The rain stopped in the afternoon, much to the delight of the children who had got dressed right after breakfast, in the hope of going out, and had sat by the window the whole day looking out longingly….waiting for the precipitation to stop. And when the rain stopped, the sun came out from behind the clouds, its gentle warmth caressing the hills, making the rain drenched trees shine like new. The cold receded with the clouds, as did the darkness…but this was a temporary respite, we knew, for evening was fast approaching, but we will have a few hours of sunlight……we will not waste them, we decided.
And thus, we got dressed, excited, and piled up into the car. As the car crunched it way down the gravelly road, past the houses, and the farms, and the quaint little shops on the way, we wound down the windows of the cabin to let the mountain air in. I breathed deeply, the air felt fresh, and smelled of water, and mud, and trees, and flowers, and………and hills. We made our way down the winding, narrow roads, down to the nine-cornered lake with dark green waters that could be seen from our house. We were looking for a particular cafe which we had visited last time. A small, tastefully decorated place where one could have pizzas with a steaming cup of coffee sitting by the side of the lake…..
‘Is this it?’ I asked Vaishali as we drove by a small joint, and parked our car a few paces from it.
‘Yes, this looks like the one. Although the name has changed,’ Vaishali replied. ‘Bindiya had told me that the restaurant had been closed during Covid times. It must have reopened with a new name, now.’
‘Let’s walk around the lake a little before we come back to the cafe to have something to eat,’ I proposed.
Vaishali, and the kids nodded, conveying their assent. It was great weather for a stroll……the roads were washed with rains, the sky was clear, the sunlight warm, and the wind cool and crisp. So we started our leisurely stroll on the road that skirts the Naukuchiatal, admiring the view, breathing the fresh air, taking pictures and selfies, trying not to step into the small puddles which had formed on the road following the rain. The road was lined by houses, hotels, restaurants, and road side vendors selling Maggie, and Momos, and Bun-makkhan, that quintessential urban Indian snack consisting of a bun of bread heated on open flame and smeared with revolting amounts of butter and served hot and delicious along with a fresh cup of tea. There were vendors peddling adventure sports, and water sports, and tourists milled around these joints……screaming, shouting, pointing, demanding, and creating all sorts of ruckus which is so very distasteful to me…..
We walked on, talking, holding hands, looking at plants, and trees, and flowers, and stray dogs……
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It was simply so soothing..just walking around the lake!
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