Used to action-packed holidays, with lots of sightseeing and adventure sports, we had our apprehensions while driving down to the quiet, serene Ramgarh bungalows, in Kumaon hills. The drive became longer than usual with a huge jam before Garh Mukhteshwar where the kawariyas had stopped for a bath. You could say we had a fair share of adventure just there, when a diversion had to be made through the neighbouring villages and fields.
The houses in this village were small constructions next to each other, with bare minimum walls, flanking the narrowest of lanes (it’s a miracle the car passed through that!). The walls were close enough to make you feel like you’re driving on their porch! With main doors invariably wide open, we were very curiously prying into the courtyards. Amused/ smiling/ stunned kids hung about, just a few inches/ feet away, making it seem like a ride on the Darjeeling Hill Railway. They were soon seen running about, calling out to each other excitedly on seeing cars suddenly passing from outside their houses. People going about their business would pause and stare. Monkeys were perched on roofs and walls.
Buffaloes, yes!they deserve a mention here. If you think you’ve seen enough cattle on the streets of Delhi, you haven’t seen nothing! the village houses here were FULL OF buffaloes! (and some cows too). Tied, lounging, eating, sleeping….they were all around! Every one of those houses had one if not two or three or four buffaloes! And they seemed to be behaving like they were royalty! Half the population there was engaged in tending to them…feeding them, bathing them… It seemed like a village come alive out of one of Premchand’s novels, with the cattle being the wealth deciding a family’s stature!
After crossing through a maze of houses, we came out on open fields and breathed a sigh of relief, looking at the open space!
However, a bit too quick because the drive here was crazy, with practically no roads in parts, and a blinding dust cloud blowing from a car in front of ours making the visibility zero! Yet we had to go fast for we were following the other car. It was a stroke of luck that we didn’t end up in a paddy field or on top of a buffalo!
Finally joining the main highway, the drive thereafter was smooth till Nainital. That little unintended diversion however woke us up from our snoozing and dozing, and we felt ready for a peaceful stay at Ramgarh!…