I am back in one of my favourite places in India, the beautiful Tirthan Valley in Himachal, where the sky is so piercingly blue and the air so fabulously clean after Delhi, and my walks take me up and down the narrow road that runs along the river valley.
We have come here on a fishing jaunt with friends from Delhi, our cars loaded to the gunwales with enough tackle to sink a ship, but so far I can happily report that, by and large, it is Fish 1 Fishermen 0.
While the blokes fish, I spend lovely long days reading (when we were at Gobind Sagar) and walking (here in the Tirthan Valley). I walked 14km today up and down the river, through tiny villages and hamlets, and wherever you go, people are courteous and friendly in a way that you never see, living in an aggressive city like Delhi. I was almost taken aback when 3 little girls, teeny tiny things, stopped, smiled at me, and said “Namaste”. Spontaneous greeting is so not a city thing.
I also had a delightful chat with 2 little boys who were “sword” fighting, using 2 uprooted plants. As I passed, one little boy smiled and said, very confidently, “Hi. I am…” And then he froze, the rest of his English sentence gone. He grinned and said, with equal confidence, “Jao Jao koi baht nahi “(go, go, it doesn’t matter) but once he found I spoke Hindi we chatted about their battle, and what I was doing. But I never did find out what he was trying to tell me.
We are staying in our usual haunt, a dear little lodge by the river, run by our friends Shefali and Christopher Mitra. There is wifi, wonderful views of the mountains, a roaring fire in the evening, people we met last year staying so nice familiar faces, so all in all, it’s pretty damn perfect.
Here are a few images from today’s happy meanderings.
The villagers are preparing for winter already, drying corn (and chillies) on their roofs.
A village store, with outside seating.
Talk about a room with a view…imagine living in one of these pretty colourful homes…quite fancy the turquoise confection…