‘What can we do here now? It’s already evening and Tugga has fallen asleep’ – It was that time of the evening when the light fades away quickly and if the activity of the town also slows down at the same speed as the fading light, then the evening is short lived and suddenly its night. We were in Pahalgam.
We reached Pahalgam around 4.30 in the evening. There are certain characteristics of hill stations and small towns around them which makes them look and feel same irrespective of the latitude and longitude. Be it Naini or Corbett National Park (where we went for our honeymoon), be it Engleberg where we fell in love once again (its not that we had fallen out of love) or be it Pahalgam.
After settling down in hotel, checking out the hot water supply (which is mandatory in any hill station), I went out to take a walk in the town. A small quaint town, which as the sun sets becomes more quiet, was wrapping up its day’s business. The Kashmiri Shawl stores, the local handicraft stores were all slowly shutting down. The weary horses after a days hard work were ploddingly heading towards their stable and refreshment. As the kids delay ending their play time, the moms worry and keep on calling out to them. The chit chat between friends in the ‘only saloon’ of the town is still the best form of entertainment. The locals, with the traditional overcoat and ‘Kangri’ (a personal heater) to keep them warm, were walking towards their village. A warm smile to an intriguing discussion of the political future of Kolkata also happens.
The evening Namaz happens at the local masjid and some fresh energetic young faces peep out with a curious look on to my camera, they are happy to see their picture on my LCD display and ask me where am I from? Is there one person in this town who doesn’t check where am I from? How many of them would have visited Kolkata ever? I wonder very less, but wherever I said that I am from Kolkata, they seemed to know a lot and connect instantly. Slowly as I take a walk back the bylanes which were noisy with little kids playing around, now have a deserted look with darkness filling in. It’s another day end in Pahalgam.
As a traveler, exploring the local culture and people is the biggest takeaway one can enjoy. While walking back to my hotel heard somewhere far away it was playing – Woh sham kuchh ajib thi, yeh sham bhi ajib hai..
Do you remember any such hilly small town evening which you have seen rolling on to night ? Share with me here will love to read your experence..