Me’s back! a week after the rejuvenating trip to the hills up North, which earned me envious looks and incredulous remarks like – ‘what? in just 2 days?’and also a few compliments like – ‘You look fresh!’ (yes, it’s called the being-away-from-work symptom :D) to ‘you’ve grown fairer!’ (what else do you expect? with weather which had me flummoxed enough to insist that the sun is the moon…yeah, giggle away! and don’t forget to check with the hubby for details, he will be all too happy to oblige! :-|)
Though the trip itself was lovely and the scenic beauty ethereal, our journeys seemed to be jinxed! Whatever be the mode of transport – be it the train journeys – both the onward and return ones or the short trip in the Delhi Metro or even on the return flight back home, we were accompanied by irksome co-passengers. While the others were still pardonable as – ‘hota hai‘, the family which sat behind our seats in the first leg of our train journey from Delhi, needed a lesson or two in manners. While one of the uncles, very obviously being a financial advisor, couldn’t rest his mouth for more than 2 minutes any time during the 5 hour journey, the auntyji insisted on borrowing her Bittu’s mobile and treating the entire coach to an extended dose of her favourite 70’s songs. When I turned around and politely asked her to use head-phones/ ear-plugs, she gave me a dirty look and said -‘ kyon? kya problem hai?aur toh ab sona ka bhi time nahin hai!’ I turned back fuming and muttering expletives under my breath.
Well, it’s not that I don’t enjoy music, I am huge self-declared fan of Kishore Kumar. But right then, when we had just started on the long journey and everyone was still trying to settle in, I didn’t particularly want music blaring right behind my ears! And who was she to decide if it was sleep-time or not? Poor hubby was trying a catch a few-winks, but couldn’t absolutely do so! In fact, a sterner to-the-point warning from him was needed to get down the volume levels, albeit temporarily. I had no choice but to bury my nose deep into the Sudoku I was trying to solve! For all that she said, her two laadle puttars were busy snoring, just 20 mins into the journey! Hmpf! 😡
Now that I have the rant out of my system, let’s talk about the good parts. As I’ve already mentioned the journey in the toy train with steam puffing out from the little red engine and people crying out loud each time the train got into the various tunnels, seemed like a scene straight out of the Hindi movies. As if this wasn’t enough, every hour or so the train would chug into a quaint little station complete with a station master waving his red flag and the station name greeting us from the yellow boards – this seemed to be right out the pages of a favourite book – the setting could’ve been just about anywhere. Though the onward journey in the regular train with straight backed seats and stops at every station tired us out a little, the return in the deluxe version with push back seats and few stops was absolutely delightful.
The hill-town itself was magnificent and our hill-top hotel oh so romantic! The climate and the views absolute bliss – one moment the world would be covered in the fluffy haziness of mist and the very next, the layer would lift to reveal hills steeped in Deodhar trees and rows of houses stretching out into the green valleys beyond. It was hide and seek of the most beautiful kind – ten minutes of rain would be followed by a fresh bout of bright sunshine reflected by the gleam of the fresh rain drops hanging on to the leaves and cobblestones. You’d exult at catching sight of the ever elusive sun only to be enveloped suddenly in a shroud of the descending clouds.
The one memory that I am going to carry with me forever is the sight of the green hills as seen from our train-window on the way back from the hill-town. We were an hour or two into the journey, having packed our camera – tired of clicking the beauty that each turn had to offer, we’d decided to just trust our eyes to drink it all in. It happened then – the train came out of a tunnel and took a turn and suddenly there was this stretch with absolutely no trees or anything else to block our view, the train track just adjacent to the descending valley and we looked up. Oh.my.God. Breath-taking – the word must’ve been coined to describe sights like this. For a few minutes we were in awe – it was valleys and hills in all directions and we were swamped by the greenery of it all. The hills rose majestically and the valleys seemed to meander and hug them, and bang in the middle was the train track snaking across ups and downs, in and out of tunnels – carrying along in its wake, our small train pulled by the little red engine chugging and spewing clouds of billowy smoke… Well, for me, that one moment made the trip complete! 🙂