Friday, May 28, 2010

Adventurous Trip to Hill Top Village

Last week I with my friend Tej went for an adventurous trip to an interior village Okhla in the Hills of Uttrakhand. It is basically in the district Teri Gadhwal of Uttrakhand. Actually I did get inspired by the movie “The Beach”. The movie was somewhere backing of my mind. The destination was unknown to me but it was my friend Tej Hometown village Okhla near by small city Chamma which is at a 3 hour drive from Rishikesh.

The trip was planned 4 months ago. It’s not easy for me to convince the parents especially mother. As they knew that I know Tej only for past 4 months and he is visually disabled. Going out on holidays with a physically handicap person is not an easy decision; sorry but it is a bitter truth. Although it’s me who first made the proposal for trip and he give his implied approval on the very first day but still I not sure till the last day. As his body language did confuse me. Is that his normal gesture? I still do not know. Well all well that ends well. Everything went as planned.

Tej was unable to pour water in the glass. As his short sight is very poor. But still how he manages to climb a mountain still a mystery for me? He is a true man.

Now I just illustrate the blue print of our journey. The Sri Ganesh of our tour is from Kashmiri Gate ISBT. We firstly board the bus for Rishikesh.then for Chamma (a small city from where we can get bus for near by villages) and finally to village Okhla his hometown. It took approx 15 hrs from Delhi to reach there. We used bus, jeep, boat and finally walk approx 6 kms. to reach the final destination.

Actually Chamma is on the top of one side of a mountain and village Okhla is on the other side. And the two mountains separated by a Jheel. When the dam was build a jheel was formed between the two mountains viz. Bhaliyanda Jheel. The local’s residents there made hue and cry against the dam due to less compensation. But everything is vain. As there is no fly over between the two mountains (it is under construction). One has to move in V shape. Firstly hunt for the peak i.e. to Chamma from Rishikesh.and then to Downside Lake and again to top towards the village. It’s a V shape journey.

The culture above the sea level is quite different from the sea level. On a 3 day tour I did notice some changes and some did surprise me.

You must have seen passengers in buses yelling at driver when he stops unnecessarily to take  savari. But here I noticed a different scene. After waiting for at least half an hour the steamer came and after it covered approx 50 feet’s God knows how the driver and some of the passengers saw a lady coming from the hill top coming towards the steamer. How he & others were so sure that she is exactly edging for the steamer ride? She neither shouts for the ride nor waves the hand to stop and she is at clear distance. May be she is a regular commuter or his relative. After that we returned back to the source port station and wait for another 5 minutes for that lady. Waiting was not a surprise but none of the passenger complaints. It was a surprise for me. May be none is in hurry or the pleasant atmosphere is responsible for it. I vote for the latter one.

One more exciting things in the hilly areas is that you can have bird eye view of the downside villages if you reside on the top of the mountain. Just like looking in your neighbor’s home from the balcony. Of course taking interest in the other’s private affair is quite a fun sometimes and the enjoyment doubles at the time of marriages or celebrations. As we can have a spicy idea of dresses, songs & others like girls. There are at most 25 houses in a village. Sound of dhol, lights is centre of attraction for all the distant villages at that time.

I did get many lessons of simple mathematics while traveling in the Hills. Firstly never ask for how much time will it take to cover the distance without mentioning the mode of transport. As answer varies substantially. Private car takes half the time then a public transport. As tourists generally hire their own cars and we used public transport. In this confusion one of our trips to a temple was scrapped. When I asked a local commuter for the distance to a near by temple, the reply is 6 kms. I thought it will take maximum half an hour just like moving from Tilak Nagar to Moti Nagar. But the fact is there is no concrete road there and we have to walk for 6 kms on pagdandi. It took nearly 3 hours to reach there and I luckily I am carrying the luggage too great na..
While planning for an interior location one must take the leaves from office consciously. Kilometers may mislead you. The time taken from near by central location to the village may be same or more than the hours taken from your hometown to central location. It took 7 hours to reach Rishikesh and nearly 8 hours from Rishikesh to the village Okhla. But the distance is surely less than half.

I love decorating the room walls. But using old calendar as posters for decorating the room walls is I don’t think I will ever prefer. All the room walls covered with filthy, awful past year calendars. On my friend’s room wall I found calendars beginning from 2005 but the current year, me not able to trace. I feel sorry for the guy who wants to see the see the current date.

One of the things which really hurt me is that there is water shortage. No taps in toilets and wash room. Hilly people make full use of rain water. They collect all the water in a drum and use it in toilet. Really great experience. Here I hate Indian toilets but there I have to manage water too in a typical Indian toilet. It looks filthy only first time after that you enjoy it. No aqua guard, no filters. Just take water from Hand pump and drink. No refrigerators required and no A.C too. Savings man.
I reside in my friend home. All the cuisine were home grown and home made. But I do get surprised to see only one vegetable in the lunch and one in dinner and the same repeated in breakfast. And chapattis without ghee and butter. Here when a guest came whole dining table occupied with dishes we usually make one dal, two or three vegetable, pickle, salad, rice, sweets, drinks etc. I not blaming the hospitality. I think it truly signifies their simplicity. Few chilies, one onion and dal-bhat take care for your hunger whole day.

Cooking of extra chapattis due to wrong estimate is a daily affair. But instead of using them in next meal we either feed it to cows or beggars or sparrows. But in village they prefer it for next meal. Punjabis prefer garam garam tave se utri roti. Puru thi hui roti straight no. I personally want to avoid it due to fear of stomach ache. But still I ate. I don’t want to complaint and thank god every thing went well. May be the home grown wheat is responsible for it.

The cow dung was rubbed on the muddy floor. It is anti toxicant, a mosquito reveler and restricts foul smell. I know that but at the end it’s a cow shit how will I convince myself?

The word Gadi. As Punjabi use Gaddi for motor car. We hardly use it for mo-bike but here everything is Gadi.

Open bathrooms is bit scary in an unknown atmosphere. I love to spend substantial amount of time in the wash room. Simply dancing, listening music, making different stupid posses ya why not? Why to hurry? While traveling I don’t like to carry wet undergarments so I prefer bathing nude. But due to open bathrooms I have to wear undergarments. And again have to wait for it to dry. But still it’s a different world and  I love that.

Very few know that Hilly people don’t like bathing much. The friend with me doesn’t brush his teeth for 3 days. I want to slap him for that. But I satisfy myself with few abuses and convert our double bed into two singles. So that to avoid the bad breadth.

Local language Gadwali is different from Hindi except few words. Sometimes I did find it bit harsh like Haryanvi except the word Bhai Ji. They use Badee for old women. It seems like Budii as they overstretch e. And pad gaya word is used for sleeping. Here we use pad gaya for either non living objects or drunk guys.

There days are so packed that they hardly got any time for entertainment. No snack food, not much craze for movies, no general knowledge as only few newspapers which generally cover only the stupid state news. Cable TV, DVDs popularity is also very low at least in the village Okhla where I stayed.

Women are more laborious then men. In the trip I don’t saw a single man working in farms. Only ladies. Well it shows by there zero size figure, strong knees and backbone. But the after effect is that due to hard physical labor a 55 year old look like 85.

Hill Stations are the heaven. As temperature is rising day by day. Hill Stations popularity will grow.

I will shorly prepare a movie and will upload it.

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