He enquired “Travelling for business or pleasure?” It’s a pleasure travelling for business, I winked.
The traveller in me is always excited to go to newer places to explore. Not for me those places which reek of commerce, the dolled up malls, the matchbox buildings..naah. Give me the local flavour any day; the rickety bus, the chugging train, the brush with the hoi polloi. And there it was –served on a platter; an amazing chance, pleasure travelling for business I say!
Shoghi is a tiny hilly hamlet just a 20 minute drive from the excessively commercialized Shimla. Shimla the modern day beauty seducing tourists on its curvy Mall, browsing through native merchandise in the Lower Bazaar or gazing at the distant horizon on the Bridge Road. I found the seductress falling short to the nature’s rustic beauty of Shoghi.
My job in Shimla Hills brought me there <Ever grateful, Shimla Hills>. We are into exotic foods which makes this visit even more exciting to the foodie in me! I love experimenting with all kind of local foods. Himachali Khana has an amazing amalgamation of virgin spices, organic grains and home tended vegetables. Their food is incomplete without a spot of drink, be it non-alcoholic or alcoholic. The warmth in the steamy sip of delicious masala tea or the healthy kahwa from a dash of Kangra Valley tea leaf. Or even the Himachali fruit wine mashed from plum, apple or kiwi.
My guest house was on the Taradevi road which was such a relief from the hustle bustle of the bazaar road of Shoghi . My day starts after I bravely pull myself out of the warmth of the double fold blankets and gingerly step out to my expansive balcony. There stretching my arms in the cold misty morning I prepare for a wonderful walk after a sip of the authentic kahwa. Slipping into my psychedelic sneakers I am ready for a walk on the mountains. The pristine mountain air tenderly envelops me in an ever gentle embrace – feels so energizing..! Ahh.. the sheer bliss of this wonderful weather and the beauty all around me. The lonely road fills my entire being with air so pure and a charge so positive that I feel up to it for the long day at work.
Over here people hardly have night life; they get into their beds early and the roads become dark and menacing. But the wanderer in me does not want to rest even after I’m back from work, sometimes as late as 7, I want to wander some more in these dark roads of the mountain. Once more into my walking shoes and then a walk with my special friend, ‘my soul’. It was dark and the road was lonely but I never found myself lonely enough to be afraid of with my dear soul. I happened to look up into the sky and the new moon winked at me.
I was mesmerized with that cradle in the sky with lot of stars twinkling… the sky was so clear and I felt it’s so near to me that I can jump and catch those stars! I stood near the valley, looked at the sky and then I turned to see the valley … the valley was also glittering with brighter and shinier stars. The pragmatists may say they were lights of huts and houses, I choose to ignore them. Then when I was walking back I remembered my grandma who used to say that when people die their soul leaves the body and becomes a star in the sky. We all have souls. We live with the pure souls inside us, so does that mean everybody is a star in the end of their lives.
I will not die to become a star; I am already one – here on this planet