That was the vested interest behind the trip. To have one or two shots of manana cream and slip into oblivion for a while, not a moment. To absolve onself from all worldy responsibilities, immerse into complete oblivion and enter into a state of nothingness. But that would not happen!

Roadtrip from Delhi to Manali is a nightmare during the monsoons, especially if you go by anything the Himachal Transport Corporation spits out. A Volvo bus turns into semi delux bus without notice, and the route is longer than eternity. Twenty-ood hours, so you do have a sore ass by the time you reach your destination.

But Manali, despite the rains, was a good respite from humid Delhi. Old shanty town caught between tradition and modernity. Going by the number of foreign tourists around the area who have come to experience India in all its hue, you do realise why the place is a favourite with many.

Old Manali is the place to be in -- just above new Manali which is infested with domestic tourists and honey mooners with their trappings of gold and bangles and colourful wear and mix of seedy hotels. Old Manali has huts, cottages and guest houses to suit the budget traveller or a millionaire. And plenty of international food and cafes that you do forget your mundane dal, chawal and roti -- and all so cheap! One must have is the famed trout fish that on a lucky day you do get to gorge on one big trout -- all for Rs 100.

There are bikes, cycles on hire to see the picturesque hills, waterfalls, old temples. But nothing like trekking. You pass by quaint old houses as you walk up the hills, the apple trees grow in abundance that you can actually pluck one and eat along the way! The only disheartening sight is the tonnes of rubbish that flow along the rivers. Environmentalists will have a heart attack looking at pristine nature spoilt by consumerism. The only good thing is plastic bags are no longer in use now and anything you buy comes in paper bags. But I enjoyed the treks, taking the natural course to refresh the mind and heart! An American woman, Ellie, who I made friends with, along the trek became so involed with this natural life in India that she extended her two-month trip to six months. A businesswoman, she said she found solace with nature and life and found a deeper understanding to life.

I don't know the effects of nature. But I do know a break is always good. It makes you think about yourself for a while. The 'me' time or the 'us' time when you are with your companion is reflexology for me... You get away from the heavy moments that weigh you down in life. It's the balm to our stressed souls.

And oh the manana cream was a dampener. I did not get a high!


Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful part of India..a respite from the humidity and crowds, a place to be enjoyed, with the special person in your life.

Anonymous said...

good to know you enjoyed your trip...!! you need such r& r often!!doesn't matter whether you got high or not......the manana cream did its job and you are happy...and thats it!!!

Anonymous said...

dunno if i can go to goa sniggy. pro will kill me now if i ask for another leave. so it's rest for a while.. how have you been?

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