Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Shimla: My Homeland

It feels good when I sit under the sun in the winters specially in my home land, Shimla. While enjoying winters in Calcutta at the end of November, I deeply miss the cool weather, the fresh winds and the warm sunshine of Shimla. These things have taught me to spend time with myself and never get bored when alone or in a group. They have taught me to love Mother Nature. They have taught me to be simple and humble. They  have guided me through the steep uneven paths to Jakhu Temple alone and listen to the soft winds whispering in my ears a lullaby. When I am idle my feet would automatically lead to the mall road – bidding Namaste to people I know (the maximum of the crowd), eating hot gulab jamun from Baljeez, just sit idle facing towards the distant horizon of hills and feel the warmth of sunshine on my back which try to bring me some relief from the cold, savoring the taste of a steaming cup of coffee in my hand. The pine trees have taught me to unleash the unspoken words. The hills have taught me to think and see things on a broader prespective and remain strong and stand by the right decision throughout my life. The yards and yards of silence have taught me to be patient and calm at the most difficult times in life. 
 On the onset of winters in Shimla, hailstones start falling without any prior notice. The hails have given me happiness and I have played with it in my childhood. When I grew up, I used to watch passersby running for shelter during the hail-rain alike children who ran out of their houses with their mothers shouting behind them, to collect hailstones.

Mostly , I have spent time alone in this land of eternity. But I feel to be grateful for that. Strolling through the crowd of tourists, I headed towards the Christ Church (the show stopper of the mall road of Shimla)to find more peace and harmony through prayers and carols. 

Though the Lower bazaar remained crowed, but still in the evenings sometimes after I had finished my strolling and enjoying with the Nature I led my way through Lower Bazar. The pavements are filled with hawkers and the shops are always overflowing with customers. The shop keepers are busy trading. The customers are busy choosing on the stuff to buy. The real hustle bustle of a city can only be found in the Lower Bazar of Shimla. It’s not at all as quiet as the other parts of Shimla.
 After dark also I loved to stay outdoors to see surrounding hill tops then the slopes being gulped by the darkness. Gradually the slopes of the hills started to get illuminated one, two three… then a bunch full of lights… and then the whole slope used to dress up for the evening show with twinkling lights. Cold puffs out from your mouth, warming your  hands in the pocket and the feel of little shiver as the chilling wind kisses you in your face. It is nothing but marvelous.

The last but not the least the Shimla Kali Bari. The unforgettable place for me. The ringing of the temple bells and the sound of the drums during aarti are so nostalgic to me.  The distribution of bhog or Prasad after puja and the evening aarti still brings serenity to me. The view of the long stretched greenery and the 360 degree view of the Shimla, during different times of the day, can never be forgotten by me.

The monkeys gathering and drinking water from the temple tap and the people leaving their queue for the monkeys is the rarest scene to be seen in Shimla Kali Bari courtyard. The monkeys entering the Shiv ji Mandir making their way through the crowd to eat on the bananas and the sweets is a common scene to be experienced in Shimla. You can feel free to feed the monkeys from your own hand. These wild monkeys have never been trained by anyone. But still they come to you if you call them, hold your palm with their both hands, stand up and feed on to whatever vegetarian you offer them.

Among the most nostalgic things in Shimla are the smell and the feel in the pollution free cool air, the weather and the simple people dwelling there. Now I can say that I am proud to be an Indian-a bonafied Himachali-a Bengali. 3 in 1. I feel so proud of myself. I contain the culture and values of all the three. I miss Shimla in every breath wherever I stay and in all seasons. I love Shimla and dream to have my own sweet home in one of the  slopes of the hills in Shimla. I know it’s impossible as Shimla is already overcrowded and id extending to Solan- the valley.  I still close my eyes and whenever I want to see my homeland all the sweet memories come rushing infront of eyes to make me happy. I may have left my homeland but I am present in every part and every content of Nature of Shimla.