It has been snowing frequently in Mussoorie and other hill areas of the state this winter. And more rainfall and snow is being predicted for the month of March. This has happened after quite a few years . Tourists have had many opportunities to witness the snowfall in the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas this year. The landscape has been completely white and attractive. Winter has indeed been severe and continues being so. It has its pros and cons. People who are new to Doon valley and Mussoorie may be finding it some kind of an anomaly. But those like us who have grown up here know that such winters have been many in earlier decades.
My thoughts go back to my school days in the valley when the snow was abundant in the hills and sometimes, it began snowing as early as November followed by many spells up to March. Winter rain was heavy and incessant, sometimes disturbing the day to day activities .Holidays had to be declared in schools and colleges and people had a tough time reaching their places of work. Life was, however, so much more fun. The pace of living was much slower than what it is now and people had time to enjoy the small things of life. Things were enjoyed in a far purer way than they are now enjoyed. This is perhaps the age of ostentation and trying to be always one up on the other. We went to see the snowfall and cherished those moments. Sometimes we took pictures but mostly, one never thought much of capturing those moments of happiness. The happiness was captured in our hearts and still remains there. It was a nourishment for the soul and it did not matter whether others knew about it or not.
Those days of the valley were out of a beautiful picture book. I always recall those days of winter vacations when I used to sit in the lawn with a book. After reading a little, I would always look up at the sky and be mesmerised each time that I looked. It was so clearly, amazingly and deeply blue! No trace of anything to mar its ethereal beauty, its open vastness and mysterious depth. It was not turquoise, nor navy blue. It was more like sapphire. But it is surely not possible for me to find a word to describe that colour exactly. I can see it with my mind’s eye as vividly as I did then with my eyes. Azure is perhaps the word that comes close to describing those winter skies in Doon all those long years ago. I have seen it in my dreams many a time over the years. I never saw that colour of the sky in Delhi or anywhere else. Not even in Doon after those wonder years. Then there was the view of the hills which added to the magic of those winter days .The snow gleamed in the sun and appeared as a silver crown on the head of the mountain peaks which we kept staring at from the terrace .
We could never stop admiring the beauty of that view which was a familiar sight for all Doonites and still is. We cannot imagine living in a place where we see no hills when we look around. Our hearts miss the hills when we venture out of the valley to the plain areas. Our valley is ringed by the hills, the Himalayas as well as the Shivaliks. They make even a normal, mundane day look so promising and special. The skies in Doon have surely lost that heavenly depth and colour to some extent. The rain in winter is lesser now in some years. Things have changed as they will with the passage of time. However, the mountains have not changed. I recognise every peak of the view which has been part of my childhood and later years. They are like my friends and I often look up to them when I need strength and inspiration, when life becomes a little confusing and I begin losing focus. They provide me the focus and strength, the courage to face all storms. The azure skies and the gleaming snow-clad peaks have stayed with me since my early years. They will always be part of the landscape of my soul. I often look up to check whether that special blue shade of the sky has re-appeared or not!
Saturday, 02 March 2019 | Jaskiran Chopra | Dehradun