Apr 16, 2012

Mcleodganj - III

Continued from Part-I and Part-II:
As hinted by SK in her comment to the earlier post, Day 3 was the day of enthu people. The bug hit us first, when we defied our own expectations and woke up at 6.00 am to watch the sun rise. Well, all except RK, who had ended Day 2 in ‘Signature’ style. Yours truly had too, but then the prospect of welcoming the Dawn sufficiently enthused one to shrug off the alcohol-induced sleepiness and actually get out of bed that early.

Our ancestors were a wise lot. Unlike the modern day religious nut-jobs folks who keep preaching without having the ability to ever come up with anything original, one can sense genuine wonder for the miracles of the Universe in the writings (or rather, the sayings, since they weren’t written down until later) of the earliest Aryans. It reflects both of the majesty of the sight of dawn breaking, and on the imagination of the person observing the same to come up with something like this:
We see that thou art good: far shines thy lustre; thy beams, thy splendours have flown up to heaven.
Decking thyself, thou makest bare thy bosom, shining in majesty, thou Goddess Morning.”

Dawn was called Ushas, and was frequently depicted as a "beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky". Another of the hymns refers to her thus:
“Gone are the men who in the days before us looked on the rising of the earlier Morning.
We, we the living, now behold her brightness and they come nigh who shall hereafter see her.”

Men may come and men may go, and the relentless march of time shall continue, made joyful by the breaking of the Dawn every day. I couldn’t come up with anything poetic (I restrict myself to silly limericks), but I immersed myself in the calm of the morning, as the sun’s rays slowly changed the snow-white of the mountains to a shimmering gold, as the birds woke up with a chirp, as the dew in the grass slowly licked my feet clean, and I felt immensely thankful for just being alive. It was one of those moments which cannot be described in words.

One of my quirks is that I can quickly degenerate from such a contemplative mood to my usual goofy self. So, I reverted to striking silly camera poses, which MT and SK happily clicked to make up for the non-entertainment no-show of the banana-milkshake bhang.

After an hour of going trigger happy with their cameras, they left me and lovely Ushas in peace once again, and I sat down on a bench cross-legged and closed my eyes, and pretended to meditate. I have never found out what it is about holidays that makes one re-evaluate whether what one is doing is what one wants to do. Is it the time one has to stop and reflect, is it the place which induces deeper thinking, or is it just crazy wishful foolishness? Sometimes, I wonder if the quest for meaning is quite meaningless.

As I was sitting there thinking such profound thoughts, I heard a noise and found that one of the pre-Rig Vedic ancestors was staring intently at me. My mind went: “Does the monkey know that it is my ancestor?”, then “Is the monkey sitting there wondering “does this guy know that I am his ancestor?””. I soon snapped out of my meta-stupid phase once I saw the monkey eyeing my sneakers that I had taken off for my barefoot walk across the lawns. I quickly snatched them up and went back to my room.


We  went to Palampur market area, had a hearty aloo-parantha-with butter breakfast and then brain-stormed on how to while away the last few hours of our all-too-short vacation. After negotiations with multiple cabbies, we settled on one who promised to show us all the local sights and then drop us off to Chakki Bank where we were to board our train.

I don’t know if it was in his nature to be talkative and cheerful, or whether in spite of our negotiations we had committed to a princely amount of cab fare, but our man displayed all the enthusiasm of a Duracell bunny as he first took us to Sherbaling Palpung Monastery. There was some group prayer meeting going on and it was very colourful and had some wonderful music (bells chiming, drums beating and chanting) and I quite liked the fact that they allowed people to drop in and take pictures of that. A refreshing change from no-camera-not-even-your-shirt-go-in-a-dhoti rule of Kerala temples.

We found some Tibetan kids, one of whom was very cool about being photographed while his brother displayed all signs of a paparazzi-weary celebrity. We also came across one super-cute kid whose style is best seen than described: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCiCBFbx0Aw

From the monastery we decided to head to this place called Neugal Café which was highly recommended by the locals there. En route, our cabbie decided to take a detour to show us a suspension(?) bridge built in honour of a soldier I think, but I was too hungry to listen to his guided tour while he went “hamara farz banta hai ki aapko yahan ka sab kuch dikhaaye.” Anyways, we landed at Neugal Café and had our first disappointing meal of the trip. Less said about it, the better. 


All good things come to an end. So it is with wonderful meals. Even more so with happy vacations, and all one comes back with are good memories, some colourful snaps, and in some cases, an infuriatingly long three-part blog post.

How I wish this vacation continues...


  1. Ah, the thoughts you get on top of a mountain.

    Nice pic to end with. Stieg Larsson. 3-part novel, 3-part blog post. :)

  2. On second thoughts, that must have been your intention, considering all your puns/wordplay/innuendos.

  3. @ cmus:
    now you know why the sages went off to the Himalayas to meditate? :)

    The pic was intended to show me dreaming about more vacations... the book was incidental, and definitely unintentional. :)