Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chronicles of Nainital :The Tal, The Mall and the Fall - Day 3

I guess, the third part of the Nainital journey has been in hibernation for a long time. Well, the daily chores and responsibilities of the day leaves little time to pen down journey thoughts. Ok Ok, iam not gonna a list of excuses justifying my delay. As people say, “Better late than never” , taking the idiom in the right stride, lemme go ahead with the post. Just a note of caution. This post might not be that engaging as the previous two versions. The reason being the limited number of places we visited, being insufficient for our group members to properly showcase their talents.

Our initial plan for the 3rd day was to visit the Corbett National park and then aboard the train to Lucknow from RamNagar station. But after few enquiries, we found that with the approaching new year eve, there have been hordes of people eager to see the zoo animals. We realized that we should have booked our tickets to Corbett beforehand, during the peak season time. Madhavi had initially got a reference of a travel agent from her friend. We had spent close to 1 hour in scouting the place and finding the location of the travel agency on the first day of our trip. The place was a rectangular box,6*4 feet in dimension. Being inside it, gave me an illusion of having ventured into dwarf’s island. There was a wooden desk, covering up half the room’s space, and 2 sofa’s on either side of the room, ensured we had 1 feet of space to walk. The so called office was nicely set up with photos of all exquisite locations in India decorating the walls. Somehow, all of us huddled into the room and enquired about the Corbett visit. He quoted 1900 for a day to Corbett, with extra charges for entry ticket, the stage was left open for Jahnavi , the Persuator (A new term I coined, similar to Negotiatior. Persuator meaning Skilled in Persuading) to come in and persuade and convince the guy and make him agree to our deal. Somehow, the intented effect didn’t take place and we left the place with the knowledge that visiting Corbett in this trip wouldn’t be possible.

Our train from RamNagar to Lucknow was on Sunday evening 8:30pm. Our plan initially had been to start to Corbett from Nainital on Sunday morning by 9am,see Snow View point,(from where one can see the Himalayan ranges), see the Corbett park, (which will get over by 1pm), then check out Corbett waterfalls , which lies on the way from Corbett National park to RamNagar station, reach the station by 5-6 pm and wait in the station for the train then. Since, we had found that Corbett National park wouldnt be on our scheduled list, we had re-scheduled our plan then. We will be sleeping peacefully late till 9am the next morning, catch a cab from Nainital to RamNagar, and on the way visit Corbett Waterfalls. We had booked a Qualis from Nainital to RamNagar, at the end of the 2nd day. ( Note: There are a lot many travel agents. Instead of booking one, if you are looking at economical pricing, its better to check up with few tourist agents and then book the cab…

So, on our 3rd day, we had a nice sleep till 8am. The Qualis was on time by 9am. Somehow we got ready, loaded our luggages in the cab and started our trip back. we went over to the Snow view which was relatively, less crowded. We got the tickets for the cable car to climb to the top. From the top, we strolled around here and there. There wasnt much to see there, except the snow capped mountains which one can see using a telescope. The guy charges 10 bucks for an individual and one can hear the names of the mountains we had heard in our geography classes. K2,Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot etc. We took some snapshots there and got back down.

The cab was waiting for us. Jahnavi , Madhavi and Ajitha got in the middle row. I and Uday got into the front seat of the cab. Since, the trip down the hill was full of curves and turns ,I had the necessary ammunition of Hajmolas and other sour tasting eatables. Since, we had to miss out on Corbett, while booking the cab, we had asked the driver to show us few interesting places worth seeing which would lie on our way back to RamNagar. On retrospect, I guess, we should have asked him to show us places worth seeing and not ‘interesting places’. The first place which he showed us was a small pond, in which the algae and fungi were busy swimming. One could have mistaken it to be a green water. The driver went onto the narrate the interesting thing about the place, saying that few months back, 2 teenagers had gone into the pond for swimming and who never returned. Mighty interesting you would say ! The next interesting place he showed us was a small stream of water trickling down from the top. Iam not sure, if there was a public toilet in the top, and people had mistaken the trickling down of water to be a stream. By now, we had got an idea of the ‘interesting places’ which the driver had meant. So we instructed him to stop directly at the Corbett Waterfalls and leave out the interim interesting places.

One thing worth mentioning here is Uday’s eagerness to get photographed. I dunno if he had wanted to be a model, yet at every turn of the road curve, he would get down and take a photo with the sky or the hill in the background. As usual, while getting down the hill, I sleep off, so to avoid giddiness. But being with Uday, one can trust him not to allow anyone near him to sleep, while traveling in an exquisite place. He would wake me up each and every time to take a photo. The only way I was able to convince him to stop taking photo, is by telling him that his last photo with the sky in the background was splendid enough to put other things to shame. Well,ok, the camera battery was also dimming down. So, that too saved me to some extent.

After 2 hours of journey, we arrived at the Corbett Waterfalls. Jahnavi , due to her intense negotiations and bargaining was too tired to explore the Corbett waterfalls. And I guess the sadness of not being able to see her friends still weighed a lot in her mind. She opted to just stay in the Qualis. By 6pm, the entrance routes to Nainital would be closed down. So, the driver was cribbing about having to return earlier. So, the other 4 of us got down and told him we will return quickly. We walked a short path, and we entered a big area from where water was falling down from the top. The scene was truly splendid.

There were many people standing on the rocks on the ground and posing for photos. Uday plunged into the scene, and started clicking photos at once.

I too joined him in his happiness, and we spent another 20-30 minutes in clicking photo’s at every angle we can think of. Not wanting to be left behind, Madhavi too jumped in. hence after exhausting the strength we had, we went back to the cab, where Jahnavi was till musing about her friends. We started from the place, and by 3pm we reached the RamNagar station.

The phrase “Appearances can be deceptive” applies aptly to this situation. Except it would be “Names can be deceptive”. Contrary to our expectation that RamNagar station would be a rural station with hut hoarding nearby and ill equipped station, we were happy to see that we were wrong. Though, on our way there, the surrounding was as we expected, it would be. Drainage overflowing, broken brick homes, mud roads, hut here and there. As we unpacked an got into the station, we saw a newly furnished Waiting room. Bless the soul which had thought of building a Waiting room there. But the sad part was that the room was locked. Uday and Madhavi went to meet the station master to demand our constitutional right in sitting at the waiting room till the train arrives. Somehow, over the due course of conversation, he got us a good bargain. The waiting room was reserved for a function to be held later in the evening. They had a VIP room which was meant for VIP. Uday, at the right moment, interjected the conversation with the knowledge that his father too was a railway employee. The brotherhood feeling of being in Railways, must have over empowered the station master who immediately allocated us the VIP room. Thus we got in the room and made our self comfortable.

We had 4 more hours for the train to arrive. Uday and Madhavi,went out to scout the new place. I took out a novel by Michael Crichton and alternated between sleeping and reading. Ajitha started doing the work she likes doing – Eating. She had bought enough while coming from Nainital and she settled comfortably in the sofa and started her work with full concentration.

Jahnavi got busy by taking out a novel and observing how Ajitha was eating. Meanwhile, we had a surprise visitor. A small rat had been staying in the room. Seeing new people taking over the room, it raised its objections by making noisy sounds and by running here and there. Jahnavi ,was the first to find about it. I don’t know if it was the excitedness or her happiness, but she kept saying look there, its running there. Look here, its running here. Ajitha was least bothered with a small rat’s chronicles and kept on with her work with such focus which would have put a zen’s master talents into pale. After sometime, uday and Madhavi returned back with loads of things. They had gone around checking out the village and they had stumbled upon a shop selling decorative items at very cheap prices. That’s it, they loaded themselves as they as they can hold and got us something to eat to. Then we all settled ourself comfortably and joined Ajitha in her work.

Finally, with the clock ticking, the train arrived and we packed our things, said our thanks to the station master and boarded the train. We were eager to hit the sack and thus ended our lovely journey to Nainital. Though the duration of the journey was short, the fun which we had in exploring new places was simply awesome…. I guess, Uday had been jumping to tell his side of story, so I hope he will let u in with his part too.
Hope you enjoyed the travel with us. :)


Josh said...

Good post! Looks like a lot of fun. I can relate to your trip a lot - just had been to Corbett in Jan. Liked the whay how how you guys deftly got into the VIP room! Keep writing.

Marja said...

Thanks for taking us on this exciting trip The waterfall is beautiful. Would have loved to see it all but could do without the green pond and the rat.

Prashant Sree said...

@Josh: Yea. Looking forward to another wonderful trip to Corbett. How was t Corbett trip, do share ur experience in that regard :)

Prashant Sree said...

@Marja: Well you see, the green pond stood out in our return journey as it redefined what interesting could be !
Well, we would have expected more from the 'rat' but poor thing, i guess, the Walt disney ppl extract a lot of work from it, hence it has less inclination for being playful outside work. ;)

Reflections said...

A wonderful account of ur trip....enjoyed it thoroughly, esp the interesting places the driver had to show u & the railway employee camaderie;-D

Renu said...

Nainital is my favourite vacation point....but snow view I went 35 years back only:)