I remember finding the weather very cold and it was raining lightly almost all the time. We had many cups of tea and sat next to the fire that the owners had got going. It was followed by soup and dinner and we retired early the first day. They did not had any hot water that night (as there was no power) and it was a task to use the freezing cold water for anything.
Shringi Vatika, Himachal Pradesh
Next day, I got up late, around 10, I guess. Sesha was out before me. When I surfaced it was Grey with a fine drizzle in the air. Sesha told me we were taking a small hike. The youngest son of the owners, Raju, was coming along with us as our guide. After I had gobbled my bread and omelet with tea and we started walking along the stream. That is when I noticed the smashed up car for the first time.
After a very short distance, the way started creeping uphill. And it kept on going uphill till we reached our destination, Sojha. I am usually very comfortable walking even if it is uphill. But on this one I was not. Initially, when we started walking, I opened my jacket and later on realized that in spite of the climb I was shivering. Once I zipped it up again, it was a bit better. We had lunch at Sojha and later we started walking toward Jalori Pass.
The Road to Jalori Pass
There was some snow around even on the last stretch to Sojha and at many places Raju literally took my hand and helped me walk on snow. As we were walking on the road to Jalori, I saw light snowfall and it is the first I have ever seen. Sesha once again acted superior and said this was nothing, they had to abandon a trek in Manali (student days, I was not into trekking then) because of excessive snow that came down at night. After some distance, there was too much snow on the road and we decided to turn back. Finally, the road started going downhill.
When we were quite near the Vatika (and we had walked in all for about 5 hours) , Sesha in a big singsong voice told me “If walking all day in the rain is your idea of holiday, please start taking them alone.” I laughed my head off, he dragged me all the day in rain (it was raining moderately all the day through this walk) without even asking me if this was what I wanted to do. Anyway, we were soon sitting back in front of a fire and I was drying my wet jacket, sipping tea. This was also the day of Kungis soup (Nettle soup) and Sidu (a Himachali Dish).
Snowfall at Shringi, Himachal Pradesh
The next day, thankfully it was raining hard from the word go and Sesha could not drag me anywhere. For the whole day, we were sitting in front of fire and reading and chatting and eating (I wish I would do this more on my vacations). In the afternoon, three other guests came and one of them started chatting with us. In the meanwhile, many of the surrounding regions that were green before were turning white. For a while, wind was blowing, and making the rain and snow run lightly with it. At this point the guest remarked “aap ke liye tou plasma TV laga hua hai samne hi.” (It is like a flat screen plasma TV for you and the images keep changing constantly). I was watching the changing scene with my mouth open and how I agreed with him. That is how the third day passed.
After a nice dinner it was time to turn in and look ahead to get up at 5.30 in the morning to start the journey back to the world of 21 inch TV which I rarely watch.
I am definitely going back there in March to get my cell phone back.