As I sit here, amidst the soft and constant sound of the water flowing and leaves rustling, my feet tucked comfortably inside the warmth of my blanket, on my last evening in Mussoorie, I look back upon my past month spent in the welcoming arms of the queen of hills – paharon ki raani , Mussoorie🙂
To be precise, this beautifully-lit fantasia has been my not-so-humble abode for the past month. Located around 10 miles from the town center of Mussoorie in “Bungalow Ki Kandi”, the Zostel Mussoorie is hidden away just right within the curves of the never-ending mountains.
I still remember the first thing I thought when I got down from my cab after numerous twists and turns down the winding roads of Mussoorie on my first evening here.. “Magic!”
I almost had the harry-potter music playing in the back of my head when I laid my eyes on this mysterious little fortress!
And I still feel the exact same thing. This place is pure, untainted magic 🙂
Till now, this is the first time I have spent an entire month travelling . Being a nomad at heart I have always felt my journeys ended too soon. I had to return home before I got a chance to know how the place breathes, how the season changes there, which flowers bloom in summer, which birds sing in the winters, how do the locals greet, what do they joke about, and so on. So this time, I decided to take a workcation from the mountains and quench my thirst of knowledge. 🙂
As poetic as it sounds, there are numerous factors that comes into consideration for a girl travelling solo, in a state different from her own, for a long period of time.
For those of you who knows and have experienced staying at Zostel, can already agree as to how safe and enjoyable the experience is.
For those who don’t, staying at hostels can be a very safe and budget-friendly option for long term travelers, especially women. Conceptually, it is more of a community than a hotel or resort.
So you get to meet a lot of like-minded, free-spirited people and have a safe but fun experience.
Sadly, over the past year of pandemic my life had fallen into an unbreakable pattern where every minute of my day was accounted for.
I used get up around 7, have breakfast, work-out and start my work. There were not many variations to this pattern, until my first morning in Mussoorie.
For the first time in ages, I did not hurry-up, or rather, it didn’t let me. It held me still in it’s quiet little charm, mesmerized, wandering, breathing in the sunshine as it slowly painted itself across the mountains before my eyes.
I forgot to take even a single picture 🙂
Somebody told me that people are their best possible versions when they are travelling! 😀
Maybe that is the reason every human I met during my stay was simply incredible, they each brought so much to the table, and each had something unique to offer!
A hopelessly romantic girl who cycled across the country, a mountain-lover lady who just could not be kept in the plains for long, a millennial power duo who decided to quit their jobs and take a 15 day trip all over India, a gifted poet, a loyal friend, a health freak, a dog lover, a family man who would travel miles for a good photograph shot in the golden-hour, an “influencer” who was turned out to be a true nomad, a pair of comedians on a quest to spread laughter wherever they go, a fellow bong, a girl who climbs mountains like it’s her morning run and likes to pull all-nighters, a girl who loves her job like it is her entire life!
I found some version of me in each one of them. I wondered how could they all be as mad as me! And I loved them all.
Lately, I haven’t been hating my Mondays so much.
Mostly because they come with backdrops like these. Also because, my mood has improved considerably since I moved here. I get less irritated although I do not do any meditation. I get less annoyed even though I am more hungry all the time, yes, mountains make your appetite grow. I haven’t cried a single tear in an entire month.
So overall, it would be safe to say that “I am happy” 🙂
Ever since I started to read Ruskin Bond as a kid I used to picture those landscapes of Mussoorie described in his stories, I imagined those cliffs where Binya’s blue umbrella got stuck, I fabricated those lanes of Tehri in my mind. And now I saw them materialize slowly in front of my eyes.
It did all the justice to my imagination.
In fact, this time, my imagination had fallen short in comparison to the beauty of this impeccable little hill-station.
The locals of Tehri region, known as the Garhwali, are few of the most innocent and happy minded people I have met. They say what they want, they laugh, they live. They appreciate the simplicities of life.
When one of them dies they all contribute as much money as they can afford to the family of the bereaved, so nobody has to bear the losses alone. It sounds like a beautiful way of living together as a community, to share each other’s failures and felicities alike.
As I saw the seasons change from Spring to summer over the realms of Uttarakhand, slowly the time of departure was nearing.
It made me sad that I would eventually have to leave this paradise, but it also made me feel peaceful. I came here bare-handed, with a lot of fatigue and frustration, but this place took away all of that from my soul, and have given me a sense of fulfillment. Maybe it’s the peace of the mountains, maybe it’s the energy of those amazing people I met.. locals and travelers, maybe it’s that constant therapeutic sound of the stream flowing by, or the chirping of the blue sparrow that wakes me up every morning, but I am returning with a full heart and a fuller bag (thanks to all those beautiful shawls I bought 😉 !).
When I came here, I had a lot of apprehension as this was the first time I was travelling alone, but I have always had faith in the good in humans and the beauty of the world.
And it did not fail me. It filled me up with laughter and banter and joy.
This world is a much more beautiful place than it appears to be. And it is filled with a lot of magical people too. If you give them a chance, everybody has something to offer. Even someone as little as and as fragile as a blue sparrow! 🙂