Thursday, July 02, 2009

Powered Rain and Dharamsalaed Trek

Punjab has been reeling under power crisis. Nothing new, considering that the two prominent contenders for power have always been at verbal loggerheads with little time and energy to think of common people. And do not forget Mr Sukhbir Badal contributing his (unfortunately worthless) more than two pennies too. Anyway, I desist from political commentaries and I stick to the bijli crisis that we all suffered and which was a supreme case of mismanagement, rowdiness, and haphazard supply. As a result, you have a paddy cultivating Punjab suffering badly with a power supply released for half an hour every two hours. Anyway, this post is not about power.

Thankfully, for the past two days it has been raining hard and good and I cannot help grinning. Rasan, ecstastically hugged me yelling, Mama, hun bijli nahi jayegi na? (there will be no power cut anymore, right?) Never in the last five years have I celebrated rains in such a spirit. Why, you would say? My previous residence was a closed kind of building where you did not get to see the stars. Mahesh loves to see and show off the stars to kids here in this residence. Here, I hear the koel, I hear the crows. Sadly there are no small house sparrows that I grew up watching in my house. I loved the way they picked at the grains that we scattered in the courtyard for them. They are innocence incarnate. Where did you all go, dear little sparrows?? And here I get to see grass growing so fast that the gardener is unable to finish trimming the whole garden in one go, By the time, which means days actually, he gets to finish the lawn, the grass at the beginning, much to his and my chagrin, grows back and yells for his attention. Being a sarkari banda, he doesn’t bother though. Grounds filled with water, cool breezes, jamuns falling off the trees in front of the main gate. You deserve a video. I will post it soon.

But then this post was not about rain also. This post was about our recent visit to Dharamsala and the trek that we enjoyed with the kids.
the fortunate girl, the unlucky boy

Before we set out for Dharamsala, everybody discouraged us saying that there is nothing much to see in Dharamsala. Sure they were right, if you go by the standards of a standard Punjabi family looking for fun. The staple fun that they expect in a hill station consists of these ingredients -there should be a good hotel, sumptuous food, car-able road (road where you can take your car and blare the stereo at full volume to disturb others), drinks – mostly for men, and shopping-loads of it-for women. We are different.
buddies

I mean I am different. My family was looking for the fun, sans the drinks. This time around though, I had my way. I made them live in a lodge with few luxuries. I pushed them out of the rooms at 8 am and we trekked all the way to a nameless waterfall. Most of the people who have been to dharamsala would understand that I am talking about Bhagsu Nag. Sure, we went there too. I found the priceless FBI at work there. This other waterfall is way higher above McLeodganj and Dharamkot where you leave your car to go into the wild to explore the priceless waterfall. I and Mahesh would have loved to go there alone but we had kids along. So we had a family meeting, took kids' consent that they would walk all the way to the waterfall which was about 4 kilometers uphill through narrow trails. It was fun, because with every step that we took, we were heading away from civilisation.
in the middle of the trek, we could hear the waterfall and could not see it

Kids were apprehensive, Mahesh quiet. I am sure he was thinking if it was a good idea to take his family into the wild. 1 hour and 45 minutes into the trek and we reached the waterfall. It is infact an assortment of 5 waterfalls and three wonderful pools that they form. With only two trekkers who reached prior to us, we were a total of 7 people on site. The seventh being Sansar, a man of 35 who runs a cafe here.
Sansar, the gutsy guy who lives alone at the waterfall

The cafe has the barest refreshments but the guy’s attitude is far more refreshing than anything else. A few minutes of talk with him revealed that he is unmarried and that he enjoys staying here-far far away from madding crowd. When asked if he misses living near the city he said “Those who live in stress need meditation; I am meditating every single minute of my existence. No, I don’t miss the village nor the city” It was somehow strange to find a humble businessman uttering these words.

I had a big fall on the rock near the waterfall. With an already injured knee it was a bit too much for me to handle. I wanted to cry, as in , I wanted to weep but just about managed with a yell and Mahesh rushed to my side, made me stand in the cold cold water to cure the knee of any fresh muscle tear and I was able to walk back through the tricky trail that we had chosen to spend our morning in.
the end of the trek-a tired trio, atop a cement ka ghoda

The day prior to it had been spent in roaming about in the McLeodganj market. Kashmiri stalls of trinkets and silver jewellery arrested me a lot of times but my favourite cop came to my rescue and released me from the shackles of avarice for newer pieces of junk jewellery. The Namgyal temple, its great wooden interiors , the funny signboard that warned us thus,
even when you are inside the temple? You gotta leave your eyes outside...

chess in every cafe, momos, Tibetan bread, bad humoured waiter serving us French toasts, a cool waiter bringing in chicken tikka, thin crust pizza,

bole so nihal, sat sri akal slogans in the McLeodganj main square, lunch in McLlo, dinner in CarpeDiem, cold drinks sans limits, half the night atop the lodge roof-under the stars, no internet, no TV , a dried up Dal Lake (yes there is one Dal here too- a duplicate one), St John's gothic Church and Lord Elgin's grave and Mahesh trying to play ghost,

this bell was foundered in 1915 in London

-that is what our two days consisted of. The third day, we went to this trek and said adieu to the hills, till we meet them again.

43 comments:

Pinku said...

Lovely!!!!

thanks for putting up the post finally...I have been waiting...

and I am so very glad you did make the trip...

Phoenixritu said...

McleodGanj! I love the place. When I retire, this is where I wanna live, eat thupka, momos and drink chai all the time.

Lovely description. Wish your knee is better now

Monika said...

wow

first u tell me how big is garden BTW??? he takes days to trim it??? wow now i want to visit the place

u should be thankful of punjab here in blore if we want to see stars we have to go atleast 100kms away from the city sigh... ojas was actually so surprised to see stars this time when we took him to munnar

and the trek sounds lovely, ya these small cafes up there serve mainly maggi and omelets but then after that trek everything tastes yum :)

and how is ur knee now?

ThoughtSafari said...

Looks like you guys had loadsa fun! I want to go to McLeodGanj sometime too!

Lazyani said...

Lovely post. Loved the photographs. Would like to visit the place someday.

By the way, thanks for visiting my site and posting comments.

Gazal said...

now this was one long post,so it deserves a long cmmnet as well.But enjoyed every word in it.

looks like your garden is a stress buster in itself.I miss all the non city postings in fauj, where we lived in the jungle almost like junglee.

I remember our trip to MLganj.def one of the most peaceful and amazing places I have been to in India.

hope your knee is better now.Am sure you must have been spoilt rotten by M and the kids.

lovely pictures.

Life Begins said...

WOWWWWWWWWWWWW.......

that's all i am able to say right now...for every single word :)

Take care of your knee.

Devaki said...

Wow Mampi, this is my sort of vacation too! I so want to stay in Delhi someday to be able to make those impromptu weekend trips to the mountains!!! The scenery is gorgeous here too, but I miss the chai and garmagaram desi snacks at the end of a long trek. :)

Anamika said...

That sounded lovely. Your words made the place more appealing.

Mampi said...

Pinku-you are the supreme temptress. In fact I should have dedicated the post to you.

Ritu-Its too crowded now somehow. Knee is getting better.

Monika-Hahaha, the garden thingy is exaggeration. There are two lawns-big ones. Stars-are a luxury.

ThoughtSafari-Do go there, its a good experience.

Lazyani-You must visit it. Its worth going to.

Gazal-No one spoiled me-they forgot the knee thingy the moment the trek was over. Queen of two hours, that was me.

Life Begins-I wanted more than wow.

Devaki-somehow the snacks in those cafes have been replaced by packaged material, I dont enjoy those things.

Anamika-Thanks dear.

Tandarin Nike said...

Excellent Mampi, enjoyed reading it.
BTW, these days you see very small number of sparrows in India because of the incredibly high number of microwave transmitting dishes for business and mobile telephony. This small bird is unable to sustain within cities anymore. Its a mini scene of how humans too will be eradicated from the face of this earth.....

Veena said...

Hi Mampi.. nice description of your courtyard.. :) put up that video..

You should have put some pictures of the waterfall too ..

BTW, did you get bored by the time you reached the end of post ... just asking :)

Kiran said...

nice post and cutee pics =)
hope your knee is OK!

maheshinder_singh said...

For the first time, i had a liking for the mountains,though momentary. Still further,may be for the first time i felt the 'peace' inside, when we reached the waterfall after the arduous( more due to concern for the kids & mampi) trekking.All thanks to you mampi for pushing me for a small outing.

Sidhusaaheb said...

To me, Dharamsala and McLeodganj are all about leisurely strolls, espresso (or simply hot-coffee if no espresso is available), lazing about in general, enjoying the views and photography. I haven't been there in a long time though.

Good to know that you're enjoying life at the colonial bungalow!

:)

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you for putting up such a nice post. I enjoyed it with hot Tea before starting my work. The unusual late Rain in Baildila of Chhatisgarh started only yesterday. It is a nonstop Shatabdi, the first phase of NoNstop rain shall end in Mid Aug but this year it may be uncertain.

Oreen said...

ah, very refreshing early morning read. another frnd recently did a 10 km trek in cherrapunji with her kids and husband...this reminded me of her trek...
i guess there's nothing better for a family to bond :)

may your knee get better soon ...

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Great post! I loved the way you traveled into adventure and nature. Reminded me of all the travels we made to various Himalayan places when we were in Kolkata. And the Sansar-s always amaze me with their fortitude and wisdom.

hitchwriter said...

That is a fantastic trip !!!!!!

Exactly my idea of a vacation... !! low on budget and high on adventure, nature, fun, trekking... !!!!!

I just love being in one place and exploring it by foot... !!!! :D :D

Most Must to pass this onto kids !!!!!!

D said...

Lovely!

But why haven't you shared pics of the waterfall with us?

Iya said...

what a beautiful write up of a lovely weekend spent..loved reading it..

my space said...

mujhe bhi jaana hai dharamshala!!
It sounds great fun...u r too good mampi , actually picturised the whole thing thanx to ur description..
Sacchi wo choti chidiya (we call it gauraiiya) dikhti hee nahi..though i have one who comes everyday at my window ...yahan se waahan phudakti hai..really sweet..
btw knee is ok?

Cynic in Wonderland said...

this is nice. philosophy by the waterfall.

Mampi said...

T.Nike-Thanks for your input. You are so right about the extinction game going on.

Veena-Thank you. No, I did not get bored by the time i reached the end of the post. I know why you say that, because there is too much of description paused by commas. But I thought if I go on and on and on, it might bore the visitors to the blog.

Kiran-Knee is getting better, it still hurts though. Thanks for asking.

Mahesh-You slowly got to love the writer, you will eventually love the mountains too. This is 'another' of those reasons. LOL.

SS-It was indeed great fun.

Pradip-Your comment is a poem in itself.

Oreen-Amen to your prayer for my knee.

Sucharita-meeting and communicating with such people is always a bonus, isnt it?

Hitchwriter-You are so right, it is a must to pass on to kids. Exploring a place on foot is the greatest idea. I m glad my family agreed to do this with me.

D-Yeah, amazingly, why havent I posted any pics of the waterfall. The reason-the waterfall was good, nothing like those picturesque things you see on postcards, but somehow I didnt feel inclined to click it, most of it because of my knee.

Iya-Thank you my dear.

MySpace-I am so glad you liked the post. Regarding the disappearance of the sparrow, read Nike's comment.

Cyn-Finally I dragged you here, hehe., I is wicked, isnt I?
Thanks for your comment and please do keep visiting.

Rajindarjit said...

Nice sharing the experience of living in open house surrounded by greenry.
Also sharing the visit to Dharamsala.
Dharamsala is a place to enjoy not less than a fortnight.But you grabbed the views in a short span of holidaying there with your skill. I love the way you expressed.
Waiting for more on this visit.
Dhindsa

Manish Raj said...

Wow Wow Wow...lovely place...lovely post...

Thank you so much...

Anonymous said...

when u talk about the sparrows, u sound like my mom.. she befriends birds..n when i say birds i mean the sparrow n the crow..coz thats the only kinda birds we have here in bbay!! we have pigeons too.. but they arent particularly friendly..
at one time, dharamshala used to be on my "to go to" list.. had hazar friends who made a trip there n so i wanted to go to.. then somewhere along the line, i bumped it off my list.. after that post im putting it back on..
howz the knee now??
mandira
churningthewordmill.wordpress.com

Devika said...

Oh rains finally...But freaking out for three days now, I am down with fever :)

I so love to read your narratives, and...here, i read as I was there...such narratives are a pleasure to read, Mampi :)

I have been here and read Peaceful Coexistence...but the comment didn't get through...and then I got so late,

I find few more...will be here again tommorrow, Mampi..now very sleepy :)

wishes,
devika

shraddha said...

that was a good trip....

awsome post...

dipali said...

What a wonderful post, Mampi. Please post pics of your new house and garden too:)
I hope your knee is better.

oceanic mirages said...

oh my god........
i am so jealous.
have been trying to go on a trip for quite some time n havnt been able to... ummmm m sooo jealous...

Sudhir Khandelwal said...

Mampi, McLeod Ganj is one hill station where you get 10 different kinds of tea, some of the best cakes and pastries, and monkey' tail as dessert. Your kids are at the right age to be introduced to thrill of trekking. Next time, do trek to Triund. See: http://himalayanadventurer.blogspot.com/2009/05/visiting-dharamsala-again.html

Solilo said...

That seems like a wonderful trip and loads of fun.

Going outdoors and being with the family is just bliss!

Liju Philip said...

arrey wah...you are travelling to some great places. wish i could too. its really time to discover India.

Sneha Divakar said...

so cool.. i am now itching to visit Dharamshala and have loads of fun :D

UL said...

now I wanna try Dharamsala - sounds so much fun...I love trekking, you chose well, am glad to hear you tried something different and had the time of your life...

Imp's Mom said...

Beautiful!! Loved ur post and the pics, you transported me there :-)

hear u abt the garden trimming bit, happens here too at home, and doesn't help that we have a front and a back yard :P

“Those who live in stress need meditation; I am meditating every single minute of my existence. No, I don’t miss the village nor the city” Sansar has found bliss!

Mampi said...

Mama-In this post, I forgot to mention that we also saw the Slate hills close to Bhagsu-Nag.

Manish-Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mandy-I m soooooooo glad the place is back on the list. Drop by at my place whenever you do Dharamsala. Knee is not good.

Devika-Hope you are better now. Rains showed their face for two days and have vanished again. Too bad I cannot leave comments on your beautiful poems.

Shraddha-Welcome to my blog. Thank you for liking the post.

Dipali-Knee not good. Pics will come soon.

OcMi-Dont be jealous, plan a trip. Befriend my friend Pinku. She is a devil incarnate-keeps on tempting people into planning such trips. I just mentioned that I planned to go to Dharamsala and there she was, goading me-booking houa? kab ja rahey ho? blah blah blah."

Sudhir-Wanted to do Triund. But Mahesh did not have time, and it would have been too much for the kids. Plus my knee was bothering. Next time, pacca.. Loved your post on Dharamsala.

Solilo-It indeed is a bliss. More than the mountains, it is the time we spend together.

Liju-Next time do the due.

Sneha-It is exactly your kind of trip.

UL-Must do must do, and when you do, must stay with me on the way.

Imp's Mom-I am so glad you liked the post.

June Saville said...

I loved this post Mampi.
I think we should all encourage our children to explore new pathways in life - 'real' and by thinking laterally.
Cheers
June

Mithe said...

Heavenly....
I mean the writing as well. It was a treat to read it...everything condensed in the proper amounts and one big post to cover the entire three days...lovely. Thanks for such a vivid description ma'am...
Beautiful photos as well but where are you in them?

Balvinder Singh said...

Lovely trip and lovelier discription, (Mampi style)

just doing some catchiong up with the older posts as i missed a lot during shifting and settling at Nagpur.

Alok said...

No wonder Dalai Lama chose this place after a brief stint at Mussoorie........

G S Rana said...

Oh, Nostalgia. Very few places bring out this feeling for me. Mcleodganj/Dharamshala is one of them and you describe that joy too well. Thanks.:-)