The long hiatus from writing took its toll as the mind suddenly refused to work. The fodder for writing kept popping in mind but with so many things happening all of a sudden it became even more daunting to choose the pecking order! A holiday plan to Shimla was looked forward to and in the first week of June yet another vacation for a longer duration was lined up. Of some of the things that come to mind when encapsulating these memorable days, a few deserve mention.
The crowd of Delhi and NCR had not stopped following us or maybe they too viewed it the same way as us. Never ending streams of cars and taxis on the entry to the salubrious surroundings was an eyesore besides delaying reaching the destination. Fortunately, as it was early, the traffic had not built up to a menacing proportion.
The few places in Shimla like the India Coffee House are stuck in the time wrap. One still finds office goers, and old friends chatting endlessly over cups of freshly brewed coffee! The Chinese food at Aunty’s Dhaba in Ram Bazar, the mithaiwalas churning out golden jalebis from early morning hours till late in evening too have with stood the test of time as the crowds never seem to fade away. Then there is a very neat joint that caters to the tangy palate by selling pure ghee sweets, chats and much more for more than a century
The best thing about Shimla is that one can walk out of the hotel in any direction, virtually at any time of the day without worrying about heat! A pleasant walk on the Mall Road, The Ridge , Lakkar Bazar, or even to Jaku top keeps the spirits high!. The climb the Jaku needs more stamina but the rest of the strolls are not tiring! It feels good the see how things have changed with time at this lovely hill station for better. Despite the growing number of tourists, the place has been kept relatively clean and the people seem to pay more heed to posters urging them not to litter and throw used plastic bags!
For some of the most stunning views from Shimla one needs to climb atop Kalibari temple which is just about a kilometer away from the Mall Road. The dance of the clouds, the cool breeze, the tall swaying trees and the majestic snow clad Himalayas are a sight that cleanse the soul and refreshes the mind. A constant chime of bells from the temple helps in bringing one step closer to the creator!
There are some old heritage buildings that have been locked and are decaying as apparently, their owners are waiting for the prices to escalate before they make a kill and one finds a new hotel in their place in the time to come.
Shimla too has changed with times as one can see even the coolies and vegetable sellers glued to their mobiles as they negotiate with the customers. The Chinese goods like torches, toys, blankets and even caricature of gods are littered on the pavements of the inner streets once again reminding of the world of their industrial might of the neighboring nation!
|Exotic flowers in Mashobra|
One pleasant morning we headed to Mashobra that is located about 12 km away and the thick foliage and never ending beauty of small streams and cottages built during colonial days add to the regal splendor! The long walk in search of the apple orchards was paused with chirping of birds, a few passing vehicles in the otherwise wild beauty. The final leg of trek was most rewarding with glimpse of small green apples and amazing sight of wild flowers
A brief stopover a Chandi Mandir Military cantonment brought back the memories of the quiet life in the military cantonments in yesteryears! Even these places have modernized with more spruced up theatres for entertainment and beauty parlors and eating joints, rubbing shoulders with the outside world, besides the ever inviting sights of lush green golf courses and well maintained tennis courts! The return to Delhi was rewarded with spell of rains, and a wait for the next journey!