Driving out of Mumbai, we saw many Jain monks in their pristine white garb walk barefoot alongside the road towards a shrine very far away. Wordlessly, we marveled at the power of faith…
Shot taken of them walking from our moving car.
Posted in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge ‘On the Move’
An early start again, this time with Nupur at the wheel, we drove northeast from Amdavad in the darkness and watched the many transitions of dawn. We admired the first hint of pink change gradually, in many shades till the sun appeared like a flaming orange ball. And suddenly, we passed a sign that said ‘The Tropic Of Cancer is passing from here’. I yelled from the backseat, and we took yet another impulsive decision to take a U-turn and go right back to the sign. Google Aunty sort of freaked out for a bit, but it was well worth it. We got off and took some crazy pics (including two crazy selfies), not finding anyone reliable (there was a very doped out man who walked by) to take our picture! Why we didn’t remember that the super organized Rachna Khanna had a camera with a tripod stowed away in her backpack at this point, well, that’s anyone’s guess!
Our breakfast pit stop came highly recommended by Davino, a friend who is passionate about Harleys and biking. The Google Aunty, who was the 4th woman on the road with us, was not very good at locating the Parsi Bakery, which we had been told was in Talaseri. Trusting her blindly, we landed up at the local police station and the folks we asked for directions clearly thought we were a tad gone in the head!
With a few hits and misses and much determination, we did find the wonderful Parsi joint a few kilometres ahead at Verwada. ‘Parsi Da Dhaba’, with the tag line ‘Chills and Grills’ is quaint, simple and authentic. We were the only customers there. We downed a breakfast of Kheema Ghotala (scrambled minced lamb meat and egg, spicy and yum, accompanied by pav, a special soft bread), Parsi French Toast and cheese toast washed down with good old chai and spent an hour lounging in the sun under flower-laden mango trees, watching and hearing two ladies sweep sweep sweep the dried leaves off the ground (this was an incessant and peculiar sound, it tickled us so much and we just couldn’t understand why so much sweeping was required!).
This is also where we all got on the same page on social media, deciding to adopt the #girlyroadtrip hashtag that I was already using and reaching out to our networks for advice, feedback and with updates about our adventure.
Family vacations are things you dream of when the work piles up and deadlines threaten to obliterate all possibilities of sleep. Getting away from it all in the company of people you are comfortable is a great way to destress and to do it with kids gives us the opportunity to see things from their uncomplicated and ever-excitable perspective!
Yesterday was one hell of a day for us. We started from Gurgaon at four thirty am, quite a feat with four adults and three kids aged 4,5 and 9! All three of them were bright and chirpy, thankfully. Making good time, we crossed Delhi in an hour only to hit a snag when Mishu’s car had a tyre bust. Not ones to lose steam, the rest of us carried on to Murthal in our car and ate a leisurely though super early breakfast while a replacement car was arranged etc. only about an hour later than schedule, we were back on track, driving straight through to Chintpoorni, where the climb towards Dharamsala begins. Of course, the kids car hopped a bit, so there were short handover stops. They sang songs, playing some sort of Antakshari, with our inputs. They played ghar-ghar, with strange role plays that left us bemused. We invented code names and played a game with Rahul giving them instructions that they must respond to only when their code names are used, without ever responding to their real names! Great fun, with all of us collapsing in giggles!
At Chintpoorni, we stopped to say hi to the resident goddess, who promised to fulfil our wishes, whatever they may be. The experience of wading through throngs of devotees, responding to touts selling Prasad and blessings was amusing and thankfully not too stressful. Mishu introduced us to ‘uncleji’s’ bun-paav and we were off again, stopping a bit to feed the kids a proper though late lunch and then driving straight on to D’sala. The hills gave us a fitting welcome, with a wonderful show of rain and thunder. Temperatures dropped and all of us, up since early morning with barely a wink of sleep on the way, were refreshed and excited to be here. It had taken us 12 hours to do the entire trip, each minute enjoyable.
The numerous pics I took are locked inside my Nikon for now, but I am sharing some shots of the Dhauladar range as I see it this morning after a good night’s rest, from my room at Blossoms Village Resort.
We’ve had a number of friends writing in via mail and FB with some great tips for how to spend the next few days here. Will get back to you on what we decide to, and how it went!