The Naukuchiatal is a lake of nine corners nestled high up in the mountains. Our destination was further up from the lake, near the Club Mahindra Resort property of that area. The road is narrow, and paved with stones, and can be used by only one vehicle at a time. So, if one finds another vehicle coming from the opposite direction, either one of the vehicles has to back up to a point where the road is wide enough for both vehicles to pass. We followed the directions to the ‘Raabta’ cottage, that we had learnt during our previous trips, and soon arrived at our destination. Asit, our friend, and owner of the property, was already there, along with his daughter. He waved at us from a distance, as he saw our car drive up the road leading to his house.
Sometime later, after we had hugged and wished each other, and unpacked our luggage, I stationed myself on the porch, armed with a steaming cup of tea, chocolate chip biscuits, and nachos. The sun had started to descend, almost reaching the peak of the western ranges that we could see from the balcony, where we sat. The moment I had been waiting for was drawing near; it was during dusk, that intervening time between day and night, the ‘junction’ or the ‘sandhya’ as it is called in Hindu scriptures, that the mountains come alive, and speak to me.
We chatted about trivia, over nachos and our steaming mugs of tea. City life, the pressures of medical profession, pollution, star gazing and how we cannot see the stars in the cities anymore, syllabi in the schools of our children – we talked about everything. Sometimes I looked westwards, towards the mountains which guarded that direction, and towards which the sun was inching slowly, ready to take its plunge. I was growing weary of the conversation now, and wanted some time, and solitude; wanted to be alone with the mountains and the valleys, and the lake in the distance, and the setting sun which was getting crimson by the minute.
‘It’s getting cold,’ I said, and got up to go inside. Everyone got the hint. The utensils were picked up, and we headed indoors.
‘I have a very short errand to make’, Asit said. ‘I shall be back in an hour.’
‘Ok. See you. Take care’, I and Vaishali chimed in unison.
Soon, Asit drove away in his car, and I settled down once more on the balcony, wearing a jacket now, and lugging my laptop along. As I sat down, and opened my laptop, Vaishali brought another cup of tea for me.
‘You deserve it’, she said, as I looked at her with gratitude in my eyes. ‘I know you have been waiting long for this.’
It was true. For several weeks now, I had been unable to write even a few words. The last series of blogs which I had started, on Adi Shankaracharya, also lay unfinished. The creativity, the impulse to write, the passion, had all withered and died these last few weeks. I guess I had reached a sort of proverbial ‘end of the road’. But now that I was here, I knew the words would start to flow again. My emotions had already been stirred, I only needed to give words to them. That would not be difficult, given the hills, and the lake, and the clouds, and the cold breeze and the steaming cup of tea!!!
To be continued……
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