Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kasauli-Chail diary dusted, unwrapped...

Underneath piles of pending work, sat calmly, a pretty little diary, waiting patiently to be unwrapped...
In it, were etched in ink, the memoirs of Skeeter's travails to Kasauli and Chail from the tenth month of the year two thousand and eight.
This was a three-day family trip with the base of stay being Kasauli, which is a cantonment town located in Solan, Himachal Pradesh.
The journey was completed in approximately 6-7 hours from Delhi via car enroute Chandigarh-Kalka-Shimla.
Having passed through these busy towns, reaching Kasauli was a welcome relief. From the moment, the road-sign 'Kasauli' was read, there was a dramatic fall in the number of homo sapiens seen around. It does good to the soul at times :-)
Day 1 was dedicated to saying friendly hullos to the cold air, a climb to the manki point and a stroll down the tibetan market. A hearty and filling evening spread followed.
Legend goes that Kasauli came into being when Hanumanji, on his way to getting the life-saving Sanjivani booti for Lakshman, stepped here for jumping on to the Sanjeevani hill. And the place where Lord Hanuman is rested his feet came to be known as Manki point (also called monkey point). The point is situated on a hillock, and is quite a climb for those who are not in good form :P
Skeets or for that matter nobody was allowed to take their cameras or cellphones to the Manki point as there is an airforce station just below the manki point. Initially Skeets was sad. But when Skeets reached atop the hillock she was glad. For now she could concentrate on enjoying the super cool breeze :-) It cleansed the mind of any and every trace of stress.
Day 2 was marked for a luncheon at Chail Palace which is downtown. Thank to Pa's pro hill-driving skills, the car and the family returned without any scratches, for the roads that led to Chail were so narrow that Skeets is amazed till date, how all that tricky driving was managed.
The picturesque drive lasted 1.5 hours.
Deodars, pines and rhododendron trees make the drive majestic.
The palace was eerily calm. One keeper of the gate, no visitors in vicinity and sprawling but silent lawns greeted us.
The entrance to the palace donned a grand chandelier and the reception was unmanned.
The Palace now owned by the HPTDC, was once the residence of Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, who had made Chail his summer capital.
It was a relief to see the dining hall filled with few guests.A Himachali lunch was called for. Himachali kadi, chole, some greens with himachali wadiyan, prefectly boiled rice and a few more dishes that Skeeter is forgetting.
A very satiating meal it was. Dessert followed.
What we missed: visiting the Chail cricket ground which is touted to be the highest in the world and doubles up as a polo ground as well.
Then the drive back to Kasauli began. The trees had the most vividly coloured climbers which almost made the entire valley look as if it was an illustration straight out of a fairy tale book. Barely five minutes after the drive started we were greeted by a gang of Langoors. Sigh* couldn't click them.
On way back Skeets noticed the following population density signs of towns that fell on the way from Chail to Shimla. Just imagine if you live in such low-density place. I'd call it heaven :-)
Mahog - 74
Sakori - 136
Dinit - 29
Shilru - 408
Machine- 234 (Yes that is the name of a place)
Sainj -146
Kotla -84
Enroute we noticed the Kasauli Brewery touted to be the world's highest again. Also saw the mushroom farming area. These two along with a ride on the Kalka-Shimla toy-train (world heritage) remain on the top of the agenda for the next visit whenever it happens.
Day 3: To Chandigarh briefly and back.
Enjoyed the evening in the Kasauli tibetan market eating corn on cob, noodles and what not :-)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Those things they do!


Awfully long breaks Skeeter takes at times. Eh?

This time she's back with a comtemporary story.
There lives a girl who madly badly wanted to watch the Oscar winning movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

She waits for a much awaited holiday from work and goes all by herself to see the movie and purchases a ticket.

Upon purchasing the ticket, a few moments are spent in getting frisked at the movie theatre.

That done, the wait for the theatre to open its gates begins.

Nachos and cardamom tea are purchased. The girl turns around from the snacks counter to see the theatre doors open for entry and ushers in.

She seats herself on the assigned seat (passage one as she had requested), and the movie begins.

40 minutes into the movie, and her cellphone rings.

An unusual call from a usual number.

The serene mood changes into that of ghastly disbelief.

She rushes out of the theatre to talk to the person who had called.

On talking she realises that she had wrongly presumed a working day to be a holiday and would have to rush to office that very moment.

That girl, dear readers, is none other than:
Reeta Skeeter