It was a usual call from my wife on a Sunday morning, and one of her usual questions is `what is the temperature today in Dehradun?’. I replied `it’s warm at around 16 degrees. She was alarmed, and screamed back `what happened to you, you’re finding 16 degrees as warm?’. I just laughed off the question, and replied that I’ve got used to it. However, the first few days were not funny. The weather was already cold, and to add fuel to the fire, or more apt would be, to add iceberg to the glacier, there were a few hailstorm rains. The first week in Dehradun for me was much like an Indian batsman getting to play his first test at Perth, Australia. It tested me to the maximum but I did not drop my guard.
When I decided to take my promotion, and move over to Doon, the biggest apprehension in my mind was the weather. The first few days were bitterly cold, and even when the sun was shining, I clung on to my two sweaters and a leather jacket with the same tenacity of a man to his last bottle of beer in an alcohol prohibited place. Temperature was easily touching 2 degrees by 11 pm. Though, I was in a secure place with a room heater and wrapped in multiple blankets and woolens, the fear of the cold was in my mind. The eucalyptus and winter green oil of Nilgiris gave me all the warmth I needed. The two room heaters were also of equal help.
It took me whole of a week to decide that I’ve to visit the city which I had read so much about in Ruskin Bond’s novels. My first visit was to the one and only Paltan Bazar of Dehradun. It’s the Sarojini Market of Delhi as far as middle class are concerned. I was put up in the guest house in that time, so purchased a few household articles in case I’m allotted a quarters. I sent it through an attendant, and visited the first restaurant in Dehradun. They proclaim themselves to be a South Indian Restaurant, but the meals costing Rs.175 had no rasam. Next, I visited `The English Book Depot’. It must be the best book shop in Dehradun, and its owner is a fabulous lady. Needless to say, I miss Atta Galatta. There is a facebook group Dehradun Book Club but they have not met after I’ve become a resident of Dehradun, and I presume for the obvious reason of keeping their sanity intact.
Dehradun has a fair number of malls, just for its name Crossroads Mall wins it hands down. The mall is situated at a crossroad, and thus gets its name, what a wonderful branding coup! It happens to be nearest to my quarters, and the one which I visited to see my first movie in Dehradun, `Dangal’. In a city 2032 kilometers away from Bengaluru, it is heartening to know that South Indian Language films are screened regularly. Dehradun must be having the highest number of discount sale shops, bakeries, and resto bars per thousand. My hunt for a hotel which serves great biryani continues. However, I found a wonderful café in the form of `Just Café’. They serve one of the best Masala Chai I’ve ever had.
I did visit Mussoorie, and found it to be exciting. It is the place to go with the lust of your life. Kempty Falls is the typical case of making a mountain out of a mole hill, on a mountain. This feeling of being let down engulfed me may be because I’ve seen Jog Falls and Hognekal Falls in their full glory.
Public transport in Dehradun is mainly by private buses, and a share auto called `Vikram’. During the elections, I hoped some politician would come out and say, I will introduce a public transport system like in Bengaluru, alas, none did, and it didn’t surprise me that they didn’t. Who would like to cause loss of business to the operators of private buses, and also loss of jobs? The distance from my quarters to most of the places of my interest in the city of Dehradun is less than 3.5 kilometers, and I prefer to walk the same.
Dehradun has a Dear Park, this picture
Dehradun has a Dear Park, this picture
I’ve to spend a minimum of 18 months in Dehradun, so there is a lot more to write about the dawns and dusks of Dehradun