The Simla agreement

Get your motor runnin'

A first-time experience is always memorable. A couple of weeks ago, I had a trip to Shimla and had a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of excitement. 

The snowfall, the breathtaking landscapes and other natural beauty of the place made the journey brimming with feel-good factors. We were so fortunate too. On a Saturday when we reached, there was a heavy snowfall allowing us to capture the moments alive that otherwise we see in romantic movies only. Yeah. The next day, there was sunshine all around which made our sight-seeing stroll a walk to remember. Even better!

We reached quite early in the morning but we didn't wait for long to hit the road again. A breakfast, a peg of Old Monk, and zoom—and it started snowing as we were traversing through the serpentine roads to Kufri. I had believed in the proverbial paradise for a while then realised we have created the divinity in human image. No wonder there are no god who looks like, say, an empty kheini packet. Leave the godcrap, what we saw was straight out of a fairy (sic) land, and it got better as we inched on the skiddy road toward our destination. Motor conveyance was not possible from a certain height and we had to hire horses or yaks. Those trails were the flood tide on the first day, in its altitude that takes exhilaration to a new level. And it started snowing so melodiously that will give Deep Purple's Stormbringer a run for its money. Yet it was amazing how it was so warm in the sub-zero temperature.

Then we came across the first hurdle of the tour as we were going back to the hotel. It was snowing so hard that created an unusual traffic jam along the winding path. There were not so many vehicles but people were taking no risk to drive above 20km per hour on the overly slippery road. On the other hand the fine-grained snow—which was so delightful to watch, touch and feel, and had sporadically covered us from head to toe—started melting while our taxi plodded like a bullock cart driven by a sick bull. The traffic also got heavier near main Shimla. And it was chilling. It made us numb. And it took more than three hours to travel the hardly 20km stretch.

The night was for Old Monk again. There was a lonely vodka too, giving us and the rum some company. The morning then came so quick, so fast that seemingly shoot even faster than Clint Eastwood in a cowboy challenge for a mug of beer. We checked out from the hotel and found the great beauty of Shimla waiting to greet us. The road, when we came out, was horrible. What's more, the previous night's snow had turned into a hard and slippery layer. So far it went good as we were strolling on the plain road. But the road to Mall Road, our destination and the popular tourist spot was some kind of a disaster. It ascended up, zigzagged and a little carelessness could make us break a bone or two. (There was another road, a plain one that was nevertheless hard and slippery. It passes through a market, where it leads to a lift service area. But we took the short cut, were unaware about the longer but safer market route.)

Yet it was fun to find the Mall Road in all its glory in the late morning sunshine. The place was not that special, perhaps depreciated by Kufri’s magnificence. It was a high plateau with a picturesque view of Shimla. An ideal retreat it was, there was also a huge crowd enjoying the Sunday upbeat. We saw there when nosing around that the previous day's snowfall had been headlined as the front-page news in some of the local papers. We sauntered. We took pictures. We found the lift on the way back!

We had a sumptuous lunch at one of the dhabas. Affordable and great food, we also had some pegs of Royal Stag on steel glasses. Then we headed to the inter-state bus terminal. On the way, I was so happy to see some of the lush ravines that have always captivated me, and the familiar mountainous landscapes among which our consciousness have developed. And I bade adieu.

Snow white
Stone cold



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