Travelling in Himachal in June – 2007
Shimla >> Manali >> Rohtang >> Chandratal >> Ki/Kibber/Tabo >> Kalpa >> Shimla
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The guesthouse we stayed in Nako was run by a mother and her daughter. A bus load of tourists who had arrived on the day had taken up most of the places available in the town. There weren’t any rooms available at this guesthouse too, but the women of the house had offered a room inside their house, and we took it happily.
The mother and daughter made an interesting company. They would talk in a sing song pahadi manner and go on an on without pausing for a break, and without even putting a fullstops between sentences. ‘Today we went to the fields.. we irrigated the potatoes.. we brought some firewood.. it is very hot these days.. afternoons are very sunny.. tomorrow I have to go to Puh town..,’ the mother would go on and on.
It was hardly a few minutes of talking and she had told us everything about them without us asking anything. They had a potato field in the village where the mother and daughter worked. They had built a small building with a few guesthouses and a couple of shops in front of the bus stop. The bus stop saw only handful of buses every day, but it was at the center of the village and was the hangout for most people. And the daughter, who had studied till 9th class, spent her mornings hours teaching at the government primary school. They had little time to relax and kept hurrying from place to place, trying to address something or the other.
And then they had very little trust in people. The daughter came to our room sometime around 9pm, a few hours after we checked in, and asked that we pay the rent right away. ‘What’s the hurry, we will pay in the morning when we are leaving,’ said our driver Mangal. She gave an embarrassed smile and said ‘It is all the same, paying in the morning or now,’ and waited for the money. We cleared the bills quickly, not wanting to upset her. Mangal asked her to take a seat and chat for a while, but she hurried away saying that there is lot of work to do.
Next morning, we asked the daughter to make some mint tea for us. We then headed out to a nearby mountain pass for a short trek while Mangal stayed back. It was nearly 9am when we came back and were greeted by a laughing Mangal.
‘What happened?’ I asked out of curiosity.
‘It’s the daughter,’ he said, ‘The mother has gone to Puh town. The daughter kept asking me to pay for the mint tea we had in the morning. I told her to wait till you folks return, but she was worried that we might run away without paying for it.’
Funnier things were yet to come. We had a quick talk between us and decided to check out and continue on the road after freshening up. I went for a bath little later, and was disturbed by knocks on the bathroom door. It was the daughter again. It was time for her to head to school, but since our room was in the house, she could not leave us behind and go to work.
‘I am getting late,’ she kept shouting and banged the door once in a while! This was getting too much for me and I decided to ignore her, all the while listening to her shout. She almost pounced on me when I came out and hurled some more ‘I am already late, I will be in trouble now’ dialogues. Others were already driven away to the jeep when I was in the bathroom, and she was doing everything possible to throw me out as quickly as possible. She was not the kind who could be calmed down easily – she even followed me to the room and kept telling me to hurry up. It was hard for me not to laugh, but I managed a concerned look and asked her to wait for me to change.
When I eventually checked out, which I did as quickly as possible, she locked the house and swiftly ran towards the school. I was beginning to feel sorry for her at the end; she had simply taken up too many things beyond what she could handle.
Continued at Highlights of Kinnaur