It was a cold morning. Jackets, socks, caps and gloves kind of cold. The clouds lined the sky unforgivingly. Even the monkeys were unusually quiet, the regular spring missing from their step. Just then, the sun trickled in through the dense foliage. Only a minute and the world was different. Up and away in Dhanaulti, around 30kms from Mussoorie, the sombre, wintry day transformed into a February paradise.
There is something magical about the hills – in the way the sun rises over the green valleys, the nippy air that makes your cheeks rosy and red, and the sleepy silence that descends on the town around the time you usually wrap up a regular office day!
This off-season hideaway in the hills worked perfectly for a certain couple from Pune, celebrating their first marriage anniversary. Last I heard, the two of them devoured one boiled egg after another, stocked up on chicken tikkas, warmed their hands by the fire, bought books autographed by Ruskin Bond, conversed with the horses, and blew mist from their mouths into the valleys of Dehradun below.
This Monday afternoon at my desk, I am pretending the view from my window is really just a facade. It will crack anytime, and underneath, there will be a secret passageway leading straight to the Queen of Hills.
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