Monday, February 02, 2009



The day before had been eventful and I expected this day to be even more wonderful.

I had set the alarm at 7 : 30 am. Yes I know it is not early enough. Not by my standards, not by my mother’s standards, not by my mother-in-law’s standards. But hell, neither mom or mom-law were there. I tried to wake up at 8, couldn’t. How can you, when you have good hug material close to you? It took great will power to finally shake myself up 15 minutes later. Pinku-Parry had ordered morning tea for me too. Sheepishly, I went there (cos I was late), took tea in their room, didn’t want to wake Mahesh who had told me that he wanted to sleep even more. I and P and P decided we wanted to go for a late morning walk. We ventured downhill from close to the hotel. It was a steep downhill walk. All the while I kept thinking that if I have to walk uphill from here, it would an arduous task.

I kept boring P and P with the old songs that I have loaded in my cell-phone. We reached the bus-stand and P and P went to buy muffins from a good looking confectionary shop (wallah who was not worth the money Pinku spent) and found that the shop wallah had, in the process of re-heating, burnt the core of the overpriced muffin. I am absolutely at a loss how someone can burn a muffin from inside while it is still okay to look from the outside. Enough about the muffin, except that Parry burnt his tongue and cursed the good looking muffin walah. We came upto Subhash Chowk where Pinku scared a child in the car with her ‘hello’. With great difficulty we dragged her hurt ego away from the crying child and went to see Netaji’s statue, it is nicely done as compared to Gandhi’s in the Gandhi chowk. I don’t know why I felt very guilty being in front of Bose’s statue in track pants and sweater. It was a beautiful cloudy morning. It was 10: 00 a.m. by now. We then came back to the Geetanjali, showered, changed and took our breakfast at around 11:15 a.m. Pinku drooled at the very mention of Paranthas. She even forgot the 20 bucks worth muffin walah in the process. She and Mahesh had a parantha & butter competition. Mahesh was wicked enough to wipe off all butter and she was left courteously saying, “it’s okay Mahesh”. They asked for more butter from Pirthi Bhaiya (the cook) and he said , we have ample food but sorry we don’t have any more butter for the hungry hoarde. Disappointed, Mahesh and Pinku polished off another parantha each. I exaggerate, I am equally a culprit in over-eating too. By 1, the parantha fight was over. Contented, we thought of what to do next. Khajjiar was out of question, I told you everyone had discouraged us the previous day. We thought , lets go to Lakkar Mandi, about 8 kilometers away and then decide whether to go ahead to khajjiar or not.

Once there, the toll booth walah gave us the green signal, “Arey no problem, go ahead all the way to Khajjiar.” I jumped on the seat, the car shook a little and we were on the way. Snow? In Dalhousie. Yes, there was some, on the sides of the roads, but nothing to get excited about. Hell, the little snow we saw was dirty. Why was Pinku so het up about this bowlful of snow? But then I was being mean. I had seen heavy snow, white snow, rather snow storms in Canada and this baby-snow was rather a wretched cousin of the real snow fall. By Dalhousie standards it was good, and the important thing was that it was SNOW- something Pinku had been singing for about a month. “I want snow fall, I want snow fall, I want snow fall.” In my heart of hearts I had kept laughing. Girl, where would you find snow in Dalhousie? But I also had been assuring her that I was also praying with folded hands for snow. But snow? In Dalhousie? We kept stopping on the way where there was abundance on the hilly slopes. We kept getting drenched by drunk drivers driving cars through potholes in the roads. But I didn’t mind it, not at all. It was fun, it was a cloudy day, no sun, and was cold, really cold, but it was fun. We were with friends; and friends wanted snow.

Bless Mahesh for driving all the way to Khajjiar. We reached there and Mahesh said, “Is this what is Khajjiar?” in the same tone as I had thought, "Snow? In Dalhousie?" I knew he would not be sharing my enthusiasm about the saucer shaped valley. After all what would you expect from a Passionate but essentially practical guy? I said yes, this is it, come lets run about. It was windy and cold. Mahesh would not let go of any pretext to remove his jacket once anyone aimed the camera at him. He would freeze, his teeth would be on the verge of chattering, but he needed to remove his jacket. He even tried to tempt me into removing the jacket. Thank god I didn’t give in. (Wish I had, because I have caught sinusitis anyway.) Then it drizzled and we walked in the rain around the vast meadows. I have been to Khajjiar many times, for camping, for trekking. I even located that hut that we used to use as a dorm and which has now been re-named ‘the Khajji’ as rhyming with Bhajji. But nothing to beat this peripheral walk around Khajjiar. The forest has been cordoned off with a barbed wire. I think it is a wise move that would lead to protection of wildlife. Human beings are more a danger to wild animals than the other way round. Rain forced us to get back to the car and we headed back. A narrow road, super heights, slippery path, but no fear. I had faith in the Man and his Machine. On the way, we were tempted to stop at another snow heap. That was when Pinku finally had her cottony snow in her hands. Boy, was she excited ! Everyone around could make out that her prayers had just been answered. And that is when I learnt about her Skiddaa.

A skiddaa is a skid in Punjabi. Her funda is that you add an ‘a’ or ‘aa’ and the word becomes Punjabi. And she says that you add an ‘o’ and it becomes a Bangla word. Now a big hug is a huggaa to her, and of course a parantha is a paranthaa to her. Pinku, I am just being mean, I know you are reading and I know you are drooling. She took a skiddaa once we reached enough height. That was certainly not enough. She climbed up again as we stood on the road, and took another big skiddaa. All the time, there was this song playing at the back of my mind “tere hatho’n mein pehna ke choodiyan, mauj banjara le gaya’. Ask me why? There was this fat-drunk Punjabi guy who stood watching her taking her skiddaas. All the time, our dear Pinku knew nothing of his existence. She was totally into her skiddaas. He was what we call in Punjabi “Tharki” (voyeur). He kept talking to his fat son, “oye mera alloo da parantha, oye mera burger, oye meri maggi” (all he could think was junk food) and was keeping an eye on Pinku skidding. When she was finally done with her big skiddaas, he looked at Pinku and said, “Maza aya na bhabiji?” Hehee, I wanted to go and ask him, “Oye keehdi bhabi oye?” (Which in simple English means, I dont know you but I am your brother-in-law) and what the hell did you do to add to the fun?" However, I didnt ask him anything, considering he was drunk. I just hummed the song out loud. Got the relevance?

Came back to Dalhousie, all gaga – me over the Khajjiar trip and Pinku-Parry over the snow. I blessed Mahesh, his wife, and his kids for taking me all the way there. And also for asking him to click weird pics on the way ; and that too at a notice of 2 seconds when he couldn’t even find the parking space on the side of a slipping hill.

We again did that parking walah trick with the nearby hotel parking space. Mahesh had not been very comfortable about parking the car stealthily there. What a Gandhi-wadi of a husband. After dinner, we both went to this hotel and talked to the manager. He refused point blank to entertain us or our car. “Kar lo aur honesty,” I wanted to yell out to Mahesh. But he talked the manager into letting us park our car there, and I was relieved. What would I do without this guy in my life? At least I won't be able to park the car anywhere nice.

Ok, I skipped the detail about dinner. We, in the limited choice that we had in our dinner, chose a nice hotel and begged them to give us food because we were sick of dhabaas. They had some corporate party (this is what they chose to call it) which was hardly a corporate party. It was a motley group of diners from the same hotel. The hotel stewards preferred to call it a corporate party, so be it as long as we had a DJ to make the entire din and so long as P and P got a chance to shake a leg there. It was a great fun to watch them have fun. And let me mention that Pinku found the same kid who cried at her very sight and pataoed him to smiles this time. The dinner was really really good.

We came ‘home’. And surprisingly, I was not tired at all. But sleep we did. Incidentally that day there was this big spat between Sajid Khan and Ashutosh Gowarikar as a repeat on TV. I still do not know what all happened there. I never watched that spat. I refuse to patronize anything that is bad publicity. Not that my not watching makes a difference…

Pics in the next post. Promise.


Pinku said...

Finally Dalhousie 2 is here!!!

The skidda was good..tharki or no tharki...and you can laugh all you want at my snow dreams...I dont mind at all.

After all my wish got granted what more can I ask for?

Life Begins said...

bahut khoob :)
snow... haha...that was fun... But i know exactly how someone who had never seen snow before would feel about even an inch somewhere. Even after seeing so much already I still get excited about it.

Aww...and i am craving some nice warm paranthas's cooooollllddddd...(BTW,I also believe adding extra letters to a word makes it stronger and explains better how i am feeling about that)

Now dont take another week for pics.

Quirky Indian said...

20 buck for a muffin? Wow! Though it seems the parathas made up for it.

Skidda. What a wonderful word!


Quirky Indian

Rajindarjit said...

This posting contains fun n frolic,
change n freshness, holidaying n enjoying. God is great to fulfill your wishes may it be of snow fall dream.
Trust in God !
Muffins, prantha competition, enjoying rain in winter added a spice in your tour.
You took your readers along with you while writing this post.
Nice piece of a travelogue!Congrats.
Keep it up!

Gurinderjit Singh said...

That is so funny!
The only thing which gives me pain is the desire to see snow..
Man! I am shoveling day and night.. there is 15 ft of mountain in my front yard...more in the forecast.. said...

arre!! where are the pics?? (just HAD to say that!:P)

why the surprise over the snow? it does snow in dalhousie..a little... when i went to dalhousie i saw snow.. it was at least a fortnight only, muddy and dirty...but it was there...

parathas in the cold are The Best Thing to Eat! if u had a cup of hot tea to follow,even btr!

maheshinder_singh said...

The second day was nodoubt more enjoyable, but most exciting moment was a little snowfall.I wanted it to fall for Pinku.It delighted to see Pinku elated, jumping and skidding. It felt as if the journey rather the mission was accompilshed

Devika said...

Read both -- Part I and II..

Very interesting read,Mampi
and to know you more, :)


Anonymous said...

i am so not jealous. na ji na. bilkul nahi.

How do we know said...

wow!! One more time, u almost take us there with u. tuhanu professor nahi writer hona chahida si.. bachche vi kitaabaan vich takde te jane khane da vi bhala ho jaana si.

Mampi said...

Pinku-The fun of going with you...You are so sweet to give me such a long rope, but essentially that meant an appreciation of your snow dreams and a re-assertion of the fact that if you want something dil se, you definitely will get it.

Life Begins-Paranthaas, ahh. People identify Punjabis by Paranthaas.

Quirky Indian-Yeah, it is outrageous, 20 bucks for a muffin !!!.

Mama-Thank you. I love you for being so prompt here.

Guri-Aww that is sad now. Too much of it is really a pain in the neck. But that Khajjiar Road is the same as it was in our times.

Mandos-Pics come in the next post. I was just being mean about "snow? in dalhousie?"

Mahesh-Hahaha,the man, the machine and the mission !!!

Devika-Thanks my dear.

Roop-I know you are not jealous. You are such a darling.

HDWK- :) You helped me big time in raising my self esteem early this morning. I gotta tell this to someone, who else, Ok lemme call Mahesh.

D said...

I want pics NOW!

Satyajit said...

ah! love dalhousie. stayed there for 3 yrs in the 80's. imagine the lack of commercialization back then. 6 feet of snow on new yrs eve and some of the best parathas ever.
subhash & gandhi chowk ring a bell.

Mama - Mia said...

wow!! read one and two in one shot and what a travelogue woman!

so all in all fun was had! :D The name Dalhousie itself sounds so quaint and nice!

and yes, waiting for the pictures! :)



anamika said...

hey..Mampi..that was too good a read! Enjoyed walking with you guys in Dalhousie..and LOL ed over your jokes..waake hi..mazaa aaya

Monika said...

i get excited on snow too... last himalayan trip we made (auli, badiranath, chopta etc) i eat everyone's head for snow...

Pinku feels like my souls sister :):)

Phoenixritu said...

Wonderful. I totally was with you all through the trip ... you have such a wonderful way to telling us about it.

I want skiddaaa, I want paranthas, I want the ... what am I saying, I dont want the tharki

Oh yes, I want pics

PARRY said...

In your writings you surely take us with you... and with the sprinkling of humour one doesn't tire in reading your long posts which have become common now.
waiting for the third part.

Gazal said...

why are you making us drool....

skid ka skidda....wah !!!
lol @good looking muffin walah....

Oreen said...

now i know what skiddu and huggu mean... they are skid and hug in Kannada...

these guys pronounce (and even WRITE) Oraculu for Oracle! said...

oh dnt be mean ya..nt about the snow!!! i was damn excited when i was that dirty muddy snow...but then i was 14... probably wont excite me as much now...

Deep Jagdeep Singh said...

Marvelous description Mampi
Good mixture of fun, traveling, sports, history facts, heath tips, comedy and some gray shade characters (tharki and smokers) too.

I have heard last night some producers were discussing (@ Lokhandwala Maket CCD, Mumbai) about this blog. I overheard this, “this blog has all bollywood masala mixture lets do ct rl+x and ctrl+v for our new movie script." Lol!!! :)

Pinku said...

you havent fulfilled the pic promise completly tied up guess you are not faring better either....

Sidhusaaheb said...

I wonder whether Pinku knows what hug or huggaa, as for that matter, means in Punjabi.



Nice one Mampi..
take care

PARRY said...

I was about to fell off my chair after reading sidhu paaji's comment.:D
With so many comments you are receiving on ur posts, you have the option of giving the best comment award too. ;)

EXSENO said...

I think you all had a good time on this outing. I don't blame Pinku for wanting to see some snow. We get very cold winters here some years but not snow very often so when we do it is fun and we have to go out and make a snow ball or two and play in it for a while.

zirelda said...

That sounds like fun. And I know what you mean by a cousin to a real snow. :)

Anonymous said...

"P & P"? Lolzzz.
I like dteh beginning too-the lines about the time were perfect!
"Skiddaaaa?" Where did you end up after that? 5 miles, 15 miles?(lolzzz)
Sounds like fun!!!

Mampi said...

D-Where are you now, Dalhousie III complete with pics is up.

Satyajit-I miss the old Dalhousie too. Glad to find a kindred soul in you. Keep visiting.

Abha-Thank you my dear.

anamika-Welcome to my blog dear. keep visiting. I am so happy you enjoyed reading this.

Monika-Yeah snow is such a beautiful phenomenon that one is bound to feel excited.

Ritu-Tharki'es come complimentary with the full package of skidaa and paranthaa.

Parry- Do you mean to say I must must must cut short the lengths now

Gazal-Drool is all that we did there, but there was no good lookin thingy. I didnt like the Muffin walah. She did.

Oreen-Diversity that is India, incredible India.

Mampi said...

Mandy-Nah, come over and it will still excite you. I m not as mean as I sound, hehe.

Deep Jagdeep-Your comment made me laugh out loud. Plagiarism is so rife in B'wood. Chal mere sir tey aish karan deo ohna nu. Baksh deo ji ohna nu.

Pinku-Job done.

SS-Nahi, I felt tempted to tell her, but I didnt have the heart to tell her. Changa changa socheya karo Paapiyo.

MIP-Thank you.

Parry-Well, idea is not that bad. I would hold some kind of academy award ceremony to adjudge the best comment, but SS nu ais wari nahi dena-ais post layee nahi.

Exseno-Invite her over, hehehe, and let her have all her heart's fill of snow.

Z-Yeah, you should see the Dalhousie III to tell me I was right after all.

Mithe-After that skidaa, she landed about 2 mts below the starting point. She was in jeans. she could afford skidaas, I was in a salwar, was worried about my bums.

Sneha Divakar said...

you should ve tried the skiddas, just for the bum-masti sake :D


sabh kush bahut khoob hai