If one recalls literature from when urbanization began to take place, whether in Europe or even in South Asian countries like India, there runs the theme of strong contrasts between the city life and the country life. Shakespeare’s characters seeking a life of bliss away from the corrupt of court, or Rabindranath Tagore’s affair with the quaint life of villages in Bengal romanticize the country and often criticize the city.
Many ‘digital nomads’ like me have often unconsciously retraced these comparisons made by our ancestors as we try to hoard memories of culture, lands and its people when we travel.
But why is this important?
Well, it is because this is what pulled me back to the embrace of the two cities, Mussoorie and Dehradun: Nostalgia. Not only nostalgia for my days spent at the boarding in Dehradun but also a strong sense of nostalgia for the quaint hill stations, a bit far removed from the madness that the metropolitan city of Delhi is full of.
Dehradun and Mussoorie are hill stations in transit, a notion intrinsic to being human, which is what makes these places fascinating for me. So when I decided on a trip to these towns, many were puzzled at my enthusiasm to visit a crowded, somewhat haphazardly urbanized city of Dehradun (Mussoorie still holds its ground as a hill station) and while my friend, looked longingly out the car window in hopes to catch hold of hillocks and perhaps cottages, as we left behind the Dehradun railways station, I imagined a hint of betrayal on her face.
We visited a total of seven places within almost two days, having arrived on a Friday afternoon and departed by Sunday evening. Here is a list of our little adventures on a weekend, and did I mention, within a budget of five thousand each? (Also consider: we spent foolishly on our train tickets).
Mall Road, Mussoorie
Having arrived late afternoon at the hills, we chose not to waste much of our time in the hotel room and left to stroll about at the mall road which is where we were staying. We made a stop outside the Picture Palace, which was an old cinema hall that was renovated and now stands famous for its 5d movies and an entertaining haunted house. After that with no further ado, we took a trolley ride to Gun Hill, in hopes of making it on time to watch the setting sun. The sunset point at gun hill is surrounded by numerous shops and food stalls to entertain the tourists, you can enjoy a cup of tea or steaming maggi at a very cheap price. We took a trolley back to mall road and made our way to Kalsang Friend’s Corner to gorge over some Pan-Asian cuisine, which truth be told was mostly average except the chicken momos. After that we went over to Café By the Way, which is literally located by the way as we move ahead on the mall road. Café By the Way, apart from a beautiful ambience also offers great hot chocolate and an array of pastries to choose from. You can while away the time playing scrabble, jenga, ludo or cards, or even look through their collection of art that are on sale as well.