The Hills Beckon Again – 10: Colonel’s Cafe

The road ended in a gate which led to a private property, a serviced homestay spread over several acres of luxuriant forest on the hills. We decided to turn back and retrace our steps to the place where we had parked our car, a stone’s throw away from the cafe where we planned to have our pizza and coffee. On our way back we befriended a street dog, said hello to a German Shepherd, and stopped by a roadside shack selling Maggi noodles, bun makkhan, and tea.

I ordered a plate of Maggi noodles, the favourite snack of children all over India, and stood admiring the succulents which the shopkeeper had displayed in small pots in front of his shack.

‘Are these for sale?’ Vaishali asked the young boy cooking the noodles for us, trying to start a conversation.

‘Yes, Madam,’ he replied, and then added ,’ Fifty rupees for the small plants, and a hundred for the big ones.’

Vaishali continued the conversation, while we admired the succulents, and stared impatiently at our snack being cooked in the pan.

‘Why are there so many tourists this year?’ she asked.

‘Virat and Anushka came here recently, and that is why the place has got the attention of so many people, Madam,’ replied the boy.

And then our Maggi was ready, and we gathered around the small plate slurping the swishy, slippery delicious noodle one by one. After we had devoured the noodle, we paid and thanked the shopkeeper and continued our journey towards the ‘Colonel’s Cafe’, a beautiful little eatery by the side of the lake at the beginning of the road.

The cafe was very tastefully decorated with potted plants, wrought iron furniture, tungsten carbide lamps, and a floor paved with stones. Soft rock complemented the ambience, and made sitting and waiting for our order pleasant. Presently, we were crunching a crispy thin crust pizza and gulping steaming hot coffee and hot chocolate. As we looked out of the windows of the cafe, we could see evening approaching, and a shoulder of clouds beginning to hover over the sky in the west.

‘It will be dark soon,’ I said to Vaishali, and she nodded in understanding. We should get going soon. Rain and darkness do not make for safe driving in the mountains. Thus, we paid our bills, said thank you to the young boy manning the counter, and piled into the car once more, to drive back to our house at the top of the hill; it will be a short evening followed quickly by nightfall…and I had just HAD to watch the nightfall from the balcony….its a sight I could not miss…the fading of the light, the twinkling of the hills with a million lights from households and commercial establishments, the smoke from domestic fires, the evening glow cresting the mountains, the deepening of the colour of the lake….and then the silence…the pause before the sounds of the night….and then silence again…..almost absolute silence except for the song….faint and faraway and abstruse, except for those who knew….. the song of the hills…..

Check out these Amazon bestsellers from the author –

The Battle of Panchavati and Other Stories from Indian Scriptures
Daffodils: A bouquet of short stories

By Divya Narain

Additional Professor in Plastic Surgery, doting father, loving husband, newbie author. Love travel and literature. Love reading religion, politics and history!

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