At the outset I must apologise for the digression, I have been travelling a tad too much and so this series had taken a break in between as some other things attracted my attention. Yea, I took a road trip to the Himalayas again after the April trip to Parvati Valley, and another road trip to Pune the last weekend. But well it looks like I am logged back into home now for a while and so my beloved blog should come back to its full gusto.
So, whilst we had some unbelievable hospitality experience in Lapaas and stayed in a traditional house at an incredible height with locals, we left that abode after a day and headed to a mela in Buhad. We reached around 6’ish to Buhad, apparently the villagers are trying to manufacture a road which was evidently not well engineered as we saw Amar struggle to make hair pin turns that were impossible to execute unless he reversed and retried twice! Eventually we persuaded him to park the vehicle at some place and took up a stiff walk of about an hour through apple orchards, and some wheat fields and well a bit of woods too we reached Buhad. The scene on the route was something like this :
That is why you should always make an effort to walk up the slopes, there always are incredible views from the higher altitude!
The fields were enviably green and this green colour does so much to help the panting, puffing me on the slopes! I absolutely am given an adrenalin rush which aids getting my heavy body up the mountains!
and then we came across this lady returning from a hard day’s work, its about time for the mela to begin and she is headed back home. Watching the idyllic yet hard working life of the locals on these slopes in itself is a blessing. Their lives are so much more close to nature and simple that you sometimes really wonder if we urbanites are living a better life full of no hard work and gyms or these folks who work hard and then relax whilst we are gymming!😛
Anyways taking in the sights and capturing some of them in my camera we finally made it to the village of Buhad, as we walked through the scattered houses and narrow lanes between fields we could sense the people being in a festive kind of a mood. The kids were chasing each other or blowing balloons, they had all sorts of toys in their hands from dolls, tops, guns, they’d be chasing each other. The males all seemed to be dressed quite formally with their hats being adorned by ‘Jau’ (barley) shoots, that are specially grown inside the houses to give them no sunlight so that they are yellow and not green. The women folk also seemed to be not working for a change, they seemed to be all sitting about and talking, some even smoking! As we made our way into the small chowk, which made itself into a market for the day, this was the sight that had me melting at its mere sight!
Hell yes, they were making garma garam Jalebi’s and Pakoda’s for the people visiting in the mela’s. What is amazing is that they have an arrangement where in people from neighbouring village come to make these snacks so that the village folks are all free to just enjoy! They all simply participate in the fervour that is prevalent during the mela. They all greeted each other, hugged and in general the atmosphere was very jovial and funny. You could hear laughter from all corners! They would come to their temple to offer their respect to their devta, who would soon be brought out from the temple completely decorated in a Palki (Palanquin) which would be put on the shoulders of the villagers whilst they dance with the weight of their devta on their bodies!
All in all its a total festive atmosphere, if you think this is it? No!?
Well whilst all of them are mingling, there are people like us and other villagers who come to visit these villages on the day of the mela. As a system, on this day all guests in the village are to be treated by the hosts. So one fellow named Rajinder who was chatting with us and Amar invited us to his house as we were meant to head back to Kasol, he said atleast we must have tea at his house before we left the village. He was so insistent about the fact that we guys had come from all the way to Gujarat and cannot go without seeing the hospitality of the folks of Buhad!
Eventually we headed to his house which was amidst a field and an apple orchard, cut off from the world, we reached his house and found that in one room his brother’s friends were all parked and eating and talking, in another room the women had all gathered up!
Soon enough we were having tea and pakoda’s. As that came to being wiped off the plate, would you believe it if I told you the guy came up with some 8 bottles of beer and a bottle of Royal Stag! We were like, we came for tea! He wasn’t listening, after the drinks were parked came bowls of Chhole, Rajma and Kadi with some superb Bhatura’s which were being served straight from the frying pan! To think that this guy didn’t even know us, the number of times he would get up from the party to get things for us was unbelievable. I would tell my best of friends during such a gathering to get water for himself and here was this guy, hosting people he didn’t even know and ones he might not probably ever meet again. Running errands like mad, amidst that he regaled us with his stories, he was one of the funniest man you could ever meet too. We laughed and laughed till it was 12 in the night. The guy kept insisting you sleep here tonight and go home the next day, eventually he was called for dancing in the mela and we were able to sneak away humbled to the core.
Can you quite comprehend this!? A total stranger takes you to his house, serves you like the best of hosts would, insists you stay a night in his house, generous and gracious, humble to the core and friendly at heart. Would we ever do something like that to someone in the city!?
Think it over and do let me know. Also let me know if you guys loved reading this, I loved recounting that day all the much whilst writing this post.
I will leave you with one more image of a local house in Buhad on a Glorious day when I took part in a local mela in a distant village in the Himalaya’s that is not even connected by road!