Posted in bakery, dehradun, himalayan resort, himalayan river, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, landour, mountain, mountains, mussoorie, north indian, poha, Sunset, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writer, writing

Corn Village and Landour Exploration curated by Transforming Travels

Call it co-incidence, but I have been travelling more frequently to Uttarakhand this year than I ever did before. And although I am not really fond of the pebble laden trails here, the distinct Pahadi culture never fails to baffle me.

And the fact that the magnificent views here are still hidden from my prying eyes, I yearn to return here more often.

This unique experience was curated by the Transforming Travels and the organizers Chandni Aggarwal and Mihir Panda were their usual informative and cheery best.

Day 0

We, a group of six travellers, boarded an Innova from Mandi House Metro station at 11pm in the night.  After getting acquainted with each other, we retired for the day in our car seats.

Day 1

This day started early at 6:30 a.m. as we reached our hotel Grand Galaxy, a few kilometres from Mussoorie. Since road journeys tend to leave you exhausted, I preferred to sleep till 8:30 although that comforting sleep felt like eternity.

The breakfast ritual was performed in the blazing sun at the hotel courtyard from where you could get a magnificent view of the Mussoorie-Dehardun landscape. The usual poha, poori and aloo sabzi tend to become tastier in the mountains, I feel.

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Corn Village was the first place in our itinerary and before visiting the village, our first stoppage was at an elderly couple’s place. The husband Mr. Kunwar is the head of the village and his lady is a Canadian who decided to adopt the Pahadi culture. The lovely couple greeted us with a freshly prepared lemongrass tea and to sip it in the lap of the mountains while listening to the twittering of mountain birds was priceless! The couple have opened an English medium school for the children of Corn Village and are working tirelessly for literacy here.

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The vibrant yellow hues of the sweet corn cobs welcome you as you traverse through the village. The smiling villagers while going around their daily chores make you forget the tiredness from the road journey. The smiling children will pester you to play with them while the elderly ladies will oblige when you ask for a photograph to capture their earthy beauty.

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Lunch was a delicious affaire with make ki roti (corn chappatis), spiced wheat pancakes, sautéed pumpkins, mixed lentils, rice and sautéed greens. Each and every item was lip smacking to say the least.

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After Corn Village, Landour was not far behind. It is at a greater height than Mussoorie (some 2000m) and delicate cold winds will hit you abruptly. The colonial touches are more prominent here – stony pathways, wooden cottages, British conifers, deserted lanes and of course the bakeries.

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And I forgot to mention the very sophisticated boarding school kids scouting the Landour bakehouse. The bakery is pretty old – the puny roofs, the wooden interiors and the bone china cutlery will remind you of the bygone days. There is an extensive dessert menu with fresh bakes though I preferred to take chicken croissant sandwich which was ohh-so-warm. Not to forget the fresh ginger lemon tea with organic honey.

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Sunsets are not to be missed when you are in the mountains and the view from Lal Tibba is unforgettable.

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The day ended with a late dinner in the courtyard at the hotel and a sleep full of snores.

Day 2

The trek towards the origins of Kempty Falls had to begin early though we started late at 9a.m. A half an hour journey from our hotel to Cloud’s End where George Everest’s home stands tall. The building is in a dilapidated state with some hideous caricatures of undying love drawn on the walls. Nevertheless, the views are a thing of beauty at the canyon. The short hike to the top was a warm up for our trek and we successfully passed it.

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The trek towards the Kempty Falls origins is a descending one so expect sore calf muscles. You have to trudge very carefully as the well defined trail does get slippery in between. But the dense forests and the meadows encountered leave you breathless, quite literary. The trail foes through the Mussoorie Wildlife Sanctuary and we were told by some officials that bears and leopards are regular visitors there. Not to mention my chance encounter with a tiny snake that preferred to ran away instead of biting me.

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When you finally reach the gushing crystal clear blue-green waters of the many streams which ultimately form Kempty Falls, you can not help basking in the enchanting music. The long journey of 11km lays forgotten in the quiet of these streams.

After snacking on sweet corn and chai, we geared ourselves for Dehardun where we decided to have a grand dinner at Kalsang Ama café. I somehow never understood how these mountain cafes are able to dish out better pizzas, pastas and sandwiches than our high grade Delhi restaurants. The café scored excellent on quality as well as quantity.

And as usual, we decided to retire for the day in our car seats and reached Delhi in the morning hours.

Such rural explorations with unchartered trails are a speciality of Transforming Travels. Not to forget the comfort factor involved during road journey as well as hotel/resort stay.

 

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Posted in gemstones, musings, ruby, sapphire, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Rubies all the way!

For a rationale human being, wearing astrological gemstones does come at a price. For instance, people calling you religious and superstitious. And trust me, it is a big price to pay!

I have been made to wear about four of them – pearl, coral, ruby and yellow sapphire/amber in chronological order. I threw away my first pearl ring (which my departed maternal grandfather gifted me in 10th grade) because I could not write fast enough in my pre-board exams. (Ring in pinky finger does slows you down).

Then I wore it again, but I had a tendency to throw it away – I believe it was never meant for me.

Then came the coral because apparently my planets were misaligned and blah blah! Truth be told, my mind was misaligned more than my planets. At God knows how many astronomical units, these bloody planets can not affect me at the same rate as my mind can.

Getting back to our topic, coral was on my left finger and then the ravishing blood red ruby on my right one. I did not pay much attention to the ruby one, though I always relished looking at rubies in my childhood. After a year I was advised pearl again and that too combined with the coral one as a pendant. Imagine having to carry that much weight around your neck. Harry Potter, you have my sympathies when you wore Slytherin’s locket around your neck.

Last but not the least, the yellow sapphire came and trust me I can not afford to lose it or even throw it away. No puns intended. I might have spent a good smartphone’s worth on it.

I never knew the value of my blood red ruby ring until the day one of my colleagues pointed out her fondness for the same. Not once but more than thrice.

She still asks me from where did I get it and I always tell her I will tell you, though I forget to ask the friend who got me the ring, the name of jeweler.

There are more than thirty faces on this ring and I counted these after five years of first adorning it on my ring finger. You know why? Because I took it for granted, I took its sheen, its beauty for granted like we always do with so many people and things in our life. My colleague made me realize the lovely shine it reflected and refracted whenever I moved my hands or gestured angrily or threw my palms into my head when I wanted to pull away my hair.

Too bad, it took me five years and a person to finally see the beauty of this stone…..

But now I love to savour the shine of the ruby ring and deliberately move my finger at different angles so that I can bask in those little rays of light from the gemstone. They do make me happy, however small that might be.

Imagine what a solitaire would do!

Meanwhile that Slytherin’s locket or rather the coral-pearl duet lies away in my Mom’s dressing table. I think it has become a horcrux now because when I finally took it off, a wave of relief swept me. It probably took a part of my darkness away.

I can not believe what I am writing but it is 2 a.m. in the night and spookiness prevails.

But yes, the ruby stone is beautiful, better than any piece of jewellery I ever had.

Posted in Overthinking, poem, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Inmate

Amidst the swarms of crowd
I feel lost
Defunct and helpless
As a future less womb

In these ocean of mindless thoughts
I yearn to find my sanity
Doubting whether it is lost forever
Or still hiding within me

Unhindered musings enslave me
Binding my heart in their chains
Shackling my prudence
And my pride

Oh those shackles!
Slithering from my heart
To my feeble mind
Entangling every speck
Every shred
The last dregs of wisdom..

My soul is still untouched
Is it still mine
Or have the thoughts snaked around her as well?

Am I still left?
Is my essence there?
Or is it extinct
In the bloody swathes of binding reverie

Oh what am I?
If not
A prisoner of my own mind…

Posted in Love, poem, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Double – Whammy

Hiding your passion

You think you are clever

In fooling everyone

But not me.

 

Those tensed lines on your forehead

And the mindless scratching of your brows

Recite a different tale.

 

You roll your head

You flicker your eyes

Becoming bigger when you get astonished

 

I gaze at you

While you look the other way

Admiring your beauty

When you are least aware

 

Afraid I become when you peer into my eyes

And can gauge my world

Which resides in your heart

 

You know not about this secret admirer

Who waits to see your raucous laughter

Your infectious positivity baffles my inner demons

Letting me believe in life again

 

But another maiden waits for me back home

I love her but I am falling for you

For how long can I pretend?

This mind is with her but heart

Oh my dear wild heart…

It is slowly drifting towards you

Posted in blog, blogger, gluttonyguilts, himalayas, mountain, mountains, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Travel musings – Alchauna

We often become so engrossed in our worldly and comfortable pleasures that we forget the boons a simple life brings.
While on a digital detox retreat organized by @transformingtravels , I was able to re-connect with mother nature sans my cellphone. We were also given a tour of the organic farms and were invited to taste the fresh fruits and vegetables right from their source. Needless to say, I had never tasted peas which was so fresh and sweet.

These are the organic greenhouses that grow cabbage and spinach in the Silent Valley, Alchauna.

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