Travel: Day 3


08/07/2013 by Siddiqui Fayesal

We found out that our henna dyed, moustachioed driver planned on financing his year long henna supply through us itself. The prices he had quoted yesterday for the sightseeing was around 2 times the regular fares. It was just another instance of my dad believing a smooth tongued rascal.

My mother is sharp in these cases!

We hired another guy for it and gave the fleecing asshole a boot. Now, before you judge me, one thing about these mountain trips is that there is nothing new as such from the point of view of superficial sights. It’s the same mountain, the same river, the same geographic formations. It’s just tweaked and seen from another angle. So there are people who say that there is nothing new, and they’ve made a business, which it is, out of this sightseeing thingy. They aren’t wrong exactly. It’s just a matter of perspective. We were shown Nainital Lake, which lay at the doorstep of our hotel, from two different “points” where it looked like a Mango and an Eye respectively!

This is how they sell it. The "Mango" shaped lake, which is the same Nanital lake, but, with a difference!

This is how they sell it. The “Mango” shaped lake, which is the same Nainital lake, but, with a difference!

It’s the same lake mind you. I told dad that the ideal way to me of travelling is to drink in the sights. Not “points” but the local flavour. But, then these trips require more time. I’d walk the market, not to buy but just to observe. I’d eat at shacks instead of ordering from the hotel kitchen. I’d stay glued to the gallery of my hotel and the sights of every craggy twist and climbs and arches of the mountains would make me the poet I dream of in a day!

I’d write a damn sonnet a day.

See what I mean about Sonnets?

See what I mean about Sonnets? That’s my mother and sister in the foreground, by the way!

Anyway, there were some real interesting historical/mythological significance to those lakes we went to. They were called thus: Bheem Tal, Naukutchia Tal, Khurpatal, Saat Tal, Garud Tal etc.

Naukutchia Tal is so named because it has 9 corners. “Nav”, in Indian means 9. Khurpatal had an interesting story too. “Khur” is the Indian translation of a bovine’s hoof. So. you go it, it’s shaped like a hoof, and it is said that the depth hasn’t been ascertained yet. Hence, “pataal”, which means The Underworld in Indian. It is closed to tourists, and locals as it’s under the Military for some reason. “Garud” is a sort of Falcon, I think, and I don’t quite remember why it was called so. Sigh, looks like I wasn’t listening!

Khurpataal. The hoof shaped lake which goes down all the way to Hell!

Khurpataal. The hoof shaped lake which goes down all the way to the Underworld!

All these tit-bits were given out by the locals that we met and our guide-cum driver. I haven’t googled any of these yet.

It’s interesting to know about Nainital itself. I hadn’t the slightest notion why it was called so. This was where I read about it first.
Our sightseeing came to an end but not before we were almost fleeced once more. This is the place I was talking about. There are innumerable online forums that talk about it. I was surprised that they’re still continuing with this crap after so many years. Without sounding like a pompous fart I’d say that my mom would’ve fallen for it if I wasn’t around. I had the sense to google their grand scheme while he was busy showing my mother Kashmiri shawls and what not. The morbid sense of humour that I possess, experiencing this grand scheme first hand lightened my mood incredibly and we reached base tired but satisfied.

Elaborate candles, like these, are very easily available in the Nainital Market.

Elaborate candles, like these, are very easily available in the Nainital Market.

The remainder was again spent scouring the market. One cannot prevent this from happening if one’s travelling with mothers and sisters who have decided to take responsibility of every living relative.

Siddiqui F.

PS: I want t thank a couple of people who do the favour of reading through my posts and telling me where I go wrong. This post had a couple of technical errors which I have corrected thanks to them.

Garud is NOT a vulture. It is a falcon.
Pataal is NOT Hell. It is the Underworld.


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