Read Part 1 here – GBL #1 Sarai Rohilla
The most important house in Delhi or perhaps the whole of India, next on the list- the residence of the head of state of this nation, The Rashtrapati Bhavan! Splashed with a hue of pink the estate sprawled as far as the eye can see when we walked on the Raisina Hill. The main mansion lied submerged behind the main road that lead to it, obstructed by the brilliantly illuminated Jaipur Column, patrolled by the Delhi Police flanked by the North and the South Block on the sides housing different ministries of the government. The temperatures now dipped significantly as I pulled my jacket over and waited for the bus to pick us up. I didn’t mind the wait as we sat across the Rajpath now soaking in the Delhi all that we can. The Vijay Chowk lied on the opposite side as a faint India Gate was visible at the end of it. Pizzas waited for us instead in the bus as we wounded our first leg of the trip and headed towards Dehradun amidst heavy fog that shrouded the bus. The recuperated back benchers now lightened up as another night went into songs and Dumb Charads(Yeah, we pronounce that incorrectly!)
Taking a quick breakfast the next morning at a dabba sitting across a calm reservoir, we returned to our sleep! Half an hour later, flags of nations greeted us as I looked the other way to find SRS Lakshya and its cotton flakes decorated doors opening for us! Cooked in the local blend, the cuisine at show for the lunch consisting of the ubiquitous paneer and slender noodles along with soups and desserts resulted in a surprisingly silent eating table with everyone concentrating to gulp in everything they can!
The name seemed odd- Lachhiwala, as our bus meandered through a narrow thoroughfare and brought us to a flowing water stream located inside the verdant forest. Photographs, monkeys, caricatures and boomerangs marked the rest of the evening over the bridge on the water. Back at hotel, we found our tossed up towels, inside out apparels and distorted pillows all in place, folded and arranged by the kind people of room service, so basically we didn’t missed our moms! Three days without sleep meant the snug bed and the controlled room temperature was going to put us down, so after whiling away our time on things I am still smoky on the details about, we slipped into our slumbers!
Loud Punjabi songs with their dhols and tumbi can drive the crap out of someone in early mornings! I learnt it the hard way on that day. Bread crusts, fruit juices, idlis and brewing coffee commenced our day that said Kempty Falls as our destination. The road that led us to the falls was picturesque with plunging green valley on one side and towering steep ranges on the other. The meandering path with its twists and turns had us shifting as we matched steps to the songs that played inside the bus. Boiled corn accompanied us as we climbed the dusty white road as gushing crystal water flowed besides us. Huge rocks barricaded the flow at the top with the fall seeping right through it. After experiencing Kempty and some other falls up there we descended down, this time it was Maggi with scrambled eggs, the aroma alone intoxicating amidst that chilly windy surroundings! Back at the hotel, loud music played as some slipped from the edges of the bed while others let their real self out much to our excitement as astonishment! After a long and revealing night of “Never Have I Ever” I quietly sneaked into my bed at 6.05am only to be shaken, literally at 6.10am because the night was themed “No one sleeps!” and was taken very seriously!
“Ye form bharna hai sabko aur numbers fill karo in case of emergency!” the instructor shouted as we were busy playing with the straps and headgear. We then descended down a trail and between the shrubs emerged the gracious turquoise currents of Ganga! I gazed at the mighty mountain trail that ran parallel to the holy river as pristine white sand seeped through my feet as I walked with my group onto our inflated raft!
[TO BE CONTINUED…]
The Story Continues – GBL #3 TheGanges