3 weeks as a pahadan in the mountains of Hartola | Uttarakhand homestay, Pet-friendly homestay in Uttarakhand

3 weeks as a pahadan in the mountains of Hartola

They say a journey begins with a small step. So, a wish was sent out into the universe—for a change, not just in our lifestyle but also in our surroundings—and fortunately, it’s been answered by ‘the One who makes things happen’.

So, events were set into motion and three weeks back to the day, we found ourselves embarking on a journey that has led to a new phase in our lives. A life in a secluded spot in our beloved mountains. A life that we’ve chosen consciously.

Family, friends, well-wishers, acquaintances have all been watching our progress closely and with some interest.
Every time I speak to my mother (which is every day), she asks curiously, ‘So you must be bored by now?’
Ummmm, let me see—what has changed from our life back in Noida?

We still wake up roughly at the same time, but instead of a view that was limited to the rows of flats of the luxury apartment next door, we find ourselves sipping tea in the sit-out overlooking the ‘boring’ forested mountains with the ‘boring’ sound of birdsong resonating around us. The ‘boring’ landscape around us is replete with wildflowers nodding in the cool mountain breeze that transforms itself just as suddenly into a frenzied monster threatening to blow away everything in its path. The fruit trees are hiding their bounty in their leafy bowers. Only a careful inspection reveals the hidden treasure waiting to bombard the world in a few weeks’ time.

A leisurely morning walk down the dusty path with my fur baby contrasts with the hot, sweaty and dusty one back in the city. Here, she roams like a free-spirited creature of nature—sans harness, sans leash—my little four-legged Mowgli! She can sniff all she wants, she can ‘do her business’ unhindered without the fear of being ticked off or being looked at askance. Unlike the suspicious city folk, here, everyone who passes by talks to her and calls out to her lovingly.

We chase butterflies that flit around the mountainside moving from flower to flower in drunken ecstasy. We see sudden flashes of colour that we’ve come to recognise as belonging to either a verditer flycatcher or a partridge or a barn swallow or some other exotic feathered wonder!

Friends who we, for some reason or the other, interacted with sporadically back in the city are now motivated enough to visit us here and the last three weeks have seen four different sets of friends back-to-back, who spent some precious moments with us, making wonderful memories! Others are to follow in the coming months.
Instead of being parked in one room with the ac on all day long, we just take a step and we’re in the ‘boring’ great outdoors in a trice!

And, oh yes, instead of the incessant city sounds, we have to strain our ears to hear anything but our hearts beating, or the wind blowing through the trees, or the by-now familiar songs of the birds, or the distant sound of a neighbour calling out to another, or the jingling bells of the neighbour’s donkeys trotting downhill. Or, the by-now-recognisable short sharp sounds of a deer calling from the forest opposite!
Yes, indeed, it’s a boring life…

Deepa Baruah

Former Vice President Publishing at Headword Publishing Company

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