It’s time to move on….and I name it ‘Another leaf’. I call it so, because it’s the nth leaf of the innumerable profound memories created in the past one year. Dedicated to this Dev Bhoomi (Divine abode) where serenity and splendour go hand in hand…the beautiful orange radiance of the rising sun, and the mystical alpenglow of the evening with the silhouette of the mountains make an amazing backdrop resulting in a heavenly experience every day; this blog marks an end of our stay in this heaven. Promising that my other penned memories of this charming hill station will keep making their appearance every now and then.
What is in it that makes this halt so cherishing? Like every other move, this time too I feel nostalgic. The nomadic life beckons once again…the nuances of marrying a man in olive but always looking forward to new horizons with hope and optimism. Having spent, one full annual cycle here, it’s difficult for me to fathom which time of the year was the best here. Every season offered its shade of uniqueness. The simple people, architecturally picturesque heritage monuments, the colourful local bazaars, the delicious traditional food and flavourful wines, everyone afoot, the long walks through the verdant tracks, beautiful bungalows with low trellises draped in ivy…all compounding to a memorable experience and a perfect retreat from a bustling city life.
Our exciting Sunday drives to nearby panoramic locations will always be remembered with fondness…Naldhera our favourite…the beauty of its lush and immaculately pruned Golf Course, actually stole our heart. The unblemished beauty of Mashobra, Fagu, Theog and the fascinating green alpine landscape of Narkanda…the Skiing and Winter sports destination, with the Hatu Mata temple sitting atop the highest Hatu peak of Shimla district makes for a paradise on earth. The enthralling apple orchards sprawling on the mountain slopes during August-October offer an exhilarating experience and a perfect rapturous mood…all documented chronologically with my camera preserving those smiles and times for reminding us later of our good days spent in the pristine surroundings .The thought of the flavour and aroma of mouthwatering local cuisine especially Siddu and Dham, so fresh in my memory (courtesy Khadu Cafe, Thanedar) still tantalise my taste buds.
As I mentioned in earlier blogs also, a walker’s paradise-Shimla, its early morning and evening walks, come what may, formed part of our regular regimen…a time for soaking in fresh air and to build a reserve of unadulterated oxygen in our lungs… those familiar smiling faces, those curves and turns of the meandering roads, those beautiful houses with their very English names, the sun rays penetrating through the tall cedar and oak trees with familiar sounds of chirping birds tempting us to cover 10-15 kms every day…made for our lifetime’s memory. The town moved by the hooter slicing the quietness of the air at 10am and in the evening at 5pm signalling the begin and end of office working hours, a practice existing since the British rule…now an elemental part of everyone’s routine…the evening siren a reminder of our tea-time…those little things make a bigger difference…and add up to greater memories.
The last few days before we move from any place are always hectic…when we really want to touch all those places once again where we have enjoyed the most. Bidding adieu to friends is always high on agenda and to balance them with official commitments, farewell dinners, dining out and above all packing…calls for real time management. Simultaneously, you want to be a part of every activity happening in the station…here, it was the coffee at the Honey Hut for a final goodbye to a friend, lunch and dinner with different groups at Amateur Dramatics Club– part of the famous Gaiety Theatre, the long pending Breakfast buffet at The Cecil to relish the authentic charm and grandeur of this heritage building, and yes, the unavoidable exciting nature walk conducted by a friend, made for a befitting farewell from this Queen of hills. The running around to Lakkar bazar and state emporiums for impulsive shopping of souvenirs, wines and colourful caps and stoles, was also packed in the schedule. This is how multitasking becomes our way of life gradually.
The sun facing bright southern side with the colourfully stacked matchbox look houses making the front facade of this magnificent town, and the clear vision of the coral tinted Monkey God, standing erect on Jakhoo hill, makes for a good reference point to spot any place in this area. Just below this, the Christ Church the most sought after place for capturing magical moments in the same frame makes a complete spectacular portrait . This picture post card view of Shimla will always remain etched in my memory and while driving away from Shimla, this spectacle is clearly seen for kilometers till Kandaghat, which slowly fades away, reminding us of the heart-robbing town snugged in Himalayas which was once our home. The thought of friends, memories, routines, favourite haunts, favourite smell and all the little things with a more poignant feeling keep recoiling back like a boomerang exerting a gravitational pull and a yearning to go back. There’s something we have left behind…our footprints and a chunk of our heart…and have taken with us those countless happy moments to cherish for lifetime.