliness in the house when they were together. The mere memory of the funny faces he made to make her laugh brought a smile on her face every time. But that memory now has an added partner to it. A pearl drop of tear which doesn’t stop at one.
Human brains work in different fashions when we come across such unusual situations. Situations where we have never imagined ourselves into. Things which we always thought can never happen to us. It was no different for Anita. If it was any friend of her who had been in her situations, she would have all the solutions to this. But when it was on her, she could not fathom what to do?
She had replayed the scene in her mind several times. She wanted to confront him and ask him if it is true? More than he lying to her, she was scared of what if he accepted it was true? What if he told he doesn’t love her anymore? Worse! If he wants to leave her and go to the other woman! What will she do without him? She was so madly in love with him. What if the hologram of his love shatters? It might be a façade, but her whole life was based on that false façade. She wasn’t ready to hear the truth yet.
She started living in denial. Like her beloved pet-Lucy, she thought closing the eyes will make the world a better place for her.
 She woke up early every morning, prepared his favorite breakfast. Tried to keep his things ready every morning. Called him at work every few hours. She  called their close friends home to bring back the old times back, when he couldn’t stop praising about the food she made and how amazing she looked. In  fact, she stopped going to work. She wanted to give it all to save her relationship. But little did she know that she is carrying a one wheeled carriage on her feeble shoulders.
Aryan knew the attention was unusual. He was a bit alarmed but tried to obey the requests of his changed wife. He had been a charmer all his life. So he reciprocated with his usual flirtatious behavior. He thought it’s a passing phase, so little did he mind the extra attention from 2 women in his life. The initial high of being the universe for two women at the same time and being wanted; Soon faded away. He wasn’t able to manage being in two boats. Keeping up with the demands of one woman is tough and he was doing it for two.
The guilt of cheating on his loving wife had just started creeping in. He wished he could keep both his wife and new found love of his life happy together. But he soon knew that he might have to choose one. He has to decide on one and break the bad news for the other.
Men actually think very differently about relationships. They give it their 100 % when in love, but they come out equally 100 % when out of it. The once a very casual flirting had grown up to an affair. And that adrenaline of being in love and exploring a new unalleged facet of life was too tempting for him to ignore. But as the Newton’s law says, everything has an equal and opposite reaction. It wasn’t a casual hook up anymore. He has got addicted to the new life now. And now he was trying to figure out how he could blame Anita for letting this happen. Clearly, there were no major issues. They were quite in love, the respect, the space, the companionship was very much there. But is that really enough to stay happy with a person 24*7? Or humans constantly want to evolve, explore and engage in something new, something more exciting, something which the rules do not approve of.
Yes, Aryan clearly had no regrets about cheating on his wife. Because he belonged to the generation where Open relationships are ok. Of course, if it was Anita thinking on the same lines. He would have never forgiven her. A man can never forgive or forget his woman cheating on him. Because the mere thought of his possession being caressed by another man runs a shiver down the spine of any man. Woman is considered to be more imaginative but the imagination of a suspecting man can embarrass God on his creations.
Anita had called twice to check on him. His lungs had started fuming smoke after finishing 2 packs of cigarette in last 4 hours. He had been procrastinating this day for months now. But this was the ultimate night where he could no more be a hero in her life. He has to tell her the truth.

The door bell rang. Anita shifted towards the door with a big but nervous smile. Her 6th instinct had made her restless with something which was coming. The denial mode was constantly being challenged by her common sense. The romantic lights of the living room, the fragrance from the scented candles which she had lit all over the place. The beautiful blue orchids which she had brought specially to  complement the lavender fragrance of her diffuser. The aroma of the buttery dal makhani which filled the kitchen and the dinning area. The bottle of Chiraz wine which brought back all the intimate moments of their relationship. The deep clevage spegatti blouse she wore along with the chiffon blue saree and those diamond earrings which he bought on their first anniversary. On any other night, it would have been the most immaculately planned romantic night. But in spite of all the perfect setup, it was not a perfect night. There was a nervous energy in the wind. The only thing normal in the room was the furry green eyed Lucy who was unfathomed of the pain her worthy master is going to give to her mistress.
When he entered inside, Anita quickly hushed the cat inside the room. She wanted to give him undivided attention and wanted to magically clear all the cracks on the mirror of her broken relationship. It clearly did not make things easier for Aryan. But he was determined. He quickly rushed to his room, freshened up and came out to the living room. Anita gave  her a welcoming smile, but he ignored. He straight away declared, ”I need to talk to you!” Anita’s heart could have dropped out of her mouth if she would have not rehearsed this a thousand times in her mind earlier. With a calm face she asked,” What is it Aryan? Can we not have few glasses of our favorite wine before we spoke?”. He squirmed. “No Anita. This is very important. I wanted to tell you this for long, but I didn’t want to hurt you.” Anita’s heart was now beating at a speed faster than a running train. She could hear her heartbeats clearly and was wishing this was a BAD dream. She secretly pinched herself. But it wasn’t a dream!
“Anita, I really  care for  you. You are an amazing person. But I think you are not happy in this relationship. I don’t think I am giving you enough of what you deserve!” Aryan played it safe. Anita broke her silence, ”What do  you mean? Talk clearly. Do not talk in riddles”. She didn’t know where she gathered the courage from. He continued “ Anita, lets part our ways. I don’t think it is working.”
Anita had heard these words a million times in her head in last few months, but when they actually exploded she felt nothing. When a flickering light suddenly extinguishes there is a strange silence in the dark room. She felt a similar silence in her heart. She would have shouted and screamed at him. Blaming him of infidelity. Blaming him of sleeping with the other woman and breaking all the promises he gave her while they tied a knot. But when the pain is unbearable, the only thing that it could be expressed is by silence. She could not react. All she wanted was to be silent.
Aryan felt worried. The usual reaction which he had expected was not there. He was prepared for the fight, the question and answers. His homework covered the points he would use in the blame game. He was also prepared to walk out of the house if things went out of control. But the silence made him worried.
With lot of courage, Aryan mumbled. “Anita, you are an amazing person. Just that we are not made for each other. Understand. It is good for both  of us. You deserve much better!” Anita did not blink. Aryan thought that he will give her some time. When he comes back  after 4 days from his Malaysia trip, she will be normal. And then he can start the formalities.
So he left immediately from home to avoid any further guilt cropping him for doing this to her.
Anita saw him going, but it felt like a trance. All she could do is go to the table, pick up the wine bottle and thrust all the poison inside the bottle in her throat.
Next when she woke up, all the curtains of the house were pulled apart. The glass pieces of wine bottle were all over the floor. There were blood foot prints all over the place. Her long strands of hair were cut unevenly and her mascara smudged all over her face. The food smelled rotten and the howling cat noise made her head spin. God knows how many times she had hit the wall and fell down on her head. All she could recollect was she wanted to kill the ANITA she hated so much!!

This blog was written for the contest Write India 2 by Times of India. 
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/writeindia/season-2/writeindiaauthor/57084730.cms

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Work life balance

I get a lot of messages on Women's day! And this year too, I was flooded with messages. Some forwards, some customary, few personal ones and some very encouraging. Among the forwards, a typical picture of a modern women with many hands depicting various roles women play in their life caught my imagination. Then another picture with some Work life balance gyaan appeared!
These pictures kept me thinking for a while. Thinking about multiple things. One was, do we women really like to be super women or we just dont have a choice but to manage our career and family aspirations together. But at 11 am in the night, I have no mood to be a feminist and present my thoughts on being a super woman.
The second thought was, Work-Life balance!! The word which is kind of a mantra which all of us want to achieve. But can we really achieve a balance in our lives? Well, I have my doubts!
So then I thought , "Then how do I see this work and LIFE being managed?". And immediately I was reminded of a picture where a juggler is juggling with 6 balls in his hands.
Then I tried to interpret, what does that mean in this context? What does each ball stand for in my life? 
I feel, the six balls are HOME, FAMILY, WORK, CHILDREN, HOBBIES and HEALTH.
HOME includes household chores which are irrelevant but needs mammoth attention for a proper functioning of any house. From electrician to grocery everything!
FAMILY starts with husband and then the extended family. Your social life and close friends.
WORK ofcourse irrespective of whether you are working out in office or running your own setup or even working in a NGO. Everything we do as a profession comes under this umbrella.
CHILDREN! I have kept it as a seperate ball, because they are a seperate ball game altogether. When you are a parent, you have no rule book. You evolve every day and face new challenges everyday. And this I feel is the MOST crucial of all the balls to be handled.
HOBBIES is what makes you happy. The ME time which is the most understated.
And last but not the least, HEALTH! We talk about both mind and body health here!
If I have to give you an analogy. CHILDREN, WORK and HOME are glass balls. HEALTH and FAMILY are wooden balls. And HOBBIES are made of paper.
So for any juggler, its impossible to keep all the balls in hand. At any point of time, maximum 2 balls can be kept in control. And rest 4 should be in air.
As you must have guessed, the first ball to fall down for not so alert juggler would be HOBBIES. It is not a priority for you and the moment the pace of life increases, we drop that ball are constantly struggling. Sometime HOME takes the priority and other times WORK gets crazy. You have to select which  ball you will hold and till you hold that ball, the other needs to be floating in the air. When you have someone ill at home, you cannot work in office. Vice versa when you have a deliverable in office, you cannot socialise at the cost of your work. We always compensate for the other in the due course of time. I remember working late nights for almost couple of months and then when my daughter was starting her school for the first time. I almost worked only 4-6 hours a day in office. So there is no correct way of work life balance i feel. 
But the moment one ball of WORK and HOME remains in air for too long, we burn out. This is the time when many men choose WORK and women choose HOME as per their natural instincts. Nothing wrong in choosing one over the other, but somewhere the feeling of sacrifice, discontent creeps in. Men realise at some point they had missed out on family life and women feel there was a lot of sacrifice which they made. But eventually its how we juggle the balls.
CHILDREN is another glass ball which is kind of the most unpredictable of the lot. You are juggling perfectly between HOME and WORK. But suddenly this ball spins and changes the pace of everything. The moment kids need you, all the balls go in a closet and u suddenly forget how to juggle. HOME is in a mess, WORK becomes unimportant, forget the HOBBIES/HEALTH and FAMILY. Its true that, once u r a parent you are always a mother first. The wife, aunt, daughter, sister, friend roles take a back seat and ur mind is one track.
If I had the power to set the pace, I would give equal weightage to all. That is the most sustainable model. It will ensure your physical, mental and emotional happiness. 
BUT we dont live in an ideal world. So keep juggling and taking care of all the important things in life. And when you are tired, take a break and start afresh!! 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

New Zealand- North Island - April 2017 – Travelogue

With all the hype NZ brings with it. I wasn’t sure what  to expect and over the years, we have started taking it more as a dedicated family time rather than a full-fledged tourism trip. So without much benchmarks in our mind, we started our journey from Bangalore.
Packing for NZ was no different than my other travels so with my worksheets from the past, packing was a cake walk. Food restrictions made it easier for me to just pick the package food and no unpacked ready to eat stuff needed to be collected to give it a variety for the kids.
We flew from Bangalore to Singapore and with a short transit of 2 hours, we could just cover up a quick meal in Singapore airport to avoid being starved to death in an 8 hour Singapore airlines flight. Though we always order Hindu meals, but we have had pathetic experiences with food when the flights don’t connect to India directly.
I have a history of discovering most of the  classic English movies in long flights, and this time I had a clearer objective to watch all the series  of HOBITTON movies. And ofcourse the reason was the association of NZ with HOBBITON. And I am glad, I saw all the three movies again in the flight from Singapore to Auckland.
We made ourselves comfortable in the SkyCity hotel which is where all the action around the Auckland city happens. Auckland is called the CITY OF SAILS and it is believed that every third person in Auckland owns a boat.
Day one, we visited the Sky City tower which  is the tallest building and has an observatory at the top of the tower. The city of sails was surrounded by water from two sides and you could see innumerable boats and ships harboring at its port. There is an island where all the whos who of the city own their properties. There were two striking things about the tower. One there was a mini golf laid in the observatory area which I found very thoughtful for kids. Observatories are definitely very boring places for kids to visit and in 5 minutes both my kids lost interest in exploring the city from the top.
And the next striking thing was a shocking pink elevated road in the middle of the city. Which  later I found out is a cycling track. Talking about cycling, the former prime minister of NZ had passed a bill to build a cycling track with every road in NZ. He wanted to promote health with cycling for the country. Believe me, even on long highways, you will see a well laid cycling track in parallel throughout NZ. And don’t be surprised to see tiny tots (less than 6 years) cycling along with their families on the highway cycling tracks.
Other attractions of SkyCity tower are SkyWalk and SkyJump. Sky walk would walk you through the diameter of skycity tower on a glass pathway and skyjump is a controlled/zipline form of Bungee. I did not find it adventurous enough for me, so skipped it.

We were on self drive, so explored the length and breadth  of the  city in our car. It is like any typical city, charming with  its harbors with thousands of boats anchored. The harbor bridge lits up beautifully in the night. Mission bay area is the most happening area of the  town with lovely lake side restaurants  and cruise centers for many tourist attractions nearby. Cruises go to Wellington, Hobbiton, Rotorua etc.
We had booked for dolphin and whale watching cruise, but owing to high tides in the sea, our cruise was cancelled. And my advice to you would be to never book the cruises/helicopter flights in advance for any of the places in NZ. Because it is too often that the weather turns bad and the curise/flight are cancelled. Tickets are easily available and the options are also aplenty, so go as per the weather of the day and you will not waste your time.
We saw a Summer and Winter garden full of seasonal flowers. Volcanic crater with a great view of the city. And some amazingly pretty houses. The most fascinating was the pink house which was made in a tiara shape. My princesses immediately suggested buying that house. And there was the most expensive house with 16 car parks, multiple swimming pools which makes you realize the world if full of filthy rich people. Kelly Tarlton is a sea life aquarium which is another popular place to take the kids.
SkyCity hotel hosts the Sky City Casino. Definitely worth a visit. With stakes starting from 1 NZD(less than 50 INR), you can spend 1 hour trying your luck with minimum damage. And for great gamblers you have a whole range of options too. 
And Ravis is an Indian restaurant very close to skycity towers which serves amazing Indian food. They start as early as 9 am, so breakfast, lunch  dinner options are quite easily accessible. There is no dearth of Indian restos in NZ, so if you are not carrying anything from home is just fine.
Over all Auckand was good. But if you have a tighter schedule, you would want to skip the hustle bustle of the city and move towards the wonderful beauty of towns of NZ. So 1.5 day is more than enough in Auckland to settle down with your jetlag and may be explore the city quickly. Would not recommend a hop on hop off bus, or an exhaustive tourist itinerary for Auckland.
Next destination for us was Lake Taupo. Earlier, we had planned our stay in Rotorua, which  is the actual tourist place for experiencing thermal geysers in NZ. But on the recommendation of our family doctor, we changed to Lake Taupo which is 1 hour drive from Rotorua. And I am thankful to the doc for his valuable recommendation. Lake Taupo is a must visit when in NZ.
But enroute to Lake Taupo, we visited the amazing Waitomo GlowWorm Caves.
I vividly remember when I was a teenager and going through a phase of Discovery channel fascination. GlowWorm cave was one of the things which captured my imagination and I could not believe there can be something like this on earth. Infact at that time, I did not know it is in NZ. Memory impressions are strange, you never know which  part of your brain u still hold those fantasies. So when I read about them while researching for NZ, it instantly brought back all the wonderful amusement I had that time. And Waitomo became a MUST VISIT in my NZ list.
So talking about GlowWorms, these are small worms which  has a special gel at the bottom to attract the prey. Basically they have very short lives of few weeks. When the prey gets attracted to the light  thinking it’s the way out of the dark cave, they get stuck to a sticky mucus like substance which surrounds the glowworms. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to see them in light. On a lighter note, somethings are better kept in dark because the reality is very ugly. J
Glow worms were definitely the main attraction of the cave. But the sedimentary rock formations and the formations which the drips of rain water creates called stalactites leave you spell bound. There is a cathedral area which has the perfect acoustics for an opera. Every year Italian opera singers come there and hold a concert which is considered highly in the music community. We had a wonderful singer among our group, so we had a good time listening her sing a MAORI song. I am not a connoisseur of music, but  it sounded pretty good. (http://www.waitomo.com/Waitomo-Glowworm-Caves/Pages/default.aspx)
I was also very impressed by the way the caves were kept spike and span. Also, the rocks keep falling in the caves so the caves are regularly monitored by the archeologists. And another interesting piece of information is Fred Mace was the first to explore these caves which was a well kept secret by Maori tribes till 1887. And the caves were leased to a company for making  it as a tourist center. And the descendants of Fred are mostly working in the tourist center even today.
Photography is prohibited inside the caves, so all I have to share is the beautiful landscape around the caves. But it is definitely a must visit if you are visiting NZ.
After the mesmerizing Waitomo, we reached Lake Taupo. The first sight of the huge Lake Taupo itself pumped us with energy. The place looked really charming and the thought of staying on the bank of the lake was very enticing. The Millenium Hotel where we were put up was just what we had expected from such a beautiful place. Our rooms were on the first floor and wherever your eyes could reach, it was surrounded with beauty. Lake was like a mirror, a walking bridge near the bank, jogging track on the lush green pastures of grass adjoining the lake, calm harbor at the horizon and a island where lights twinkled like stars in the night. In addition, there were swans and ducks hurling around the hotel. My girls were super excited with the thought of feeding the ducks on their own every day.
The thermal hot pools in the hotel were very enticing, my kids could have spent all the three days being 24*7 in the hot pool and could have had the best time. But unfortunately for them, we had other plans for this place. But we enjoyed the 38 deg heated water in 8 deg chill outside every evening whatever time we came back from our sight seeing.
The hotel  hosts two very aesthetically done restaurants. And both overlooking the lake. So all three days of our stay, breakfast time was a treat not only for our stomach but also our eyes. That doesn’t mean, the breakfast options are very enticing. Nobody beats India in the variety of things it has to offer.
Good thing about NZ is, though it is divided into North Island and South Island the options in both the islands are ample. So if you do not plan to visit South Island,  you can enjoy all the adventure sports in Lake Taupo also. Ofcourse, the capital of all adventures is Queenstown in South Island. But Lake Taupo offers equal opportunities in North Island for the adventure freaks.

We started our adventures with Rapid Jets. Waikato River in  Lake Taupo region is where the white river water rafting is done. Good news is you can enjoy this with your whole family. They allow kids from 4 years to any age. And it is quite safe. But the not so good news is, these are very small rapids. So all the fun is associated with the speed of the  jet boats and the spins the boat driver demonstrates every few seconds in the small rapids. The 15 min of jet boat ride is both enthralling and fun. The water is crystal clear and you can almost see the rocks at the edges. Khushi was super thrilled that she wasn’t scared in RAPIDS! Will give it to her for her age. But I would want her to try atleast the actual grade 5 rapids when she grows up.

The barrel scene in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, where the dwarves were filmed floating in the giant barrels down the river is filmed at this very place where we did the rapid jets. They took 26 days to film this scene and there were 60 cameras implanted to shoot from all angles.
And watching the movie in flight just 3 days back, I was able to actually recap the scene in my mind and relate the same with the place. Creative brilliance I MUST SAY!!
On our way back, we stopped at the most amazing waterfall, Hukka Falls. The blue color of the water was so brilliant that photograph cannot capture the beauty of it. The force with which the water gushed through the fall was massive. By far one of the most wonderful falls I have seen.  
Next inline was Wairakei Thermal Terraces. I have heard about the hot water springs. There are plenty in India also, but I have never experienced one myself. So for me in that cold climate, watching clouds of steam coming out every few kms was very amusing.
Nature is so wonderful. You can never imagine the feeling of touching super hot water in a freezing climate. You do not expect it at all. And Lake Taupo and Rotorua have many natural geothermal springs which are caused due water heated in geothermal regions. Basically due to  active volcanic activities under the ground.
And now there are SPAs in this region which gives the same experience of bathing in healing hot thermal water rich in minerals from magnificent silica terraces. People come from all over the world to experience this and also this hot thermal water is renowned to heal a lot of ailments. Unfortunately, in 95 % of the SPA pools, kids are not allowed to enter. Some claim the water is too hot for the kids and for safety reasons kids are kept away.
Wai-o-Tapu thermal wonderland exhibits most unique volcanic features and is the most colorful volcanic area. There is a geyser Lady Knox which is displayed at a particular time 10.15 am in the morning, and there is an informative session on the same before the geyser erupts. Though we missed the same by a whisker.
Then we visited Rotorua. The major attraction of Rotorua is the Gondola ride and the Luge. Gondola is the cable car which is very common all around the world nowadays. So wont say I was thrilled to be in the Gondola. But the LUGE ride is one of its kinds experience. Luge is a gearless, handle controlled light toboggan ridden in a sitting position. It moves downhill on a winding track. You take a few minutes to get hang of the engineering of the vehicle, but once you are comfortable. It’s a fun ride. I went back to my childhood where we raced on our bicycles and never had the fear of falling or getting hurt.
Avani piggy backed with me for the Luge, so the first time I had to be driving safely. But the second time, “ Long drive jayenge, FULL speed jayenge, kahi rukenge na hum!!” types tha. I was very glad to see Khushi independently doing the luge. For her first round was scary, but with little motivation she killed the second time.
The ride back on a chairlift was also quite unique. And then the jelly bean shop hosted amazing varieties of jelly beans. Kids enjoyed collecting the jelly beans and bought a full stock for next 15 days. They also hosted Harry Potter, MONALISA and IronMan crafted with Jelly beans.
The next day, we were charged up for more adventure. The most ambitious one from my bucket list, the sky diving was waiting for me. Luckily for me, there was no training etc required. Because then it would mean wasting others time while I get trained and then go for the dive. The things have advanced quite a lot now. You just need the nerves to jump, everything else is taken care by your co-diver.
My co-diver was Ricky. A friendly chap who was very keen on interviewing me at every step and recording my wonderful moments for me. He geared me up for the big jump. Then instructed me briefly about the whole process. The best part was there was no fuss about it. Ashish and kids were playing around the plane, they were with me till I entered the plane.
The cute pink plane took off and we reached the height of 15000 ft. We could see how far and long Lake Taupo extended. The  other side was dense forest. There were 4 pairs of sky divers in the plane and we had a cent percent success rate. Sitting on the edge of the plane, I had no thoughts. When I dived the air pressure was so high that my ears hurt.   Would recommend covering your ears if you ever sky dived. The adrenaline rush was high for those 10-15 secs. But the fun starts when the parachute opens. You are more in control, you can enjoy the beauty around. The air feels amazing. You feel on top of the world. You can feel the lightness of your body.
I love heights, so 15000 ft was 5 times more than what I had done in the para-glyding in Switzerland. So it was blissful there. Coming back on the ground, Avani ran towards the plane and hugged me. Her fear of me falling from the sky was real. She was ready to do the skydive and bungee jump herself, but me doing them was scary for her. This I feel is display of how love contains the element of possessiveness. We are so possessive about our loved ones that we can afford to risk ourselves, but cant afford to risk our beloved.
The experience of watching the movie in theater where I was a starring was also unique. Kids couldn’t help but get star struck. The video can be watched on youtube.
Just when I thought, I am done for the day. Ashish dared the kids to do para-sailing. I was happy they accepted the dare and I had to accompany them on their adventure.
We three went on a tandem para glide. I was very happy to see both of them enjoying the heights and after the initiate fear of being pulled in the air, they both were having fun. We sang rhymes in the air, fluttered our hands like birds do. We closed our eyes and enjoyed the calmness and serenity at that height.
We were good 20-25 min in the air. We dipped our feet in the water twice before coming back on the boat. My little baby tried hard to reach the water, but her little feet couldn’t touch the water.
Daddy Ashish was super thrilled and couldn’t stop bragging about his brave daughters who could paraglide fearlessly at this age while he still cant handle heights well.
So Rapid Jets, para gliding and sky diving were ticked off the list.
The best part about activities in NZ is that it is actual value for money. Para-sailing anywhere in the world lasts maximum 10 mins, but here you are in the air for good 30-35 min till your hearts content. Same with sky-diving, luge and others. You don’t just experience it, you live it.
Then we drove back to Auckland, returned our car back to the vendor and flew from Auckland to Queenstown. North island to South island.
South Island is considered to be the prettier one and most people visit only South Island while visiting NZ. But Lake Taupo is definitely worth a visit and the thermal pools are something you will not find in South Island.

South Island,,, coming soon!!