After hoping to be free from the boards since the very time they started, 1 pm on the 20th of March(my last exam) didn’t bring the amazing feeling of freedom or exhilaration I had been expecting. No wings sprouting out, no songs in the background………I guess when you’ve been doing something for a really long time, freedom from it doesn’t seem too great.
Well, that’s quite some time ago. More recently(& more excitingly) I turned 18 on the 5th of April 2009(drum roll please). Just the realization that I’m legally allowed to vote & drive a car & basically be called an adult now, is a satisfying feeling….. The fact that I don’t know how to drive or whom to vote for are secondary matters.
In the post-exam celebration, a holiday was the most important thing on my list(my parents’ list too actually). After changing plans at least 4 times, we ended up deciding on what was Plan A……Dharamsala & Palampur along with a few other places which would be on the way like Chintpurni, Jwalamukhi, Chamunda Devi Temple, Kangra Devi Temple, Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara & lastly one & a half days in the vibrant city of Amritsar. Yes……it was a really long trip. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Each temple & each gurudwara had such a charm of its own. Its not like we were on a holy pilgrimage, though it seems to be so from the long list of temples & gurudwaras we went to. It was more of experiencing the amazing feeling of contentment while visiting these sacred spots during the highly auspicious Navratra time. It really is something standing in a line with so many others you don’t know & listening to them chant “Jai Mata Di”(which basically means “Hail the Mother Goddess”). Apart from that, being in a hill station has always made me blissful…….I think I must have been a girl in the mountains sometime before this life. Oh gosh! I sound so philosophical!! I didn’t know I had it in me! :)
Himachal Pradesh is always a joy to be in. Once you get over the fear of the narrow mountain roads(thats the only thing to fear, if not the wild animals rumoured to give special appearances at certain places for our zoological education), you start loving the slow-paced, happy life there. I’ve always loved the tall, picturesque, mighty mountains. They are my idea of tall, dark & handsome. Punjab is a different story altogether. The road leading upto Amritsar from Pathankot, was an absolute nightmare, due to two main reasons. Firstly because the rain gods were a bit too happy at the time & had decided to drench the place with a slow, steady drizzle which refused to stop for ages & secondly a road which was suddenly barricaded without any prior indication, meaning we had to retrace our path & search for a point from where we could take another road. Disgruntled over the incessant rain, bad roads, & our inability to find our hotel, we reached the hotel(thankfully) with dampened spirits. But then our interaction with the manager washed away all our complaints. He not only helped us chalk out a plan for a simple little outing but also booked us a car to carry out the plan. Our driver bhaiya was also a happy soul who helped us see Amritsar in a way impossible without help from the locals. Lassi at the most famous dhaba in town, to buying phulkari embroidered cloth & having dinner at the most famous dhaba in Amritsar…….we did it all. Amritsar wooed me completely & needless to say, I succumbed!
It really was a great trip…….& very memorable, seeing that it marks the beginning of my adulthood(OMG! that sounds so pompous! Now I wish I didn’t have to be an adult!)