13th March 2015
Got up early again. I had nice sleep IN THE CAR parked in the middle of Chakrata bazaar. Sipping cup of tea, standing in the middle of Chakrat bazaar, I had a mixed feelings that morning. I knew this was the last day of the trip. How much I loved this. I wished this trip to continue forever and never stop. But there was a lure of the family too. It was 25 days since I was away from the family and I knew how much was I missing my wife and childern.
As I alighted from the car I noticed flat front tyre on the driver’s side. Got the electronic pump out and inflated the tyre. I knew it had a puncture even then decided to try and see till how long the pressure holds.
Before leaving for Amritsar I wanted to check on few roads near Chakrata. One of them was to Deoban. Deoban is 13 kilometer away from Chakrata on a little bifurcation from main Chakrata Tiuni road. It is famous for peaceful environment, dense forest and marvelous views of himalayan mountains. The road, however, was too tough for Lalpari. The car was getting hit on the underbelly consistently. After few kilometers it became unbearable and having mercy on my car I decided to abandon the drive and put deoban back in the bucket list.
I returned back to the main Chakrata-Tiuni road. I turned right and after few kilometers reached a kind of top, pit stop. The road was bad but landscape was amazing. I stopped for a while at the top for tea and few clicks.
From the top I drove down towards Koti. The road was pretty bad. There was lot of slush, fresh snow and black ice on the road. The car was slipping and skidding once again. It reminded me of Kharapathar road. It was as difficult as I found on my way up to Narkanda and Sukhi top during this trip. The surrounding was just beautiful though. There was a panoramic view of the Himalayan range from top. But the best part was those huge beautiful deodar trees. Perhaps I was viewing the thickest and tallest deodar trees in my life. Soon I was in Koti Kanasar a beautiful meadow with a forest full of huge deodar trees. I decided to leave it for my return journey and continued towards Koti.
Koti Kanasar is a small charming place. There are lots of dhabas. Like Tiuni most of the dhabi’s here are managed by women from Nepal. It was good to see branch of PNB here as well. Took lunch and had nice walk around the village. After sometime it was time to head back.
After a little stroll and few clicks in the meadow of Koti Kanasar I headed back to Chakrata. At Chakrata I took a stroll of the town and lanes to look at the view from different points and click few pictures. While roaming in the bazaar I bought grapes and washed it under a tap. Suddenly I noticed a gang of monkeys lead by a big one with red fearsome eyes approach me menacingly.
I knew was in trouble as they spied me washing the grapes. My car was still some distance away. But before the gang could reach me I threw the carry bag containing grapes through an open window towards a man who was sitting on the driver’s seat of a parked car. Sensing this the gang leapt towards that car but the driver of the car very smartly pushed the glass of the windows up quickly and the monkey’s were found napping. They looked sheepish as they seem to have found their match.
After a smart game with the monkeys I headed back home and was soon driving on the road to Paonta. On the way I stopped for a cup of tea. On being asked the man told that most of the people of the area were Jaunsari and have some unique culture. He told me that he himself was a Jaunsari and that as per their custom, the bridegroom goes to bride’s home with baraat and that the bride has to pay to the parents of bridegroom. He also confirmed custom of polygamy and that it was fast dying now. He also told me that goats and sheeps are very costly in the area and it is a normal practice to offer them to their devta.
Soon I was in planes and the odometer hit 80-100 km per hour. I felt good as I was driving in 5th gear now. I was enjoying driving on the butter smooth road near Paonta and feeling free. But this freedom was short lived as honking and rash driving soon made me realize that I was in civilization again.
I was bit confused. Weather this was civilization or that, where I was lost for the last 25 days? I never really felt out of place on those high, lonely, mountain roads though at times they passed through dense forest inhabited by wild animals or roads that went through snow, mud, slush and rocks with deep scary valleys. I never felt scared on those roads but was really scared of these roads. Reaching this civilization I was not feeling all that good. For a moment I felt like returning back to the mountains. But the thought of my wife waiting at home kept me going.
The night fell at Paonta. I kept on driving….Nahan, Kala Amb, Naraingarh, Panchkula, Zirakpur, Banur, Ropar, Jalandhar and then finally Amritsar. I reached Amritsar at around 3am in the morning. It was good to see my wife and son waiting for me. It was absolutely amazing meeting them after such a long time. I have never been away from home for so long.
My wife knew it. She placed hot food in front of me as she knew I have not eaten on the way. Amazing isn’t it. Amazing to have life partner like her!!!