Sunday, 7 September 2014

Thukpa, solitude, Mahatma Gandhi

Leeches dominated the last post. That was not my intention. Nor theirs, I believe. Let us agree to be friends and bloodsuckers.

Post trek, since my feet were still zombie walking while my body was stationary, I felt I needed to be out and about. What better destination than the Mussoorie town? Besides, a social media post of a photo of a friend with Ruskin Bond at a book store spurred my curiousity. I had last seen him eight years ago. I thought I might get a glimpse of him again. Celebrity spotting is not my hobby and I do not think Ruskin Bond answers to the title 'celebrity.' Nevertheless, curiousity is a powerful thing, it can move mountains.

By the time I reached the Mall road, the author was gone. I took a leisurely stroll and popped in to the restaurant "Momo's" after I felt safe I was not being followed by food snatchers. The food snatchers are nasty creatures that inhabit one's mind and make it impossible for one to have food anywhere but the Officers' Mess. They also reside in one's purse, from time to time, mostly the month ends and forever when one is in the government's employ. Momo's (apostrophe placed as per the signboard) specializes in authentic Tibetan and Chinese food. That alone is a give away. There is no such thing as authentic Chinese food. We know it to be a deadly concoction of MSG, soy sauce, vinegar and possibly, sesame oil. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the meat Saptak and meat Thukpa. I ate alone. The food was greasy, as may be expected from an outlet selling 'authentic' any food. All those calories I burnt during the trek were regained seven fold. This place may be my haunt over the weekends for the remainder of my time in Mussoorie till I discover a better place. The hot soup of Thukpa helped clear sinuses and warmed me enough to consider walking back to the Academy from Landour. It was two days before a full moon but the clear mountain air was as a thin, cold sheet of glass. The moonlight came flooding through the trees and illuminated the road as paved with a carpet of shadow leaves.

Solitude finds one in the hills like Cupid's arrows find their mark. Or not. That was a stupid comparison. The hills seem to be an enabling environment for solitude. I trekked for long periods alone, out of sight of others, my belaboured breathing my companion with the songs of a few birds or the gurgle of a stream far out of sight. What is it with mountains and me and solitude? The altitude perhaps. So much potential energy. It is natural for it to be converted in to kinetic energy. Words gush out, in poems, through blogs.

Today was Onam. The Malayalee OTs organized a gala fest. Onam sadya was well appreciated by the entire batch. The pookkalam was the centre of attraction. Not to be outdone were the ladies who dressed in their festive best. A slice of Kerala was seen in Mussoorie. One misses the seafood, though. The Konne Mara market in Palayam of Thiruvananthapuram was the place to be for fresh seafood. The best time to snag fresh produce was before 6 am, preferably around 5.30 am.

I spent most of the day at Mall road. Picture Palace to LBSNAA is a moderate walk of one hour. I have come to like these walks. It affords one time to think while walking. I am waiting for creativity to strike me one of these days while I am walking. As long as it is not in the form of lightning, I shall not complain. 

I have been hanging around the Gandhi Chowk so often that I may be considered as much a fixture of Mall road as the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the band stand near Library Point. The clouds came rolling in from the valley below. A day of brilliant, blue sunshine and crisp, sweet air transformed in to a day for the moody, the gloomy, the solitary writer. The father of the nation emerged from the clouds, looming larger than life, his staff gripped tight in his right hand, the robe draped in a way that meant business, his stance that of a warrior going to battle. The sculptor used his imagination, no doubt and the result is better for the effort.

As a nation, we have a lot to fight for still. Maybe we should stop fighting with each other first?


  1. too good....liked the last few lines a lot...

  2. Solitude? Lone walker? Why? Though the post is nice n creative :) but y no one else around u?


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