Slithering between nature’s beautifully sculpted mountains on coffee-colored plateaus. The afternoon hot air was followed. Each rock was like artist’s private property who had chiseled imagination into a masterpiece. After a steady ascent for about 40 minutes, a group of wide-eyed and supremely excited fellas welcomed us with open arms. The mountain monkeys.
“Homely Hotel”, “Luxury Hotel”, “Peaceful Hotel”. These guys advertised their differentiation bang on. I was looking for one that said “Mount Abu Hotel” but none had that USP, so I settled for luxury presuming peace would come free. Maybe English was the problem. Why else would there be a restaurant with a footwear shop board or even a library welcome post over an abandoned plot. Shooting point became sitting point and sightseeing became sight seen. Maybe they were just thinking ahead.
A charismatic albeit antiquated hill station, Mount Abu was crowded, colourful and chilly. Amongst the loud cacophony of bazaar noises, I immersed myself in everything the streets had to offer. Fruits were sold by the dish, handsome horses were parked next to the parks, and yard carts, advertised as Mercedes, were available for a ride. And even those gave right of way to the cows.
It’s only when you reach your start point back within an hour that you realize just how small the world can be.
The waiting line for our dinner was like waiting for the lottery announcement. If you were the chosen one, those gestures of achievement were priceless to witness: fist air-hammering, voices shrieking, and the most legendary of all, a victorious “YESSS” of the person whose name was called. Food makes people go crazy.
Every now and then, there’d be folks in obscure, lush corners of the town inhaling nature in its purest form and pretend as if meditating when we’d pass by. Maybe that’s why there were no signs of “Beware of pickpockets”. These guys already had their hands full.
But damn, were the people nice! Maybe because they were always high…geographically. I mean the hotel manager apologized for something that wasn’t his fault, a store owner chased us down the street because I paid and forgot to take my shoes, and a tea guy who didn’t have change for 500 put it on the house. I mean if weed does that to people, then screw education, India should make way for cannabis FDI.
And while leaving the mount, I swear I saw a monkey wave back at me. I think the monkey was high.
Because that’s the only explanation.