Read the 1st Part – GBL #SaraiRohilla
Read the 2nd Part – GBL #2 KemptyFalls
“Forward bola gaya to aage paddle karna hai and thoda bahar ke side pe baithna sab!”
came in the instructions from the GoPro equipped guide as we locked ourselves in the wedges while the raft came into the main current. Often hitting each other’s paddle and calling out at other groups that floated around us, we were brought to our serious self when the guide alerted about a rapid called ‘Initiation’ that was fast approaching us. I tightened my grip over the handle as we entered and were ruthlessly heckled and tossed over the angry waters of Ganges, my swaying of the paddle often ending up in air.
I wiped my face once we were back in the calm waters and looked at our team who were in turn looking at each other with proud faces! Cliff jumping and floating in the waters came in next before the next rapid metaphorically named Washing Machine met us. This time I did hit the waters and amidst shouts and cries, we rowed unscathed out of it. On either sides of the river various ghats and temples placed themselves having towering shikras, upon with lay golden kalashas. We now passed under an British-era iron suspension bridge carrying ardent devotees, still standing majestically over the river- The Lakshman Jhula! . The sun was coming down now over the sparkling water as we reached the shores and a wave of pride passed upon us. Changing back into tees and cargoes, I stood upon the shores and listened to the gurgling waters that mixed with the clanking of bells somewhere in the faraway temple.
The hotel was lit up as it was the night of the 31st. Post dinner; fedoras, midnight black shirts and evening gowns coupled with crazy dance moves set the dance floor buzzing. The clock struck 12 and it was 2018, the final year for me and everyone around as college was gonna end after some months and we were going to take with us 4 splendid years of amazement and memories! The beats and the sharpy lights brought out the best of every ones’ version while some retreated to the parky outdoors to receive NYE calls and wishes. There were hugs and wishes as also some missed dances, with the belief and faith of a wonderful year and time ahead of us…
A little ache in the back and messed up hair greeted the first morning of 2018 as we cleaned up; packed, rather stuffed our bags and hurried down for a quick breakfast consisting of “South Indian Coffee” before checking out for local sight sighting around Dehradun and the holy city of Haridwar. The scenic plantations of fern and mustard fields proved to heaven for the selfie obsessed enthusiasts that led them around the farms. Getting lunch along the way and sliding into kurtas, we readied for the evening aarti at the famous Haur Ki Pauri ghat over the Holy Ganga. Huge fire lamps with the reflections in the clean waters of Ganga, circling in synchronous with the chants of the loud aarti converted the whole atmosphere into a divine one. The ferocious waters at Rishikesh the day before now was calm and serene as I dipped my hand and bowed down to largest river of India. We now climbed the bridge overlooking the temples and entered the lane with eateries on either side with their ridiculous names.
Chole Bature, Khasta Kachori and Rabri were ordered as we sat in a one diner. I couldn’t help but notice the lazy looking cook suddenly waking up upon receiving the order. Moulds of dough were patted with his huge hands and placed gently inside a heating tandoor. A plate was pulled out and a ladle full of steaming chick peas was emptied onto it. Adding two fresh bhature to it, the plate came on to our table kicking aside a bowl full of tangy pickles that does along the duo! This was followed by the crispy kachori stuffed with local spices and goodness of Haridwar! The kuch-meetha-ho-jaye question was put to bed by the smooth milk based dessert, one that melts in your mouth and your heart- The Rabri! We returned back to Lakshya for getting the dinner enroute Nainital. All that I remember from that dinner were some potato mistaken for Manchurian balls, well a lot of them actually!
[To Be Continued…]
The adventures continue… GBL #4 InTheAir