Journey to Nainital
I always thought that natural Lakes have a mysterious thing about them .They may not be vast or deep as the sea but somewhere they contain with their closed ends a lot many things waiting to be discovered .The first natural water lake I had seen was the Changu lake in sikkim which was not frozen when I
visited and it had a lasting effect on me.Surrounded by mountains on all sides , the calm pristine water creates a quietness which one has to see to feel and vice versa.
So when we were planning an Uttranchal trip one december where Dehradun and Mussori were already finalised , it did not take me much time to add Nainital to the itenary though that would mean a long train journey with my 4 year old when most trains were getting delayed or cancelled due to the winter fogs.
As luck would have it , after a very fulfilling trip seeing Dehradun and Musoori , we reached the Dehradun station at 10 pm only to know that the train to Nainital is delayed by 5 hours and at 3 degrees , the ladies waiting room seemed to be a blessing though it started getting crowded very soon.
As said by Ruskin Bond “you sit on a railway platform long enough and you will have a story to tell”.
In the non smartphone era people were more patient and a night like this would look long and probably one would try to sleep off but since smartphones rule us and not otherwise, I started discussing the situation with my sister who is on the other side of the globe and had started her day .I joked that how in real life to find a place in waiting rooms itself is a blessing leave alone meet a long lost lover in an empty waiting room as they show in the movie Izzazat !
As I tried putting my son to sleep in the chairs we occupied , there was a huge rush of a lot of gypsie women who were carrying blankets and in a zigzag pattern they started lying down on the ground such that their blankets served both as mattress and blanket in some way and they could fight the cold well.This got me thinking how these people are always prepared to face all kinds of situation and have stuff with them which people like us never think of. We would probably carry a lot more medicine but not think of how to save ourselves from catching a cold !!!
Then at about 2 am another train arrived and some of the seats got vacant and I got a bed for my son to lye down.There I met a bubbly girl like myself who was travelling back home from her hostel for christmas vacation and we started chatting .The rest of the night passed by with a lot of hostel life conversation and laughter ,with me reminiscing my hostel days. My husband who was in the general waiting room had to come to check on me as he had stopped receiving any wats app message from me which till then was an agreed upon mode of staying in touch while spending the night in separate waiting rooms 🙂
Then at 4 am the train arrived and very soon we all were fast asleep in our bunks with my kiddo sharing mine and when we woke up , we could see the small yet preety Haldwani station the neatness of which would not miss the eye .
The landscape was rustic with trees planted in rows for miles together and as the train sped by I thought how the steady rhythm of a train journey transforms us much like the changing landscape which unfortunately a flight can never compensate.
As we arrived at the majestic Kathgodam station , the tiredness seem to vanish and the hills seem to call .
A beautiful morning beckon us , one I can recall still as fresh as that day . A car journey on the winding mountain roads followed where we would go up a certain distance and then go down another as one hill connected to another.There is this puzzle about mountain roads but that we shall solve some other time. For now let it be the land of the lakes 🙂 and for anyone wanting to see Nainital , I would recommend to make this train journey from dehradun to Kathgodam which is the nearest railway station and then travel uphill by Taxi ….the sights and sounds of this journey will surely stay with you .