Our first stop on the trip was Bhimtal, a lovely small town, 22 km from Nainital. With no plans to stay there, we gave the place around 2-3 hours breathing in the beauty of the lake. Random talks told me the lake used to be much more beautiful, just that it suffered ravages over time. In fact, such was the case with every lake I was about to see. Anyway, curbing my greed for some pani puri, because no one agreed to accompany me, I next found myself at a small tea and snack junction, near the lake. Though I am not a tea-person, I couldn’t hold myself back, eyeing the ambience. A cup of tea was a delight in that climate. The tea-point had this girl behind the counter, who caught my attention. She looked about my age and I suddenly was curious to know about her (No I wasn’t hitting on her. Remember, I too am a girl? :P ). Till that time being bad at striking conversations was the highest in my low points. But finally as were leaving and I reached the counter to pay, I managed to ask her name and as lame as it sounds, qualification. However stupid it seems in written, in reality I sounded cool and friendly, okay? Well, her name was Chhaya, and she had recently got her BPT (Bachelor of Physiotherapy) degree, and was working as an intern in a hospital in Haldwani. When asked about her home, it was interesting to know that it was there in Bhimtal itself, and she was there on vacations and to learn driving. The tea-point was her uncle’s and she loved working there. I envied her lovely-chilly-hilly life! Telling her a bit about me, and sharing our goodbyes, I left. What I loved about her was the way she held a smile all the time. I hope you read this someday, Chhaya. It was nice meeting you. :)
We next had on our list to visit my uncle’s college, before we headed for the Rest house. He had done his under graduation from BIAS (Birla Institute of Applied Sciences), not more than 10 years ago. (And yes, he is the same uncle who asked me to start a blog)
I remember, as a child, I used to be smitten by his narration, whenever he visited our place during vacations and with him came along some fresh Hill stories. Once, me and my brothers had gone all like buzzing bees around him when he bragged about his chance meet with Hrithik Roshan, who was there for his film, Koi Mil Gaya’s shooting. Such crazy fans we were!
The place looked quite serene with hills in the background, and the walk around the campus as we passed the tall trees, made me want to go back in time, take up Science, and end up taking admission in that very college. Exaggerated thoughts, I know. The place was enough spacious and green, with trees bearing fruits we’d be happy even getting a picture of. No wonder, the few students there in the campus were having a fun-filled evening sneaking into the orchards, plucking the fruits. It was a sight to watch when they were chased away by the guard. I wished to be a part of those giggles.
Inside the campus:
As we took back our steps to leave the place, I was at once reminded of the Brownie shop I had spotted just across the road while entering the campus gate. The chocolate wolf in me growled, and off went me and my brother, only to come back with two small pieces of Brownies with sky high price. Hail my Scrooge-ness! They tasted good, by the way.
Our stay was booked in a Tourist Rest House in Naukuchiyatal, managed by K.M.V.N, the Kumaon development authority. I mentioned the name because these guys have these pleasantly sober rest houses, almost everywhere in the Kumaon region, with up to date arrangements, and yes at reasonable rates. (That was some pathetic advertisement!). Anyway, Naukuchiatal is again a small town, some 19 kms from Bhimtal. It hasn’t got much for sightseeing, except the lake, which covers up for everything else. The lake has got nine corners. The name Naukuchiatal itself literally means ‘Lake of nine corners’. I couldn’t spot all the corners though.
By the time we reached the rest house, the evening had started to set in, and boy, it was some scene as the balcony of our rooms overlooked the lake. Heaven! The best time I had was when we went for a stroll in the night and I sat on the steps lining the lake and typed away the feeling, on my phone. (I couldn’t pen it down in dark). A peek into my thoughts that night:
“The silence of the night and the stillness of the lake bear their own symphony. With everything still, one would wish for the moment to stay, as it is. Twinkling of the lights at a distance, and their shimmering reflection in the lake...a sight to capture! Every being seems to be living a happy little life. While I see a couple (maa-papa) chatting away, a group of oldies laughing on topics skipping from family to politics, a guy (brother) busy in his efforts to get the best night shot, and little kids giggling and running around, I sit here in an aura of peace as an audience to the creaking of crickets, and nature’s melody”
And soon, the day ended as we looked forward to new explorations ahead.
P.S.: Some prayers for those troubled in the Jammu&Kashmir catastrophe. The heart aches hearing about the ruffle on such a beauty.