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Monday, July 9, 2012

Hills and Us - Part 1 (Kasauli and Shimla)

With eyes half opened I looked for my phone, it was there sleeping under my pillow. It was 10:08 am and I expected their voices in my ears but they are nowhere to be found. As I look up, I see the ceiling fan moving tirelessly doing its job, but the air is anything but cold. Quickly I realize that I am not in Shimla, the air here is hot and it is not mine. My heart resides there in the lap of hills, I know it.

July 4, 2012
The day I will never forget, the day we began our journey for Kasauli and Shimla.
The phone starts to ring and it’s her.
“Where are you? We are waiting for you near Lajpat Nagar metro station. Come fast.” I could sense joy and urgency in her voice. Hurriedly, I responded that I am on my way. After sharing departing pleasantries with mummy and daddy, I left. Mercury is hovering around 42 degrees Celsius, and Delhi is boiling but I know a pleasant weather awaits us.
I board the rickshaw that will take me to Lajpat Nagar Metro Station. The pace of my vehicle is slow but I am not complaining. The Alto car is waiting with the parking lights on. I could see my friends inside from a distance and I know that very soon we will be off for a great trip.
With my red bag I get down from the rickshaw and pay him for his excellent services. She looks at me and the red bag and a string of lively giggles follow. Jaskiran, Shikha, Harmeet and Varun are present inside and I quickly grab my seat and we start to talk about what’s in store. The faces are brimming with joy as the much awaited trip is happening. At 10:30 pm, TJ aka Raj aka Thyagaraju arrives in the car that will take us to Kasauli and Shimla. The car is cozy and we start to load the car with our backpacks and suitcases. Our driver is not all that great as the man is a jerk.
Night is in its full bloom but stars are nowhere to see thanks to pollution. At 11:45 pm we are at Sukhdev dhaba (heaven for Jainis and vegetarians) on NH 1. We order three different kinds of paranthas, plain, aloo and pudina, though the last one looks and tastes disappointing. A great stop if you are going to Chandigarh or Shimla, the parathas come with a generous serving of white butter and goes well with achaar or pickle.
We start our journey bidding good bye to Sukhdev dhaba. John Mayer and others are with us as their songs make our journey all the more pleasant.
We are still on the plains and hills are far away. The series Hills and Us will continue. Happy reading!

Photograph by Tarun Mazumdar