Himachal Diaries: Tiny Tales

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Photo of Himachal Diaries: Tiny Tales 1/1 by Amritha

No doubt places you see and people you meet and the time you spend make up for most of your travel memories. But most times, there is a little more, which remains longer in your memory. Tiny beliefs, tiny serendipities, tiny instances and tiny lessons- all of these make for a beautiful travel tale.

Green Peas

A good number of villages in Himachal’s Spiti valley make a living out of the cultivation of peas. The cold weather in the valley do not allow for many options of vegetable cultivation. While driving by Himachal’s difficult Spiti roads, our driver hopped out of the car at one such green peas field. He insisted we should taste the green peas grown there. While we expected him to return with a couple of them, he came back with two hands full of green peas, something the Mumbai vegetable seller would have sold for a good price. To us, on this beautiful Spiti trip, these peas were given free of cost, fresh, sweet and served with a big smile. In the later part of the trip, our driver also treated us to peaches and other such fruits. May those fields and their farmers prosper.

Warmth

Do we find the warmest people at the coldest places possible? May be yes you find them in Himachal, definitely yes you find them in Spiti. This incident will be always close to my heart and will always manage to put a smile on my face. We were roaming around aimlessly climbing some uphill pathways in Kibber. While, I was climbing one such uphill pathway, my photographer friend was walking behind me and asked me to turn around and smile for her camera. As I do that, the next moment someone warmly puts her arm around my waist. I turn to see a lovely sweet looking middle aged village woman smiling at me. We both once again flashed a bigger smile as we hugged tighter and posed for the camera.

Serendipity

Halfway through our trip, it was one of my friend’s suggestion we should offer a lift to anyone who asks for it. This required some of us to adjust a little, but then her suggestion sounded a good one. Once the suggestion was accepted, we in total offered lifts to three human beings- a villager who forgot his wallet and missed his bus, a foreigner who was hitch hiking and the third one. Well, the third one I will name serendipity. We met this young boy waiting at one of the cross roads on our way to the Gue Monastery. The gue Monastery is famous for it being home to a ‘Mummy’ which has been naturally preserved. The young boy was on a vacation from his merchant navy training in Chennai and was going back home which is in gue village. We offered him a lift and when we reached the village, he got down and asked us to wait for him. “I will help you with the keys to the monastery,” he said. Five minutes later he returned with another young man, who got into the car with us, took us to the monastery, opened the doors and showed us the Mummy. In all our research, nowhere did we know the monastery is locked and the villagers need to be asked for its keys. Had we not met this young man, our more than an hour long drive to this place would have been fruitless and we would have returned not seeing the famous ‘Mummy.’

First kind, then cash

For places which thrive on tourists, to ensure tourists buy their goods is essential. However, on our trip we did find some kind hearted souls, who put kindness first and cash later. We had decided on purchasing silver jewelry of about more Rs.2000 in Kaza's market, but realized if we paid all of it we may run out of cash. While we were still contemplating, buying the stuff and thinking about finding an ATM later, the shopkeeper advised otherwise. Concerned we may or may not find cash at the nearest ATM, he first asked us to go check if the ATM had cash withdraw it and then come pay him. He was not worried about the ATM not having cash and he losing out on a customers. Kindness first. To reward his kindness, the ATM did have cash and I am glad we could buy the silver jewelry.

Himachal Diaries is a series of some short and some long blogs from my recent 10-day trip to Himachal with four of my friends. These blogs will cover places we saw, people we met, funny experiences and some instances which amuse us at a personal level. This is the fifth part of the Himachal Diaries series, Hope you enjoy, feedback is welcome!

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