So last month I visited my maternal village, a place never heard of, and a name that gives a weird smile on knowing it : Pokhri, Uttrakhand.
Funny name right? I used to wonder when I was young that is it really a place or some magical phrase “Pokhri” that makes you poke the other person without touching them, like what Facebook does today.
Anyway, I finally had a chance to visit this small little place which I hope I can find on GMaps by the end of writing this blog. The trip was a long one. From Nainital to the funny named village was a tiring journey of 15 hours straight drive, along with a few short puke-breaks because of two-three family members who have weak stomachs to hold the tummy fluids in place, including my mom!
However the journey included sceneric routes. On the way while climbing the mountains, there was nothing overhead but clear skies. And down below, if you had the guts to look, was a deep fast flowing Beas river whose sounds of gushes could be heard feet above! And on the banks of the river were naturally places boulders and rocks. Being inquisitive, me and my brother walked down the way towards the banks to feel the cold water and take a dip in the stream. My brother, dipped down once and came back up only to find that Beas carried away his specs along with the waters.
So we moved back up to the route again and continued the journey. Soon it started getting dark and we realised that the happy part was over. It started sinking in that this was not Delhi and there was no such thing as street lights! So high beams were turned on in the car while travelling on the bumpy roads that first made me hit my head on the top, then on the left and then toppling over in the front! Sure it sounds funny right now! But trust me, it’s no fun.
With time, it was complete darkness and only source of light at that “no-where” point was the car headlights.
A point came when I felt the need to relieve myself, so asked the driver to stop till my tanks were empty again.
Suddenly, I saw two bright lights peeping out of a bush about 5 feet away from me. The driver called out for me immediately. I did not understand what was it about that the guy can’t even let me finish my business at peace! When I reached the car, it was then that I realised that Bheem Singhji had saved my life! A huge tigress walked past the car, stared at us, and then ran off to the other side of the jungle!! So now I knew exactly where we were!! Right in the middle of a war! War of land acquisition! Humans vs wild life!
Terrified, everyone was up with wide eyes just to be careful! So I switched on some music on my laptop to lighten the mood and small kids took to the mobile phones to play Angry Birds Seasons.
After about an hour, there was a fork in the road. My dad and my uncle who were now accustomed to the darkness at just 7 in the evening got out to look for some direction boards. And I got down to take some photographs but the flash was not too effective in the grave darkness! Then I saw both men returning with a swift pace towards the car and asked me to get in the car! What happened now, I asked. My uncle told me, while reading the direction board, something was crawling on his shoes, so without paying attention, he just kicked it off aside the road. And as they turned to come back to the car, he realised what he had actually kicked aside was a Python!! A real live Python who would have gripped his legs if he hadn’t averted the mishap by literally kicking it away!!
My aunt got worried and broke down to tears after the two life threatening animals that night.
The good news was, we were 20 mins away from the grandma’s house where we had to stay!!
Hell of a night it was!
But now I wonder, had it not happened, there won’t have been any story to tell my friends!
Pokhri wasn’t that bad either!
Read the next blog about my stay at the village!