It’s been more than a year since I put down in black and white, a travelogue for two clear-cut reasons. I had long before closed that old travel blog of mine and I haven’t travelled much anyway. This year though I wished to enjoy my summer holidays in a territory of knolls of sorts for various strange reasons.
Straight away there was a hitch. The only way I could carry on with my plan was head to the great land of New Delhi which also meant that my dad would want to spend a day or two at my aunt’s domicile which is abode to brood wholly unfit for consumption. That wasn’t precisely my idea of holidaying. After the inevitable day of hanging about with the dumb chums I felt bucked up again at the subsequent crack of dawn whilst I soothed myself onto a cosy seat of a cab. I ought to mention that the merriment didn’t last extended for I found the young spawn of my respectable aunt fighting to have his place next to mine. Only after request for information I made out that my blasted aunt with her perilous immature progeny was about to join the convoy for visiting the attractions in Delhi.
We stopped at highlights like Nehru museum, Birla temple, India gate, Indra Gandhi museum, Raj path, Lotus temple, Qutubminar and Red fort and after that called it a day. The solitary thing that kept me in a superior frame of mind was a delicately nurtured passenger on board. We at the end of the day waved good-bye to my aunt and her offsprings followed by a lavish feast and an hour of good old shopping. At the first light my spirits were yet again urging me to hum a melody while we were just about to set off. The fellow travellers however failed to bestow me with optimism as they predominantly gave the impression of being yokels and a few civilized souls outwardly dreary. I swallowed a moody mouthful of coffee as I accommodated myself in the coach and my sister whispered to me ‘We have got some nice fellow passengers’.
I have to say that the breakfast in Haveli was admirable and after miles of highway and luncheon at Chandigarh and more miles of highway and plenty of bends on the hills we arrived at Mandi, an irrelevant yet calm and cool hill town in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Then there was a buffet which is by far the most unpleasant type of ingestion. I was dissatisfied when I came to know that grubbing throughout the entire jaunt was going to be the same way.
Next day we were at a chilly hamlet called ‘Manikaran’ the implication of which I don’t quite understood when explained. But it is like this. You go to a Sikh pilgrimage of sorts where they dug up a number of hot springs which those bearded folks use to anoint themselves and boil rice. Apart from that there were no glimpses of Sikh glory. A hotel by the name ‘Sanja Chullah’ turned out to be a gorgeous site to get pleasure from victuals. Then we got to the banks of the river Beas and there we boarded a raft with an additional family unit containing three chums, a cheerful bird at his fifties, his wife and his youthful offspring who advocated her propelling the damn thing. After a frankly terrific adventure we reached the town of Manali.
We had to set off at an unmanly hour. The tour chap was raving on about the enormity of one Mrs.Idimba devi whose place as it turned out was nearly a shack. Our SUMO belted around corners of Rohtang pass where upon the snow top was to be reached. At the whiteout summit we worried some horses by riding on them and then we frazzled ourselves a bit trying to glide. The bird ploughed on perpendicular when my dad and mum decided that they caught mumps. I being a wise thinker deployed some Cadbury and all the seven of us were on top form once again. The nature was kind enough to shower some sparkling snow on us and we realized that there was nothing kind about it. The rest of the day was quietly spent in our rooms.
Himachal Pradesh apart from that it seems contains a bit of no snow. The astonishing thing is that it unites chaps of diverse genres. All clans were brought together by the might of nature which led to a photograph gathering. The rest of fourth day though was entirely depleted moving about other than a stroll at ‘Pinjore gardens’ which wasn’t a garden by any means. And there was amusement of sorts structured by a self allotted VJ. The three element family who were friends with us by that time were the key part of the pack. I unleashed all my vocal nerves and the whole thing was put off.
We were a crowd of seven when we were fooling around at the Rock garden which was essentially a labyrinth. I then put into the oral cavity the concluding buffet by which time I cherished buffets because I knew that later I would have to devour idlis in my company refectory. There was an air of melancholy inside the coach. As the enjoyment was overcome by the pain of separation from new comradeships all the elderly members shared their viewpoint on how vital a break is to everyone’s life and all of them made sense. After exchange of farewell messages I promised my new buddy and her folks that our families were more than just fellow travellers.
A tour in reality is not merely about the location, it is about escaping the ennui. It is about constructing a collage of memories in the book of life. A life with no such joy is like a book with no colourful pages, a book with no amusing events. It might be brilliant in some respects but certainly not cheerful to read.‘When oft on my couch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood; they flash upon my inward eye which is a bliss of solitude’ – Daffodils by William Wordsworth