"Ahhhh!!!! Ohhhh!!!!" The sounds kept increasing in intensity. They were getting louder and louder. This was on a quite morning in Mukteshwar. Ritika was in tears. This is not how she imagined her break from the humdrum of Delhi life to be.
It all started when she was hiking alone in the woods half an hour back and slipped on the slope next to the hanuman temple and hit her jaw to the ground. The impact injured her front incisors and now she looked like a bunny.
The Dentist Dr Goel was barbaric. He used all kinds of weird calibers to fix her tooth. It was a rainy day and she couldn't find anybody else in this old village. It was a chance that she found this old man in his fifties dressed in an apron sitting next to the "1905" Indian Post Office. He offered to help her with the emergency and took the girl immediately into the Human Hospital building. The locals called it the Human Hospital as the area was filled with veterinary clinics and research labs.
The surgery smelled of smoke and Dr Goel's kit was vintage and rusted. But this was not the matter of concern to Ritika at the moment. She just wanted to get rid of the pain. After an hour in the surgery the pain subsided and the incisors were fixed. Ritika walked out of the Human Hospital and sat in the cafeteria opposite the post office. She didn't see Dr Goel stepping out from the building and neither did he accept any fees.
At the Cafeteria, "Babu" the shop owner asked her what happened and why did she have the bandages. She could barely speak, but told him the entire events of the morning. Babu looked shocked and took a while to recover. He later told her that Dr Goel was a local dentist who had passed away in the forest fire which had burnt the Hospital building 3 years ago.....
I wrote this story as a part of a writing workshop at the "Himalayan Writer's retreat" in Satkhol, Uttarakhand. The workshop was a wonderful experience.
Logistics: share cabs from Kathgodam / Pantnagar to Satkhol. Bobby is a reliable taxi operator in the area who has both big and small cars. His number is 9410588889.
Once you disembark at Kathgodam, the eating options (and clean loos) along the way are at Udipiwala (1 km from Kathgodam), iHeart café (beyond Bhimtal, before Bhowali).
Weather & Clothing: mostly pleasant - one warm layer and one waterproof layer should be enough. However, if it rains the temperature can drop so an extra layer maybe good to have. Also, sturdy boots or at least a good pair of sneakers are strongly recommended.
The place is a 3 minute walk from the road. Also, the retreat is not a single building but a little spread out, so expect to walk around a bit between sessions / meals. Also, it gets dark early here so make sure you bring a small torch / know how to use the one in your phone.
Writing a book is tough. But with the right encouragement, the right company and the right tools, it gets easier. At the Himalayan Writing Bootcamp, you get all these and more. The Bootcamp brings together a small group of like-minded people looking to become writers.
By the time you leave, you have your plot outline in place, characters mapped, setting and locations written out, and an armoury of new writing skills under your belt. You also understand the options for publishing a book and the many choices to make.
If you've been thinking about writing but have been feeling a little stuck, this might be the breakthrough you're looking for. The bootcamp is held at the Himalayan Writing Retreat - an orchard in the Uttarakhand Himalayas. For more details contact Chetan Mahajan +91-97176-15666 or read more about the workshop at www.himalayanwritingretreat.com