Since by now it’s quite clear that abrupt starts have a death grip on me, let me start headlong into the narrative of one fruitful and yet embarrassing night in the wilderness of the obscure valleys of Kasol. Now, Kasol should not be confused with its more famous cousin Kasauli. I warn of this in the very beginning as I made this mistake and landed in Kasol instead of Kasauli. But as it turned out, I was more than pleased with Kasol.
Kasol is one of the finest pieces of artistry that the supreme entity ever took time to give his precious attention to. Kasol is dotted with small winding rivers which are surrounded my leviathan mountains which in turn are freckled with lush greenery. Well beautiful and inviting as the place was, I did not think of turning back and making my way to Kasauli. Filled with the brashness of youth and the coldness of a light purse, I made my way through Kasol looking for a small lodge or even a room to stay in for a couple of days. I had made my bookings in a hotel at Kasauli but Kasol had me smitten with its wide range of mountains, rivers, and suspended looping bridges.
After walking for an hour and asking the locals for directions to the nearest lodgings, I finally found a small country cottage that was willing to take me in and provide shelter and food. The small cottage was situated right at the banks of a small rivulet and had a few tables and chairs by the banks of the rivulet. I settled down and took an afternoon siesta. Waking up all groggy and confused, I asked the landlord for a cup of tea. Believe me that was the best tea I ever had in my life; it had a bitter yet soothing flavor of mint added with the taste of fresh tea leaves. Reinvigorated, I decided that now was the time to indulge in my favorite part of the journey; walk alone for hours in any-which direction I felt like. Little did I know what I was going to land myself into that night!
I had been walking for an hour and was mesmerized with the ethereal beauty of this place. There were mountains and greenery and rivers everywhere you looked. The suspended bridges scared me and I literally baulked at the idea of trying to cross one. But once you walk for a few meters, you learn how to balance yourself on the bridge and then it actually is fun! I was surprised by the number of foreigners roaming around d the place looking completely at home. From their flashy clothing and their long dreadlocks, it did not take long to figure out that these were the quintessential hippies that I had heard and read so much about.
Kasol has these little cafes that come into view every now and then. I was a little hungry from all the walking, so I decided to crash in one of the cafes. If you go to Kasol, you have to try one of the snacks that these cafes offer. I ordered a plate of chicken chowmein (you can get veg too!) and was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the food. Something as simple as chowmein tasted so good! There was a hippie couple sitting across the next table. By the way, I forgot to mention that the café was situated right next to a river and the scenery was like right out of one of the paintings of M.F. Hussain. So as it happened, the hippie couple and I started to talk and I was invited to their lodgings for a couple of drinks. I was wary, yet the temptation of scotch got the better of me and I happily waddled along.
It was around midnight, after 5 hours of marathon chatting, singing, dancing, and drinking, that I thought of leaving. I had the address written down in my mobile; it was not far. I took leave of the gracious couple and started walking towards my abode. The cold night air was like a cleansing spirit.Well, I was walking down the road when I saw Jacques standing right beside me and grinning. Oh yes, Jacques was the lesser half of the hippie couple and Claire was his better half. I tried to picture how the hell he caught up with me without me noticing. Saddled with a brain slowed down by the effects of scotch, it took me five seconds before I was struck with the dawning realization; I took off faster than a horse struck by a whip. I could not even scream, the fear of spending an evening with two apparitions had parched out my throat. I reached my hotel and bolted my doors and did not sleep.
Half an hour later, someone knocked and yelled “You stuttering idiot! You forgot your wallet at my place”.