Stories from Rahi On Road Trip to Kangra in Himachal
We were not supposed to be in McLeod Ganj, but for some reason, we reached McLeod Ganj and decided to explore the overcrowded Bazaar of McLeod Ganj. We visited the Dalali Lama Temple, haggled with vendors, looked at all the eye candy around us, tried to flirt with a few, clicked a lot of horrible pictures that would never be put to any use. After being a tourist in McLeod Ganj, in Himachal Pradesh, we were rushing to our next stop, famished we zeroed on a Pizza Joint to grab a quick bite. I was a bit reluctant to enter the Pizza joint, for McLeod Ganj is known for some of the best quaint eateries with servings ranging from Dim sums to German Bakeries, Korean delicacies to Punjabi Chole Bhature, yet here I was sitting in a Pizza joint all in the name of saving some time.
As we were waiting for our order, in she walks, thin as the two hiking sticks that she carefully placed next to her. I instantly feel like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, and mumble to myself
“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in the entire world, she walks into mine”
Only, I am no Humphrey Bogart, and this is McLeod Ganj, once a sanctuary for Dalai Lama, but now Hill Station of choice for testosterone high honeymooners, tourists feeling triumphant after winning a bargain from a Tibetan souvenir seller and trampled by travelers in search of Nirvana.
But I am no Humphrey Bogart, yet I feel like she was as beautiful as Ingrid Bergman, in Casablanca, , for she was radiating beautiful energy that is truly timeless.
I look at her face that has more wrinkles than mountains she has conquered with her frail body that is unable to tame her still wild spirit, even after a double mastectomy. She is coming back from a REAL Trek, not one of those Bollywood type farce in the name of treks. Exhausted, she is looking for some food that will take her back home, food that she can recognize and relish even with her eyes closed, a food that she has grown up with. For after a long exhausting trek, surviving on canned food, boiled noodles your body and soul both needs some pampering. For after a long trek you are not only allowed some indulgences you actually deserve some taste bud nirvana.
In a sweet voice, she asks the guy at counter,
“Is this the real Pizza Hut from the US? “
“Yes, Mam”, the guy at counter confirms.
She gives a sigh of relief and twinkle in her eyes that have only gone brighter with each mountain she has conquered.
“Oh, Wonderful! and she places her order”
I instinctively click her picture, but just as I pressed the button, her head moves and I miss the face.
I wanted to talk to her and click her portrait, but decide against it and let her have her space and enjoy her Pizza in peace while I too nibbled in my Pizza.
Whosoever said Pizza is soul food was correct.
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