On some of the days, I am busy planning my future, while on few others I am delving into my past. But there are always fewer presents where my past meets my future.
I remember, it was one of the very hot summer afternoons last year when I was talking to a dear friend of mine about my love for mountains, specifically Himachal Pradesh and how I even day dream about marrying a himachali guy one day.
As I was talking to him, within no time, he was also day dreaming about the mountains. He was happily lost into his own memories of the mountains that had happened a few years ago.
Somehow, a summer afternoon in Delhi is a perfect time to plan for a trip to Himachal. And thus began the eternal tale of planning a trip to the hills. There was no schedule on the calendar where we could fix this long loved dream. He was busy; I was busy. The only thing we could do about it was talk in detail.
I remember how futuristic as well as unrealistic the plan sounded to us. But it is only our hope and faith in our dreams that one day futuristic dreams are lived into the present.
For us, it took more than a year to make it a reality, when our desperation to see the mountains, crossed all limits; while we were still stuck to our not so lively city routines, we chose to escape to a Himalayan destination, nearest to Delhi.
Kasauli, one of the most easily accessible hill stations, a comfortable six hours drive from Delhi was the chosen destination over the weekend. A weekend in the hills is like kissing them and coming back in a jiffy.
But even a glance at the tall green and serene abode can give immense happiness. To us it did Right before we touched the Himalayan Expressway, we could see the imaginary lining formed in the sky, while sitting in the car.
Well in no time those fine lines took shape and became real. And this transition from imaginary to real made us lose control . We were jumping out of happiness in our car. The Beatles music become loud and we were singing louder. Himalayan Expressway is perhaps one of the best roads to not only drive but also enjoy the music that you like.
After about 15 kms., we took the road towards Dharampur where there is located our famous eating point; ‘Gyani da Dhaba’, but before we could reach Dharampura, we took another diversion towards Kasauli.
Kasauli is situated at approximately 20 kms from Dharampur. There is a well built two way road at almost all the stretches which make it a simpler drive in the mighty mountains.
When we reached Kasauli, we parked our car near the bus stand and further walked to explore this tiny little hill station on the foothills of Himalayas. For most times of the year, it maintains the hustle and bustle of city people. As it is an easily accessible hill station, it remains crowded especially on weekends and also during the extremely hot summer months.
Kasauli is also a base station for the Indian Army as well as the Indian Air Force, which makes it a well maintained place. There are only a few tourist spots like Manki Point and Sunset Point; we completely avoided them to avoid the hustle bustle. Though it is a little difficult to find complete peace in Kasauli, I would not say it is impossible to do so.
The markets in Kasauli, especially the Heritage Market which is next to the Tibetan Market serves some of the best street foods in the place. People usually keep jostling between these markets and keep the place very lively.
Behind these markets, somewhere down the lane, we booked our room from where we could see a tall standing mountain. On top of which there was a small hut. In between the mountain gorges, the city lights were visible. It was here that we found peace, as if only a few mountain dwellers resided there and not many tourists knew of it.
A perfect chilling zone as we would call it, we sat there and discussed life on so many aspects. Even though it was only for a few moments, the serenity of the place made me feel alive. There was freshness in the breeze, the sound of the rain drops made it even more pleasant. The fragrance of wet soil mesmerized us and we were lost into its rhythm.
Kasauli also serves on our platter, some of the most beautiful nature trails, Gilbert’s Trail, one of the longest in the vicinity is what we decided to explore. There were some picturesque valley views alongside the path that we walked on. On the other end, it takes us to the village temple. Anyone who loves to be one with Mother Nature, should not miss the Gilbert’s Trail.
The other thing that one should not miss in Kasauli are the beautiful wooden cottages. Most of them belong either to retired personnel of Indian Army or some eminent personalities like Khushwant Singh & the like. These cottages definitely bring alive the unrealistic wish of owning one of these cottages in the hills one day.
Built in a very English style, they add to the element of beauty of the place. And so when you have explored the whole city on foot, and you reach the parking spot, you realize that it is time to head back home.
This time, leaving the mountains did not make me sad for they gave me the essential happiness that I needed instantly and the hope they create every time that I will return to them much sooner.
I and my friend were glad that we could live our dream of coming to the mountains together. Our laughter, our insanity, our craziness that we shared on this trip got embedded in our memory books forever.
We danced, we sang, we ate, we chatted non sense for hours; these two days we never stopped. We drove on these endless roads and admired everything around us. A weekend road trip as it will always be fondly remembered because
Happiness (is) real only when shared.