So I finally start this blog, days after writing many posts which I could never finish. Sometimes it was weird emotions which wouldn’t let me proceed, on other occasions my memories failed me.
But this post is different; it’s about today, the present. I am in Almora, sitting in the big library surrounded my numerous books and trophies, an old fashioned, simple and elegant sofa set, and a red and yellow carpet. There are hundreds of Reader’s Digests, PhD theses of numerous relatives, and quite a few books on International politics. I am tempted to pick up one of these and leave ‘The Black Book’ aside, something that I might actually do tonight. It’s almost five now and soon I would venture out for a walk and random conversations with strangers, but for now I will write about today.
It’s my first trip to my mother’s hometown after 1994 and the first time that I find the place so enchanting. We are staying at my bua’s place which is a beauty in itself. The house is more than three-quarters of a century old and built in the style of old English villas (it bears a striking resemblance to our much older house ‘Joshi Villa’ in Nainital, apparently because of the close friendship of the two men who built these two houses).
I spent the whole morning and afternoon observing the small little things from the rear window of our car. Ma was constantly telling pa and me about all the places we passed on the way, her stories ripe with excitement as she recounted her childhood memories. It seems much has changed since the 50s and 60s, but I still found most of what I saw extremely charming. Hills started soon after Kathgodam, and so did the stories. I had numerous questions about the geography of the place, which finally irritated pa and he asked me to go and see google maps properly! I was impressed and silenced for a while. We stopped at Bhimtal, another popular destination with the tourists in the area (apart from Nau Kuchiya Tal, Saat Tal and so on). Just a few quick snaps and off we went towards Bhowali and then to Kainchi, famous for the ashram of Baba Neem Karodi. The Vaishnodevi temple there was extremely clean and serene, for once I was keen to spend a day at the adjacent ashram, impossible unless perhaps you take permission in advance.