My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.
Amritsar to McLeodganj 5-01-2020
We left Amritsar at 9.30 for Mcleodganj. Our driver, Nishan Singh had taken us to Dera Baba Nanak the previous day. He asked us whether his cousin could come along as he would be returning alone. We gave our consent. It was a pleasure to watch the green fields rolling by on both sides. They stretched away as far as the eye could see. At some places, farmers were sprinkling something from a bucket. We saw Poplar and Guava trees plots of mustard plants in full bloom.
On the way we stopped at a roadside dhaba for breakfast. The aloo parathas and side dishes were tasty. One of the popular combination with paratha is thick curd. I remembered my school days when my Punjabi classmates got parathas and curds and we got dosas and idlis. We exchanged the food and all were happy 😊.
We passed Patankhot at 12.40. We wanted to pass through this place because my father-in-law used to tell us about his visit to Patankhot on the way to Jammu and Srinagar. He and his nephew, Subraya, went together. A person whom they knew lived in Patankhot and he made all the arrangements to go further. A special permit was needed to go to Jammu and Srinagar. This was in the early sixties. My father-in-law loved to travel and see new places. In his day he travelled a lot. We bypassed the city. In one of the small villages on the foothills we purchased oranges and apples. They were tasty.
We started climbing the mountains and after some time the car engine started heating up. We had to stop many times as the gradient was steep. As we neared our destination we rang the hotel for directions. The final stretch was very steep and was scary. 😊We wondered whether the car would make it. We were to climb the same stretch three days later. It was an experience to remember.
It was almost 4PM when we reached our hotel. It was good but it was very cold. We asked for a heater. We could see the snow- covered peaks of the Himalayas from our room. Most Indians are fascinated by the mountains which beckon them. The view was beautiful for us but I wondered about the life of the people.
After a little rest we decided to explore. It was getting dark too. We walked up and it was good aerobic exercise 😊 One of the hotel staff told us about Ananda Dhaba where good vegetarian food was served. We walked up the hill. Most of the shops were closed. We saw Ananda Dhaba and walked in for an early dinner. It was cold and hot tea was a pleasure. The food was very good.
Feeling very full we walked back slowly shivering with cold in spite of our woolen clothes. From our room we saw lights go on in the houses on the hill sides. We were also able to glimpse the white glimmer of snow on the far peaks before it became pitch dark. It was also very quiet. Then we read a framed notice on the wall. One of the rules was that no noise would be tolerated after 10PM.
(On 2nd morning we attended a Hindustani classical music concert in our place. The singer, Siddhartha Bellmannu is only 23 but such a good singer. We were all taken to another world.)
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”. ― Plato.