Just returned from a trip to Mussoorie
Mussoorie, the proverbial Queen of Hill stations, as professed by the British gentry who evaded hot, desultory summers of Delhi and Kolkata by spending time here, has been an almost inveterate part of my life. Our family home was in Dehradun whereby Mussoorie by default was the summer spot.
Not much has changed over the years on the Mall Road, unless you consider a sprouting of shops of every hue and variety dappled all along the narrow streets. Being of a disposition that treasures seclusion and quietude over crowds and thronging merry makers, we had over the years minimised our annual trips. The spirit of Mussoorie seemed to have lost its sheen having been buried in commercialisation that annoyed by virtue of its almost ubiquitous presence, no matter how deep one imagined having travelled, away from the madding crowd.
This time however, we were hell bent on discovering another side and destination in Mussoorie. The weather rainy, romantic, right for some travel adventures. So we set on, with just one goal to drive up high into the mountains and find a tea shop that would afford us the inimitable pleasure of ‘chai and pakoras’ that is a must on a rainy afternoon.
We had no idea just what was in store. Not wishing to get into Mussoorie proper, through either the Picture Palace or Library entrance, we proceeded to drive up to Landour. Having been to Dhanaulti on several occasions, a trip to Landour was long overdue.
The drive was excruciatingly steep, with blind turns and hair pin bends. Not one for daring drives, I imagined I might have turned stone white, or so says hubby, who seemed to be reveling in his expertise behind the wheel. My nails biting into the arm of my son since hubby was to be left undisturbed lest his concentration waver, I recited the Hanuman chalisa, much to the amusement of the rest of the caboodle.
Having crossed Sisters Bazaar, a remnant of the sisters (nuns) at the chapel, we suddenly arrived at this almost perfect picturesque spot called ‘Char Dukaan’ or Four Shops. I yelled out in pure delight. You would have as well. I mean what more could I ask for! It even had a tea shop! A dream come true.
Pictures speak a thousand words. There is no way I could have explained the ethereal, divine scenery that greeted us. It was as if the rain gods had decided to gift us just enough rain to keep the semblance of the monsoon intact whilst simultaneously shutting off the showers once we had reached atop.
Actual sunlight..around 6.00p.m
Can you see the raindrops glistening? At such times its kinda okay to have a professional
as a hubby
We were surrounded with fog at 3.00 p.m. and the aroma of waffles wafted through from the tea shop. Hot cups of coffee with grilled sandwiches, omelette buns, which I might have avoided like the plague ordinarily were hungrily devoured. Topped with chocolate waffles generously smothered with Maple syrup.
The owner of the Tip Top tea shop, Vipin Prakash became a friend. His simple, unobtrusive, hospitable demeanour won me over totally. He single handedly manages his little empire consisting of a Kitchen table with wife handling the chopping jobs. It was so quaint, so unassuming and so delightful. Just what the Doctor ordered.
For whom do these flowers bloom? Quite a lesson in life..
How I love ferns! And these are just randomly growing on the hill slope!
Can you believe this is 8.00 p.m? Its as if Nature blessed us with light to maximise our joy!! The sun refused to set.
I have no idea just why this pic refuses to get enlarged..the guy in the pic was a delightful fella who merrily posed for us.
This is Sonnys attempt at capturing nature into a curd glass
May I also inform you that Landour is home to Ruskin Bond the erstwhile and much respected author, who has spent his entire life in these hills. No wonder really.. given a choice I’d happily settle there amidst the flowers blooming unseen on the hill slopes, silence greeting you at every corner, colours of the sky as if being painted by the Divine Creator Himself..never repeating a shade. ..it was just so awesome.
Victor Bannerjee, a good friend of hubbys Tom Alter and lately Prannoy Roy have proven how smitten they are with Landour.. they all have villas here. Whew.. just how do they go up and down the hill!
Just how did this vehicle make it to the top? If only for its sheer ingenuity, the pic had to be posted. We spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure out just how it might have arrived with guesses ranging from ..’its never been down’.. to ” its a show piece”.. till we finally manged to locate the owner who stated simply ” Nahin jee..roz neeche jaati hai aut phir upar aati hai”..Maruti ought to use this as their strongest ad
Vipin gleefully informed me that Sachin Tendulkar was at his tea shop a while ago, along with another restaurateur friend Sanjay Narang. Vipins family has been here since the time of the British, almost 80 years ago, when his father was a postman here. The family knows no other life and are well ensconced in living this Oh so quaint life.
Does he have any idea just how lucky he is ?