In a far far away land, did silence roared and hailed once,
When the Almighty broods, everybody is on run;
All fortunes gathered for the schmooze;
It was a party and of course there was booze,
The talks did not go unheard,
Boon, as we call it, a ripple of love flourished,
Silent valley, the charmest of the charm,
Insignia of endearing, winsome and calm,
Born with a spark of love and generosity,
A kingdom prospered afar from the life of the city.
One of my early village trips to the Silent valley, Alchauna was what I would call an awakening from a messy busy life. A friend of mine told me that a travel company called ‘Rural Odyssey’ is organizing a trip to the Silent Valley in Uttrakhand the very next day and if I am interested to go.
Well, Am I interested to go? Hell yeah, I definitely want to go…
I looked at the itinerary and it was a bit different than what travel companies normally offer. Staying in a 100-year-old bungalow (home-stay) and activities like village walk, bee-keeping, organic farming were on the list. Sounds interesting, right?
We reached there early in the morning. Mr. Ajay Upreti, our host welcomed us and showed us our rooms. We were dog-tired by now and hungry too.
We rushed towards the breakfast table like a hungry hippopotamus. There we met the head of the Upreti family, Mr. Lalit Upreti. He was quite a gentleman in his early 60’s. We had an introductory session with him and he also told us a bit about the bungalow we were staying in that belongs to his great great grandfather and they have been living there since their childhood.
Upreti uncle showed us the traditional and the conventional bee keeping methods. He also threw some light on the kind of bees there are and how do they produce honey and make living. We clicked a lot of pictures. It was quite intriguing for us all.
Moving ahead, we saw organic farms where Mr. Ajay Upreti told us about drip irrigation and many other things and then we headed towards the river. It was a flabbergasting moment for us all. Never did any of us expect such clarity of water in a water body in India. It was as clear as daylight and all of us stood there staring at the river or else clicking the pictures. It was like all of us wanted the time to stand still so that we can make the most of it. We were romping around the river like an animal that has gone wild. Believe me, it was too much fun. Just cavorting and playing around with people who were almost strangers to you and feeling as if you’ve known them for ages is the best feeling in the world. If that doesn’t make you feel how incredibly incredible our trip was, I don’t know what will.
We went back to the Upreti’s uncle place after our perfect bonding from strangers to being amazing friends. Our lunch was ready and all of us were empty-bellied. We settled ourselves for our meal.
Let me tell you guys, never ever in my entire life have I seen, such hospitality as Upreti uncle offered. And the variety of food there was, oh my God! We were bewildered as to what to eat and what not. He continuously kept asking us what else do we want, is the food good enough, and so on. He made us feel at home. We thanked him whole-heartedly after finishing our lunch for such a wonderful meal.
After resting for a while, we left for the village walks at around 4 in the evening. For me personally, village walk was the most prodigious part of my trip. We interacted with many villagers, and a lot of village kids followed us in order to get them clicked too. You know kids, how they are. They were a bit shy and they wanted to talk to us too. Well, by the time we were about to leave we did succeed in getting a few pictures with these adorable shy kids. When we were leaving, one of those little girls came shouting from behind, “Didi… Bye.” This little gesture of love from that girl added on to my reminiscent memories. The feeling is a bit hard to explain though.
We finally left the village with a lot of memories in our heart and in our cameras. At night we had a bonfire. Each one of us was sitting around and sharing their experiences about life or about anything we wanted to. The sky above was so clear and filled with countless stars that are almost impossible to see in a city like Delhi. We even played songs and sang along with it. Oh yes, we had two amazing singers in our group too, Kush and Zeya. They sang numerous other songs. The song that still goes over and over again in my mind and refreshes the memories of that night every time I hear it,
“Pal pal har kadam, payenge hum, ek manzar naya…”
The next day we started our trek to the Karkotak mountain range bidding adieu to this lovely host family and thanking them for everything. It took us around 5 hours to reach the top. The view from the top was so beautiful that you could see the complete Bhimtal at one side, and the Naukuchiyatal at the other. We had our lunch there, sat there for quiet some time ruminating about life and appreciating the creation of God.