India · Non Fiction · Personal · Travel

Do-Nothing Weekend

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name sake.” ~ Psalm 23: 2, 3

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Have you ever felt so weary, that in the evenings you only have the energy to moan in your journal, and in the mornings your heart anxiously races when it is reminded of the long day ahead? If yes, this is a sign that you need a break – the way I did a few weeks ago.

The 12-hour bus ride couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm for a weekend up in the hills. “We’re going on a Do-Nothing holiday. It’s going to be beautiful!” We excitedly told each other as we imagined dark purple mountains and clean air.

The next morning, we were thrilled to find that we were the only two people getting off the bus at Palampur. The fewer people, the better. Quiet, quiet weekend.

So quiet, we couldn’t find any transport to the hotel we’d booked. Nevertheless, they sent us down a cab. And then, when the cab came to a stop, the caretaker was there to welcome us and guide us through the half kilometer walk down the valley, where our cottage lay on the far side of a meadow, with cows lazily munching nearby. The nicest part of this picture, though, was the earthen walls of our cottage, the picket fence around the tiny vegetable garden, the friendly caretaker, and the quiet old cook. This place was a testament that simplicity can sometimes be overwhelming.

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After our breakfast of aloo parathas, curd, and bamboo shoot pickle, we set out exploring, beginning with the house. I was delighted to discover Jim Corbett’s ‘Tigers of Kumaon’ among their collection of books. Whoever selected the books for this charming library knew exactly which books are perfect to read in the mountains. So although I’ve read Tigers of Kumaon three times, I still took it with me when we walked down to the stream. The large boulders, the surprisingly loud chant of the water, and no people in sight, apart from us, set the scene perfectly for a story time of man-eating tigers and leopards. Not exactly the most ideal way to unwind, I suppose 🙂

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The first day we spent in exploring, reading, and wallowing in the gorgeousness we were so starved for. ‘It’s like a ‘scenery’ drawing from when we were little – tall mountains, blue water, an expansive meadow, and a charming cottage, complete with white curtains and a cozy attic with an extra bed!’ we remarked with amazement. The mountain birds were a lovely addition to the real picture.

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The next morning we booked ourselves a cab to Andretta – the pottery village a few kilometers off Chandpur (where we were staying). The drive through the pine forests, then the bamboo groves, to the adorable market place had us exclaiming how interesting everything was. The Andretta Pottery workspace was fun too. We admired the glaze-work and listened to Shubham, the person in-charge, explained what went into creating quality pottery. It was especially cute when he took a minute off to tell his younger brother to go buy vegetables at the market and that he’d be home in a bit to cook their lunch. I wish I could say that we helped make pottery, but all we really did was make awkwardly shaped jars while saying excitedly, “I’m a potter!”

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We got back to our meadow in time for our lunch. After which, my friend went for a walk and I sat on the porch with my book and journal. In between, I visited the kitchen to make myself coffee, and ended up chatting with the cook and the caretaker’s son, who were curious to know what I did for a living. In turn, I had questions for them about the best time to plan my next visit.

At 7:30, the next morning, we unlocked the front door to our home back in the city. We had been on the bus all night, and should have been queasy and washed out from the twisty roads. Yet, we were both smiling as we began getting ready for the day’s work, ‘So this is what it feels like to be rejuvenated by calm!’

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Personal

Picking Myself Up off the Blogging Floor

What can I say? I haven’t blogged for nearly three months! Even worse apart from textbooks, magazines, and newspapers, I haven’t been reading much either. My family and friends were pretty shocked at this prolonged complacent behaviour to the extent that they began giving me a hard time about it. And while I did feel mildly disappointed with myself I really didn’t feel bad enough to do anything about it and would tell people to relax and that I’d update my blog soon. (Read the last two comments on my last post on Mother’s Day. You’ll see what I mean).

Yesterday my mother very sternly told me to get back to blogging soon. Apparently they didn’t think I was doing much else that was worthwhile compared to blogging. That, coupled with the realisation that even while day dreaming I was almost always thinking about writing, helped pull me out of my cozy couch of nonchalance and self indulgence. (If you saw how much I’ve been shopping these past three months you’ll know what I mean). I also made up my mind to blog today under any circumstances because I would be very unhappy if I was the one person who got in the way of my own dreams. Plus I’ve missed my blogging community! And I feel too ashamed to read and comment when I haven’t updated my blog for three months!

This time I won’t be making my usual promises to blog regularly. Not that I intend on many more three – month long sabbaticals. It’s just that if it happens again I don’t want to feel so terrible. Blogging is supposed to be fun!

Looking forward to catching up on all that I’ve missed in the blogging world!

How could I blog while the season’s biggest sale was going on! :O

 

Personal

Thank You

Now that I’ve completed Hardy’s ‘The Return of the Native’ I don’t know what I’d been so worried about. I admit that I had to read the first few pages aloud to keep my mind from wandering but after a while I wasn’t able to read fast enough and had to switch to reading silently. I’m still working on the review. Since I completed it I haven’t been able to stop talking about the book. In fact, I even re-told the story to one of my colleagues at work who was patient enough to listen to me talk about the fantastic book I’d just completed.

Apart from letting it be known that I enjoyed reading The Return of the Native very much I also wanted to thank Literary Relish for awarding me the ‘Liebster Blog’ award. I’m a little late in thanking Tiny Toes for ‘The Versatile Blogger’ award now, but I was and still am very grateful for awards like these. They’re just the encouragement I need to spend more time blogging. 

These are the rules that every nominee (The Versatile Blogger) must comply with:

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.

4.Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

7 Things about Me

1. When I go swimming I don’t do laps in the conventional style. I like to pretend that I’m a mermaid or a deep sea diver exploring under water. Laps are boring.

2. I don’t like talking about myself. I prefer to be thought of as being mysterious. Also I worry that I may be boring.

3. I try very hard to make my life as exciting and eventful as possible so that  I might have many fun and interesting stories to tell my grandchildren.

4. If people ask, I love advising them on how to do their hair and clothes better.

5. Notebooks, pens, pencils, colours, scissors, papers, markers -I love them all! Oh the things a person can make and do with these treasures!

6. I’ve always liked being neat and organized. So of course that means that my favourite past time includes making lists and elaborate plans for things that I want to happen.

7. When it comes to kitchen stuff I only enjoy doing the dishes (a task that requires little concentration and I get time to my own thoughts) and concocting desserts.

Here are the blogs that I’ve nominated:

1. A Literary Odyssey

2. Gårdsbacken blogg

3. Views from the Matthews

4. Following Augustine

5. Elisa Nuckle

6. So Many Books

7. the literary shack

8. Fudge Together

9. PuddleRides

10. Empires Interrupted

11. Monsoons and Moss

12. everyday epistle

13. Life … With Books

14. All Write 

15. Live to Write – Write to Live

(The last four are blogs I’ve been following for sometime now. But I really like them so I’ve included them anyway.)