It is the peak of winter and we have had spells of snow in Uttarakhand, Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Just yesterday, we had another spell of snowfall in Mussoorie. Scenes of snowfall have been common on news channels and newspapers, and more snow has been predicted. Suddenly, it feels that the novelty of snowfall has worn off. Too much of anything takes away its beauty at times.
People who live in the hills are used to heavy rains and snowfall. For those who live in valleys, snow covered mountains encircling the valley is a sight they welcome every winter. However, it is not every year that there is such snowfall. This year, it has been rather abundant.
As far as I am concerned, watching the snowfall in Mussoorie and also watching the snow- capped mountains from the Doon valley have been part of my life since I was a toddler. It was so much a part of my life always that I started taking it for granted. I enjoyed the snowfall surely but I preferred the breathtaking sight which the snow- covered peaks provide when one is watching them from the valley. This has a deep beauty and allows one to watch it with a calmness and maturity which leads to philosophical and poetic thoughts. It is still one of my favourite sights in the world.
When the snow is falling, there is a lot of excitement around us and everything seems to be in a flurry. The occasion does not let us stand back and collect our thoughts. One becomes like a child and lets oneself go along with the wildness of the moment. However, when one recollects such experiences, they give a joy that is unmatched. As a kid, I enjoyed many a snowfall in Mussoorie . Uncles, aunts and cousins would come from Delhi and other cities for winter vacations and more often than not, we would all land up in the “Queen of Hills” expecting some snow to come our way. Some years, it was plenty while some years, it was scanty. When I think of those times, I suddenly realize that the towns of Dehra Dun and Mussoorie looked so very different from what they do now. They were clean, very less populated, unpolluted, with wide expanses of forests and open spaces. They gave a feeling of a divine, uncluttered and free space where people loved to simply exist!
When people came to visit these towns and asked what the tourist spots were which could be visited, Doonites specially did not have an answer good enough to satisfy them. Doon was never a place of tourist sites. There are some places one can see but on the whole, the valley has always been about lovely weather, greenery, forests, rainfall and a feeling of being in a special atmosphere. And looking at the snow from the rooftops of their homes is a special experience for Doonites .Just like looking at the lights of Mussoorie at night is! The deep connection between Doon and Mussoorie has been there forever. Ever since I can remember, the two have been incomplete without each other.
The hills with their silver- like snow shining in the bright sun ,the amazing lights of the hill station providing a row of heavenly jewels to watch from Doon, the imposing mountains calling all who love them, the beautiful route (Old Mussoorie Road) that one can take and reach the hill town in less than an hour, the cosy bazaars and cafes of Mussoorie , the unique views one gets on ones way from Doon to Mussoorie—all these have made the relationship between the two cities strong and eternal.
Even after all the changes that have come in after the towns suddenly had to grow up when we became residents of the new hill state ,there are things that have not changed a bit. We still have the snow (mercifully), we still have the divine views of the hills from our valley, the lights shine brightly on us from Mussoorie every night, the winding roads give us a sense of adventure and happiness, the cafes beckon us for their tea and pakoras , the tourists still have as much fun , the winters are still as intriguing as they always were . Those days have gone but there are many more days like that. Passing away, into the past. Just like the snow melts.
Saturday, 09 February 2019 | Jaskiran Chopra | Dehradun