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.
Last two days of our vacation- 8th and 9th January, 2020
We had an early breakfast in the hotel. We tried Tibetan bread. It would have been good as a snack with a cup of evening tea but not for breakfast. It was raining and we had been told that if it rained for some more days it would snow. We could see that snow had fallen on the hills nearer than the previous day.
We wanted to leave at 8.30 but could start at 9.30. The driver was Rajesh, who had taken us around the previous day. As we left the hills the rains too stopped. We stopped for a cup of tea at a roadside eatery.
We drove through small towns and villages. We saw fields on both sides. Oranges and guavas fresh and from the trees were being sold on the roadside. We bought 2 ½ kgs of oranges for Rs 100. Two big guavas weighing a kilo for Rs 100. We did not stop for lunch but drew up at a roadside cart where an old man and his grandson were selling guavas. He cut them into four pieces and added chat masala. It was very tasty. This is one of my favourite fruits.
We had booked a room in the same hotel near the Golden temple. The driver had to ask for directions but we reached the hotel 😊. Aravind had got two books for our friend, Shri Gurjinder Brar. We sent them by courier because he lives far from Amritsar. One was a book by Prof H S Shivaprakash, titled The Word in the World. It is a collection of essays on Indian culture. The other was Dhvani and Epiphany, a collection of essays on Indian Aesthetics by Prabahkar Acharya.
We rested for a while and then set out to the square outside the Golden temple and to Katramal Jaimal Singh wholesale shopping area. On the way we were stopped by cycle rickshaw drivers who charged Rs 10 per person for the 1-km ride but we preferred to walk. We were told the shopping area was near the Partition museum. We walked with the crowd looking at the shops. It was so crowded. We did not buy much except for a cotton shirt. Many of the shops were the branded ones and there was no point in buying clothes as those shops are to be found in our place too.
Earlier we had read about Brothers Dhaba. It was nearby and we walked in. Being in Amritsar we wanted to taste chole bature. But that day what we wanted was not on the menu. The waiter was very nice enough to tell us about a very popular eatery called Shri Krishna Mishthan Bhandar nearby. He told us we would get chole bature there. The place was just two minutes away. There was big tree and in its shade were chairs and tables. Snacks were being fried on one side and sweets were displayed and packed on another. The place was packed and food was being consumed at a furious pace 😊. A little away a dog was barking away demanding food. We decided to have samosas, lassi and chole bature. They were tasty 😊. I liked the carrot pickles. It was very cold and we walked back to the hotel.
We rested for some time and went to Harmandir Sahib. We sat near the Akal Takth till 8 o’clock. We were feeling too full to go to the langar hall for food but we could not resist Kada Prasad. It is very tasty.
Sitting in the Golden temple complex is an experience of a life time. We were happy that we could experience it almost everyday of our stay in Amritsar. This was possible because our hotel was just two minutes away.
On the 9th morning we left the hotel at 6.30. There was so much fog that we could hardly see the road but the driver knew his way. We reached the airport safely. The honey bottle was in our hand luggage and we were told that we should check it in. We packed it well in another bag and checked it in and kept our fingers crossed. The flight left at 8.20 and we were in New Delhi by 9.15. Our flight to Mangalore was at 2.05. But time passed quickly and we were on the last leg of our journey. I enjoy looking out down from the window of the plane. The clouds look like another world. As we were nearing our destination, it was a pleasure to look at the greenery and a little further on the coastline and rivers joining the sea.
We landed at 4.45 and collected our luggage. Keeping our fingers crossed had not helped 😊. There was no bottle, only fragments of glass soaking in honey inside the cover. I was worried the glass pieces and honey would have spread and ruined my shawl but fortunately that did not happen. We were not destined to taste honey from the Himalayas ☹.
We took a pre-paid taxi from the airport at 5.15 and were home by 6.30. It was good to be back after a wonderful holiday except for the lost honey !
(Yesterday morning we were surprised when it started raining. The weather had become very hot but we never expected rain. It rained from 7 to 8.30. We later learnt that it had rained in different parts of our state. It is very unusual to get rain in march.)