Friday, May 22, 2015

The magic of Mcleodgunj

The magic of Mcleodgunj
makes
time
stand
still-

for friends to share
what their children,
who will
be going to universities soon,
really hope to do
when they finish school-

over a wood fired Pizza
and
hot ginger, honey, lemon drinks
that taste so good
you can't stop mouthing
how delicious the food is
while splitting the last wedge
of pizza
into two.

But the cheesy strings
have been in the hot oven
together-
so they know
a thing or two about
loyalty.
They stick together
and hold on
against
the split.

One half of the divided wedge gets all the toppings
of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes
while the other looks
like a freshly cleansed face
with bits of blotchy make up still on.

Friendly fingers patch up the
unjust division
of haves
and have nots-
redistributing the bounty
and carry on
with
conversations
about
greying hair
and
stubborn belly fat.

Carpe Diem-
(Pluck the day.)
(Seize it.)
is the name of the cafe.

The magic of Macleodgunj
makes a frothy cappuccino taste like none other you've ever had
or
ever will.
And the walnut tarts... I salivate while I type.
Woeser Bakery-
'the name in Tibetan means
Golden Shine.'
informs Sangmu,
the lady who runs the show.
She does it coz she loves baking.

The dollop of chocolate
she serves with her pancakes
is worthy
of
being a poet's muse.

I lick the little pot clean
and shush my guilt to shut up
and stop pointing his finger
at
my belly fat.

My children are convinced that the food was laced
with Shiva's prasadam
OR
the hike had made me so famished
that anything I ate
would've tasted delicious.

But I smile the smile of the ONE who knows
and nod
for it is the magic of Mcleodgunj
that stretches a day into
an eternity
of
bliss
and
everywhere you look
there is a reason to say,
"Thank you God
for I can
breathe
see
hear
feel
and
taste
such
beauty."

Come with me and feel the magic of a place that I want to visit again 
despite 
the sleepless 10 hour bus ride. 

We stayed at the 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel where woman power was evident from the minute we checked in- efficient, warm and friendly. 
The breakfast was the crowning glory- wholewheat pancakes served with honey and yoghurt or fruit. When I enquired about the recipe, I was asked to step into their immaculate kitchen and the lady showed me all the measurements -Indian style- not with measuring cups or spoons but with ladles (karchhi ka andaza). She shared everything about the recipe even the consistency of the batter- the way it should be to get the softness.

This is the essence of the humans of Himachal. They share and smile and make you feel like family. I found this everywhere I went during my five days there.
(more about them will follow in my later posts)
Back to Mcllo..

I haven't tried the recipe yet, but do hope to soon.
The flour they use comes from a local stone grinding mill. 
Locally sourced fresh food always is and always will be the best tasting food.


After our audience with the Dalai Lama, we headed towards Woeser Bakery.

(photo credits: Aparna @ http://vistasindia.com)

 https://woeserbakery.wordpress.com



No contest- the BESTEST cappuccino EVER!




I met this gentleman- a honey seller just outside the bakery.
Lo and behold! his honey collections are made in Kalsi, Chorpudh (Vikasnagar) and Dehradun...
my childhood haunts.
It's a small world.
I couldn't taste the honey for he didn't have any spoons and I didn't want to carry any more weight on the trek.
Only when I sat down to write about this trip, did it occur to me that I could have nipped into the bakery and got one!
(hand smack on head moment!)

I did have a nice long chat and his shiny eyes smiled a lot:)







A short but steep walk from the main square leads one to Bhagsu Falls. 
Here are a few sights that caught my eye...

and ear...


This gentleman is Tamilian. I tried to use my five words' long Tamil vocabulary to communicate but we had to resort to sign language to say 'hello', 'how's it going?' and 'have a good day'.



Bhagsu Temple.
According to the priest,  the pool you see in the picture is fed by a natural spring running through the temple - under the lingam - throughout the year. 
At times like these, I wish I were a man- I could just take a dip and no one would bat an eyelid!


A painted pebble at the temple gate.





The lady who made all this possible. 



Sufi songs sung with love...he was awesome.








Sipping hot ginger, lemon and honey:)

 Listening to guitar strings...

watching the world go by




Let me say phir milenge (see you again) with this beautiful quote:

“Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.”





4 comments:

  1. Ah, Tibet...maybe some day I'll get there. Thank you for letting me see, hear, taste, smell, feel it through your words and pictures. Namaste

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow! loved the rather "intricate" pizza splitting experience that added to your magical experience in Mcleodgunj.... It is simply divine! and you can feel it in the air, the smiles of the people & the place.... Your spiritual experience reminds me of our retreat experience in Tepozatlan, Mexico.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ish. I'd love to hear more about Tepozaltan- even the name intrigues me.

      Delete

I would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts and comments here.