Walks in the forest

My trip to Pauri last week was really lovely. Spending a week in a himalayan setting was a dream come true for a city person like me. Though, it was hot (not by kanpur standards) during the day, it was lovely. The cool mountain air was refreshing. We went for quite a few walks in the forests adjoining the campus where we were staying. The forests were full of pine and himalayan oak trees. Sadly, there was not a single old pine or oak tree on the campus. This, of course, is a disturbing trend of our times, wherein we replace the trees by ugly buildings.

While walking through the forest, at first one is very careful of one’s step. The only sounds in the forests close to the campus were those of the swaying of the trees in the wind. it was at once eerie and at once comforting. This made me realise the power of silence. There were no cluttering thoughts in my head and there was such peace and such joy to be in sync with mother nature.

On one occassion we walked across the forest to the neighbouring village. There we had tea at the local tea shops- the “pahadis” drink terrible tea – it is frightfully sweet and feels like sugar syrup and so we had to constantly tell them to reduce the sugar. They are very warm people and also very helpful. During our entire stay there, our rooms were never locked and we didn’t lose a thing. Again, another strange experience.

The art of water conservation and usage of the pahadis is rather interesting. In these parts the roots of the oak trees hold the water and in a number of places the water spurts out as springs. The locals then attach a small pipe to the opening and connect it to there house. Rocks are placed along the way to act as filters and the water that comes at home is crystal clear and tastes sweet also. Now, with increased deforestation, the water sources are depleting. The pauri district is one of the driest in the region.


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