Picnics are a great way of bonding with children. There is something elemental about any outdoor activity. Picnics give all of us an opportunity to embrace nature and bask in the glory of god’s creation. Jai and I planned a picnic with our granddaughter Samara and her very dear cousin Isha. The plan was to take them out of the house and spend a day in the rustic country side – far away from the city, its noise, crowd, cement and pollution. They were told to bring their food in Tiffin box, along with water bottle, napkin, a pair of sun glasses, hat, umbrella and a change of clothes – just in case they get wet in the rain. The girls were really excited and followed the instructions to the T. They pestered their parents and got all the items packed and ready the previous night. On our part – we carried two chairs, ground sheet, cushions, a simple lunch consisting – idly, Puliyogare (Tamarind Rice) and curd Rice, potato chips, soft drinks and other knick knacks like plates ,spoons, napkins etc. Ooops I almost forgot - ice box and restorative potion.
The original plan was to visit Thippagondanahalli Reservoir, also known as T G Halli Dam or Chamarajsagar, located at the confluence of the Arkavathy River and Kumudavathi River, 35 km west of Bangalore. After a lovely drive on the NICE Road and a very well maintained SH 85 – Magadi Road, we reached the dam area by 1200 noon. We could not go inside due to security restrictions. However, we selected a spot under a huge banyan tree and established our outdoor camp. Our driver Suresh helped us bring all the things from the car and set up the picnic.
Figure 1 – View from the Picnic Spot
Figure 3 - The spot from a distance
Figure 4 - Children at ease
Figure 5 - Collecting fire wood
Figure 6 - With Suresh
Best part about this kind of picnic, is its simplicity. No planning, booking, payment, check in and out and the usual rigmarole. All that one has to do is to drive out of the city in any direction and choose a quiet and clean place – preferably with a view and settle down. Make sure you have an able bodied person like Suresh with you - just in case some monkeys decide to join your picnic. All of a sudden, as if from nowhere, a hoard of monkeys descended on us. We, very politely gave away a packet of chips and biscuit. While they were busy enjoying the fare, we made a hasty retreat into the car. A pack of strays joined us post haste and chased away our ancestral cousins.
Figure 7- The proverbial three monkeys
We shifted our camp site little further away and continued picnicking. Jai read some stories, went for a walk, saw some wild flowers, talked to the locals and finally lit a camp fire. All in all the outdoor experience was great fun - ‘Bang for the Buck’. It was something very different and out of the ordinary for the children.
Figure 8- Story reading session
Figure 9 - A walk in the wilderness
Figure 10- Interacting with the locals
Figure 11 - Finally a bit of fire
Figure 12 - Photo op with the children
Figure 13 - Very well maintained Magadi Road - SH 85
We finally packed up the camp by 1600 hours – not before dispensing a bit of ‘gyan’ –from the book ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ – wherein the author lays stress on leaving the camp site garbage free, no litter and so on. I strongly recommend readers of my blog to read this delightful novel. Time and Motion Study started with the producer of 12 children – Mr Frank Bunker Gilbreth.
A day well spent – great value for money.
Try it out.