What felt like a chore actually turned out to be an adventure.
A few mornings ago I had to take my daughter to the dentist. The day was cold, the skies were grey and it was raining. It made the winter day look even more uninviting.
Well, we started and took the local bus. The second best way to move around in this popular North Indian hill station of Shimla is the bus. The best way is to walk. Umbrellas firmly under our arms, we stepped down the bus at the Lift on Shimla’s arterial Cart Road. The Lift, which is actually a couple of lifts, takes people up to the famous Mall Road which is the hub of the city. Normally this place sees serpentine queues and I prefer the best option, of walking up the steep trails and stairs. The dentist we needed to see was in the Dental College and Hospital, attached to the prestigious Snowdon Hospital, now rechristened as the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital.
We were the only passengers in the normally very crowded lift and when we reached the top, voila! the road was uncrowded too, owing to the early morning and the bad weather. It seemed as if we had the place to ourselves. The lift exit is right opposite the large Indira Gandhi Sports Complex and there are many food fests, book exhibitions here the year round.
Walking on was exhilarating without having to avoid the numerous tourists and locals. I clicked the empty benches where I usually look anxiously to find a space to sit.
The road leading down to the largest market, the Lower Bazaar, was enticing. Not many shops were open, just the ones selling liquor! Ah! People get up that early for a drink!
A little further on, we took the upper road to the Ridge and were rewarded by our first view of the Christ Church and St. Michael’s Cathedral. It is probably the most photographed place on the Ridge and can be seen from miles around.
There were some limpid pools after the rain and the nature spots looked inviting.
We reached the magnificent Ridge maidan.
Crossing it, we took the road to the famous shopping destination of Lakkar Bazaar, full of colour, interesting artefacts and knick knacks.
After a few minutes and a bend in the road was the hospital, catering to thousands from across the state on any given day. It is easily the medical helpline for the people in this hill state.
Our work done, we retraced our steps, holding on to our umbrellas as they almost flew off in the strong gusts of wind. I wished I could photograph that, even though we were drenched!
Time for a hot snack of momos before we caught the bus home.
Hot food rounds off this adventure.