The debacle we confronted last time taught my friend and me to make sure that we keep our debit and credit cards in place for our current sojourn. As winter was approaching the mountains, at the beginning of November, we planned for a short trip of three days to Mussoorie, famously known as the 'Queen of the Hills'. The place derives its name from the word Masur or Masuriya, a shrub fast disappearing from the landscape due to the encroachment of the human species in every nook and corner of nature's pristine beauty.
The main purpose of this trip was to harvest some mental peace and quietude, away from our grinding routine life. We boarded the train from Old Delhi for Dehradun at night. The train pulled off the station on time and reached its destination the morning after. We hired a cab for Mussoorie. The journey in the four-wheeler was no less than a treat. The verdant mountains on one side and deep valleys on the other make for a memorable trip in itself. As we were approaching our resort, the solemn dark leaves of Deodar and Pine welcomed us in full mirth alongside Fir and Oak. The cobbled path leading to the reception desk, bordered by Orchids, Petunia, and Poppies seemed to narrate sweet little tales of their own.
Two of us went to the receptionist who greeted us with a warm smile- a young boy in his early twenties, handsomely dressed with spikey hair and amicable countenance. He was overtly courteous in his behavior as he thought of showing some chivalry(my thought) when approached by two naive ladies(maybe he thought so).
"The porter will show your room and here are the keys to your cottage," he handed the keys to me "and if you face any inconvenience please feel free to share with us," he bloated with a sense of pride.
"We have booked for two days' meditation classes arranged at your resort. Can you please tell us the timings?" I implored in a rather haughty note
"Well...take this leaflet. Everything is written here, ma'am," he said humbly, quick enough to understand my dislike for him.
As we went to our cottage, my friend made a call at her home to enquire if her husband was taking meals on time. I somehow overheard their conversation since the range of her voice gave me no other option.
Later she complained to me, "He is saying it's not even twenty-four hours and I have started my interrogation. Is this the way he should talk to me?"
I was in a quandary since my views matched with her husband's. But still, I nodded in acquiescence. The perils of friendship!
After having lunch we went for the ropeway ride to the Gunhill point to manage a better view of the mountains and surrounding areas. A number of colorful shops and restaurants adorned the place, selling a motley of colorful items, enticing to the eyes. We bought a few titbits and then went back to our cottage. We had to wake up early the next morning. The meditation class was starting at 6 am. It was boldly written on the leaflet that mobile phones should not be brought to the venue.
The next morning we went for the meditation, leaving our mobiles back in the room. My friend was in a pesky mood, quite bothered about not being able to take a selfie with the spiritual master.
We took our respective places on the rug stretched across the floor. The master entered the room with an air of dignity, though he appeared quite ordinary to us. He started the class with a small prayer. We all folded our palms with utmost reverence followed by several rounds of deep breathing. As all of us were focusing on our breath, a phone rang. And it kept ringing as we glanced around the room for that coveted object. And then did it come out of the bearer's pocket. The master passed a disconcerting look towards us as he silenced his mobile. But the caller was adamant enough and it rang again. He quickly left the room to attend to the call. Everyone looked at each other in utter dismay. After some time, a boy appeared in the room with the message that the class had been postponed for the evening.
We all went outside in a thoroughly dejected mood. On being coerced by my friend, the young messenger told us: "Sir has gone home. He had a fight with his wife."
"As elusive as peace is
hard to seek without
within lies all the secret
the road to a blissful core
a state of absolute joy"
By Nandini Sengupta