Thursday 18 February 2021

Nainital Diaries 2021: Quenching the Starving Souls of the Wanderlusts in us

We have a perennial love affair with Nainital. We fell in deep love in these beautiful mountains while we were doing our engineering in Pantnagar. We used to hit this serene beautiful lake city almost every month and were so smitten by its charm. You won’t believe we have so many tiny precious memories associated with each nook and corner here and it indeed is priceless to get to relive them. Thus this year as the Valentine’s Week commenced we made an impromptu plan to hit Nainital for a vacation. Within moments everything fell in place as if the universe itself has conspired to make us revisit the place where our love saga began, with our little love this time to make it all the more memorable.

I know for the paranoid me it was a giant leap of faith to go for a holiday during the COVID times but this time the deep desire of a wanderlust feeling claustrophobic for the last eleven months without a vacation took over. I tried to secure all ends though, as we decided to drive our own car and stay with an Airbnb HomeStay which took only one guest at a time. So it was just their family and ours.

I felt as excited as a baby as we commenced our travel at 6 a.m. on 12th Feb’21 and needless to say the journey was as beautiful as the destination. It was foggy with zero visibility for a small stretch but the rest of the drive was as smooth as a cake. We set our feet in Nainital around 11a.m. and I felt so overwhelmed, can’t describe that feeling in words. It was as beautiful as ever exactly like it always was, untouched, unscathed, pristine natural beauty. 

Our home stay was a heritage home built by Rohan’s grandfather and staying there was one of the best things that happened to us in this vacation. Yes, Rohan was our super host and I can take his name so casually because by the end of our four days stay he was more of a dear friend than our host. We felt as with we were staying at a beautiful home away from home with super yum home cooked food by Rohan’s wife Achla and his five year old cute little daughter Gargi always around playing with Arsh. It was one of the most relaxing holiday ever.

Honestly we planned nothing but yet our Valentine’s Day turned out to be perfectly scripted perhaps out of a fairy tale. We woke up at 5:30 a.m. and started early to watch the myriad hues of sunrise shades over the Himalayas. It was chilly yet the beautiful canvas behind the mighty mountains painted by Mother Nature herself, was beyond words. Our son went crazy trying to capture the beauty in his cam while we merrily strolled and posed and most importantly let our souls smile and relive our precious memories. Can there be a more beautiful morn. The most simple yet the most fulfilling and it was not it, as the lunch and dinner were going to be as beautiful. 

So yes in the afternoon we descended down to take a stroll on the Mall Road around the breathtakingly beautiful Naini lake as we reached Zooby’s, one of the most famous fine dine restaurant for our Special Valentine’s Day lunch by the lakeside. After all the fun and food and masti we hired a boat to sail back to Naina Devi temple, the place where we professed our love in front of God. The vibes their are soul-stirring, I was transported back in time and couldn’t resist smiling throughout. 

Back in the Homestay it was some naughty banter and cuddling with lots of giggles and anticipation for the much awaited bonfire night  celebrations. Little joys of life like these are what we love always. For a change we didn’t cut a cake this year rather made merry around a sizzling hot fire is extreme chilly star-studded night with S showing how effectively he can master the barbecue and little one having fun with blowing fire and setting up of the barbecue. I can only say it can only seldom get as perfect as this. It was beautiful, thoroughly beautiful. 

Oh yes, I forgot to ask for my Valentine gift but this holiday itself was the most worthy gift😊. Late that night I closed my eyes gently and expressed my gratitude to the Almighty for bringing S and me together in this life. It is like two imperfect pieces perfectly fitting into each other and completing each other to make a perfect combination. It’s a deep friendship of twenty years now from the day we first met in our teens and there is absolutely nothing as valuable for me than this bond of ours. That night I decided to weave this memorable trip in words for us to revisit and relive it as often as we wish and hence this piece. 

For our son Arsh too, this was a much needed break from the monotonous indoor online school life. He loved the astoundingly beautiful Jim Corbett Waterfalls and the trek to Tiffin Top or Dorothy’s Seat with a lot of lessons on professional photography from Rohan Uncle. He devoured the Bal Mithai as Naina Devi temple Prasad, his parents too always drooled over and shopped some gorgeous pieces of designer candles at the Tibetan market. 

For both of us, we didn’t shop but just breathed in and out our joy and felt ecstatic and loved. The journey from our nonstop candid banter to just peacefully holding each other’s hands and strolling with a smile silently, we indeed have come a long way.

Thus as always this time too I brought back a bag full of precious memories from our very favourite Nainital with a promise that we will be there again soon. Though we have always been wanderlusts, never thought travel can be so therapeutic and healing. I discovered a new calmness and my soul came to peace as if it’s chronic thirst has been quenched.

Our special thanks to Rohan of Langdale Homestay Nainital for making our trip so treasurable.

Truly Yours Roma

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