Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love in Shimla - Part II

A tale of back-breaking bus journey, parathas and snow

A couple of months back I was cleaning my room (a very rare sight) and found a picture that made me nostalgic and I immediately called my friend. The two of us spent an hour reliving our Shimla/Manali moments and agreed that we couldn’t have asked for a better holiday. During the course of our call we remembered an insignificant incident and tadah! that’s how I got the title for my post. Err this was just to give you a background which I now feel is pointless.

Agra was our first destination and our stay was uneventful.
Lesson number 6: Do not buy miniature Taj Mahal you find on the streets of Agra. It’s extremely tacky and easily breakable.

After Agra, it was time for us to head to Manali. The moment I got off the bus, I was in love. In love with Manali. For those who haven’t visited this place, please do. It’s a b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l place. River Beas, clear blue sky, narrow trails, mountains, street food, and tall trees will leave you enthralled.

We reached Manali after a horrible bus journey. Couldn’t believe our luck or the lack of it when we were made to sit in the last row. And it didn’t help when my friend, who has a spine that’s bendable in all directions and needs constant support while travelling, sat next to me. I am sure all of us have one such friend. These earthly beings invariably find your shoulder to sleep the moment they get inside a car or a bus, eventually occupy a lot space and almost chuck you off your own seat.
Lesson number 7: Sit next to the driver; you can at least enjoy hindi film songs of 90’s. Anuradha Paudwal and Kumar Sanu singing “jaanam jaane jaa.. janam jaane jahaan..” or if you are lucky you get to listen to some of the rare ones too, which have mindboggling lyrics- “kaisa yeh ladka hai.. baatein hi karta hai.. liar hai liar hai”.

Few of us who were awake chatted for sometime and I then fell asleep, not because I was tired but it became extremely difficult for me to laugh while the earthly being slept on my then bony shoulder. Sometime in the morning at round 6 our bus stopped near an old dhabha in Haryana. Our tour operator had arranged caterers who began the job of preparing breakfast for us - bread/butter/jam. Only a loser would have eaten bread when there were hot parathas in sight. We gorged on 10 bucks aloo da paratha with a big dollop of home-made butter.
Lesson Number 8: Never share your paratha.

I don’t think I can ever forget the taste. That was the only time I genuinely liked potatoes (exceptions - yummy French fries served in Infinitea and chips bought from local Hot Chips). Finally after a very long journey we reached Manali. Cold wind greeted us and we Bangaloreans were thrilled to get our jackets, sweaters, shawls out. We generally feel happy when we see wool. I could not sleep that night; I lay awake thinking about snow. The next day we left to Rohtang Pass.
Trivia: You may notice, I used to and continue to have irregular sleep pattern. Insomnia is my middle name.

The organisers took advantage of our good nature (read: too lazy to protest) and made us permanently sit in the last row for the rest of the tour. The journey to Rohtang pass was scenic; Beas flowed peacefully and I sat next to the window. Sheer bliss. The blue-green river made my heart skip several beats... err no, in reality the sleepy bus driver kept going tad too close to the milestone. I couldn’t take my eyes off those lovely mountains and the milestone. We reached Rohtang pass.

Oh! we were ecstatic. It was feet-numbingly and teeth-chatteringly cold. But of course I just had one thing on my mind- snow. We were asked to climb the hill to reach THE place. And so we did. Did we get to see snow? Yes and no. All we saw was dirty brown patch of snow coated here and there. 200 angry college goers were all set to turn murderers. The tour operator’s promise of “snowww.. veryyy slippery also.. you will enjoy” was still ringing in our ears. Dejected we all got back, tried finding a knife in vain and sat in the bus feeling terribly hungry.

Later we hit the streets of Manali and ate mind blowing junk food.

Next post: Part III (the final one, I promise) *grin*

16 plate meals:

lostworld said...

How come you didn't write even a sentence about how beautiful the Taj is? Edit your post..Now! :-)
I have a mental image of the beautiful Beas river..Lucky you got to go with friends! There was a landslide the day we were to go to Rohtang pass. I loved Manali too. Have not seen more honeymooners anywhere else in India! Waiting for the grand finale(#3).

Swaram said...

First part odi vaapas baruve :P Forgotten ;) ;)

Swaram said...

Che Shru, rare sight du pics elli? Very imp. no? But ur room is always clean alveno :P Naanu nodidnalla :D

Swaram said...

Oh wow .. the next part is gonna hv a luv story :P Me waiting ;)

Ayyo .. street food antha helhi nange eega thinbeku anastide :P :P

Rohtang ws closed for us late December nalli bcoz of loaads of snow. We cud only make it till Gulaba :(

Beas river is simply awesome :)

Parathas ... yum yum! Bread ... yuck :P

Destiny's child... said...

What month did you visit Manali? We went sometime during April and we couldn't reach Rohtang Pass beacuse the place was blocked with tonnes and tonnes of snow! It was just lovely! But that was like...er...8 years ago...

And btw, you produced the college tour scene very realistically. Everyone has a friend who is frail and starts sneezing at the very mention of the word rain!

The Holy Lama said...

Aloo da parantha and wide sweeping vies of river, valleys and more. I ENVY YOU

vimmuuu said...

So you basically went there to sit in the last seat of all transports, provide a shoulder for your sleeping beauty friend, and to eat aloo parathas !!! for that kinda snow, you couldve opened your freezer, na ? :D :D :D

"Part III (the final one, I promise)" --how I wish I could write that for my europe series ! Sigh !!!

Btw, that sleeping beauty friend, is she really beautiful ?? :D :D :D :D Oh, I just asked for enhancing my G.K. ! :D

Sandeep said...

Part 3!!
phew.. this is what happens when you don't travel much in the present.. you dig open your memory for past archives and write a serious of posts about it with a curiousness inducing title!

i'm not reading anymore :P

Shruthi said...

@Lost, heehee saaari ma. will edit it off pakka :D
oh wow a landslide.. look at my luck I gotto see mule shit and some brown snow :( and so true about the honeymooners bit :D oh Shimla also is fav spot. Like ooty and kodai :P

@Swaram, :P neen bandaaga room na clean maaDidde or else ashTe you would have run away
waaaahh all of you have been to Manali when there was snow :(
the love story eh? ahem :D

Shruthi said...

@Destiny's child, I went there in October.
and hee coincidentally a frail friend of mine fell sick in Manali and recovered in Chandigarh!

@THL, :D but this was years ago :( I wish I can go back *sigh*

Shruthi said...

@Vimmuuu, lol freezer it seems :D and the sleeping beauty is married :p any more questions?
aiyo your europe series will never end. you'll beat ekta kapoor serials :D

@Sandeep, sheddup.. dont talk about my travel plans *sprinkles unholy water*

Karthik said...

Hehehe.. :D I love lesson number 8. Have been practicing it since my birth. So I perfectly understand. :P

Manali is so beautiful, isn't it? (and so are the women there) :D

Wandraful wandraful!!
Your posts are like Aamir Khan's movies. I hope I get to read the third part at least within the next six months. :D

SG said...

Liked your travelogue. Never been to Manali. Will try to visit next time we come to India.

sp.ajay said...

travel in hills makes me puke...god that you did not have it...
the taste of bile remains in my mouth for hours after the journey!

Shruthi said...

@Karthik, lol aamir movies eh? Can I take that as a compliment :P
And I have no clue about women in Manali :p but yeah the place is beautiful.

@SG, thank you :) how was your holiday? And yeah next time you are in India please visit manali.

@Ajay, oh there were few people who felt very sick. I love the hairpin bends’ :D

SG said...

My holiday was fine. Wrote a post about. Pls read. Thanks.