Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lesson 14 - Last Day At Manali

Next day was my last day in Manali. I was supposed to catch a bus at 4:30 pm. Woke up in the morning earlier than usual. And unusually it was very clear & bright outside. Probably the place was happy to see me go, but I wasn’t. Lying at my bed, I kept on looking at the hill & the valley from the window for a couple of hours. Was breathing heavy, trying to store that peculiar fragrance of the moist wooden interior of that room. So that I could remember these hours whenever I wish, even after I m long gone from this place. My lovely run- away trip was coming to an end.

Checking out time was 11 am & Pinka was already present at the reception with his cab to throw me back to the main Manali city. Pinka, though a shy guy, somehow managed to compliment me for two things – my compact luggage & courage to come out to a strange city alone. While he was driving towards the city, I tried exploring his knowledge about various ways of reaching Nepal, his native place. So any guesses where my next unplanned runaway trip would be? He dropped me at the Mall road & insisted on meeting whenever I come back. Before I could say goodbye, he gifted me with a piece of advice. In a very grave & concerned voice he said “Mam, please don’t go to strange places alone. You may be nice but the world isn’t”. For an arrogant girl like me, who listens to none, it was strangely but surely touching. Little did he know that sometimes it is not the choice but the destiny.

Had to kill time,so I walked down to the only so- called multiplex in the city, Picadelly. Adjacent to the Private bus stand, this multiplex is actually a single screen theatre with blue dragons on the either side & good sound quality. Next three hours spent watching a funny bollywood movie. Went back to the Mall road to treat myself with my favorite Momos. Went to a road-side knife seller. Knives of all sizes & for all purposes. Very interesting & diverse variety. But all interesting ones were more than 6 inches & were thus illegal to carry & keep. Unfortunately can’t buy them. Reminded me of a collection of Swiss knives in a showroom in a Mall in Gurgaon. Amidst all this I happen to saw a familiar face smiling at me. The same foreigner guy who had to spend the whole journey on the aisle while coming to Manali. I reciprocated his friendly smile. Before we could start a conversation, I realized that it was time to go. Time to board the bus & go back home. But was I not leaving one for another. Existentialism erupted in my psyche.

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