2. A visit to a Village-Farm-House
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
2Trip End Jul 05, 2010
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It was indeed a great fun dodging media in our rendezvous to the village Selaqui, yesterday. Today is another day .. a new day … a cloudy, hot and sultry summer day. The air is calm and heavy with scent of the earth. The clouds may burst with monsoon showers any time.
For me it is the perfect day to be out, enjoy the drizzle, get soaked in it or be anywhere else in lonely alleys other than lazying under the humid fan-air.
However, today, I am expected in the solitude of wilderness 25 km away
Dehradun, the capital town, has lost innocense of past. Once a beautiful small town with green hedges and big gated bungalows standing on over an acre of land with lichi orchard in the surround is now passe, it is now replaced with and transformed into a bazaar-town like many others in the country, robbing it of its precious golden silence and clean invironment. Greenery within the city confines, mostly of famous Dehradun lichi orchards, is on the wane. Concrete jungle continues to grow and prosper with ever increaging speed. Roads are now jam packed with traffic. Increasing congustion of built-up areas to meet demand of the ever rising population and resultant noise and air polution has robbed the city of its pristine beauty and erstwhile variety of bird population, which used to chirp in the backyards and shrubbery.
I miss the old sleepy Dehradun town -- which was like a big village town and miss its genteel gentry of gray heads and youths strolling in the evening on the Rajpur road
I always look forward to such opportunities anytime anywhere.
It is a small village where I will be tonight and get an opportunity to spend quite some time of quiet, joy and happiness.
Driving through evening crazy-rush-hour city-traffic, past Military Academy, Prem Nagar, we are at Nanda-ki-chawki on the main crowded Chakrata road, about 15 km from Dehradun. This is a forest-check-post to check legality of the forest produce passing through the check barrier. From here we take a right turn and enter into dense forest of young—sal—pole--crop
In the approaching dusk hour, during summer months, large number of village cattle can be seen returning home leaving cloud of dust behind them, followed by group of traditionally attired village-women with headload of fuelwood to cook their evening meals and fodder to feed animals. It is also time for wild denizens to visit water holes before retiring into deep jungle. Wild animals can be seen, at times, crossing the road when it’s all quiet at twilight.
The drive looks lively and delightful today with the presence of large number of vehicles on way. The usually quiet road is humming with large number of vehicles of all descriptions - cars, scooters, motorbikes…swishing past in abundance
This lonely nondescript farm is in Lower Kandolia Village, 25 km from Dehradun in Pachhawa Doon which they now call Vishranti Resort. It is spread over few acres of land on rolling grounds in the surround of idyllic charm, in the middle of the sal forest. It is far from the madding crowd, is remote yet not very far off from the town; a fascinating wilderness, nature lovers delight to be in tune with song of the nature.
Here I am once again, after a long time.
The kerb of sharp U-turn of the narrow road, one km short of the farm, is jam-packed with large crowd of locals, media personnel and cameramen, pushing their way to move on but are restrained by posse of policemen.
The farm has neither seen the assembly of such a large crowd hanging around until late night nor the tight security bandobust outside its premises ever before
There is no media hassle today because they are now in know of the coming events of the impending marriage. They have ended their chase, but have stationed themselves at vintage locations faraway from the venue and reporting imaginative goings on live in TV as they are barred from entering the venue uninvited. They are sore and disappointed and yet alive as soon as vehicles carrying guests pass by, craning their necks high and peek, to see people inside and shoot their cameras.
We too received such a welcome from the media … but, Lo! We the late comers, too are detained and questioned by the security personnel. Wedding invitation cards were not there, but we had a password which we invoked and were gratefully allowed entry.
The farmhouse, now named Vishranti Resort is a sprawling old bungalow sopped in the scent of the bygone days, contains interesting antique furniture, rustic sundry items and collection of lovely old porcelain ceramics
Tonight resort looks beautiful. The wedding ceremony arena in the open is simply but elegantly decorated. The surrounding green bushes illuminated with soft lights are vying for attention. The dark night is softly lit up with heavenly stars peeping through partially open sky above and with dim electric light twinkling like glow worms in the bushes. The quaint resort is indeed transformed into a dreamland where Sakshi is poised to wed the cricket icon Dhoni.
Flower decked gate welcomes the marriage party. The groom riding a ceremonial horse adorned for the occasion accompanied by marriage party enter into wedding arena with flourish and fanfare but without a band-baja through green matted, flower decorated passage to the samiana where they are received by the bride's parents and close family members at tastefully decorated dais under the samiana, vibrant under the spell of soft instrumental music.
It is a beautiful enthralling panorama of the night, in its silent elegance and serene ambience far removed from the din of noisy crowd or shrill sound of trumpets or resounding drums or glaring lights in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion.
Amidst whispering caresses of the silence and aromatic zephyr of the woods the graceful wedding ceremony goes on as time rolls by lazily.
It is an rare occasion to be out in such an untamed splendour of the night in the middle of the forest, where if one were left alone would be hallucinating ghosts all round him
The Vedic-ritual of the wedding celebrations are now finally over. Every one is set to leave for home after blessing the couple.
It is all quiet now, only to be broken at times by the rustling of leaves or falling of twigs. Only couple of hours remain for dawn to break. In the dim pre-dawn light, as soft easterly breeze flows past, it is time now for the angels to descend to bless the couple.
It has been a long beautiful night ....
The memory lingers on ...