For the love of the hills

For the love of the hills


I visited a new young friend in Ranikhet. She lives in a sunny cottage with these huge windows to let the Himalayan view into her bed and in front of her work station.

She lives with her 94 year old Grandfather, 86 year old Grandmother and 60-something parents.

In May, my young friend had arrived in Ranikhet to work and to get a whiff of independence away  from this family mentioned above.

In July, the rest of the family packed up their entire house in Gurgaon, rented out the premises, and moved to this hamlet. They figured that life could be lived in a quiet, clean hill town instead of a noisy, crowded city.

In October, on Diwali, I spent a companionable afternoon in their sunny home, surrounded by books and some sparse comfortable furniture. The doggies snoozed on their sofa, while we drank large mugs of tea and exchanged snippets of viewpoints.

Of how concerned relatives fret about medical facilities when they hear about the decision to move to the hills.

Of the serene joy which floods the body and soul, when one wakes up and just turns the head to see the mighty Himalayas etched in the sky.

Of the magic of clean air and simple living which brings a spring in the stride of the 50/60-somethings, and a clear glow on the face of the 80-somethings.

Of remembering the noise and chaos and high pitched energy of this festive season in the city….and one part of your heart missing the celebrations with family and folks, and a larger part of your heart content with an evening of the market mela, a few friends and a few lights at home and lots of lights and rockets in the valley below.

And today, on the day after Diwali, I need to share this lovely piece of verse with you. My new young friend read it out to me last afternoon, and I could only think of inserting “she” instead of the “he”…and it is just how I feel about the doggies, every day! That is why Peppu adorns the top of the page, and Biskit comes right here!




He puts his cheek against mine

And makes small, expressive sounds.

And when I’m awake, or awake enough


he turns upside down, his four paws

in the air

and his eyes dark and fervent.


“Tell me you love me,” he says


“Tell me again.”


Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over

he gets to ask.

I get to tell.


–Mary Oliver, from her new collection, DOG SONGS

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