Hovering in the crib made by the Himalayan foothills to the north and the Shivalik range to the south, Dehradun is that a small valley where you can tell the period by looking at the flora in the your backyard.
this valley is what i call my hometown. For me it is a valley of dreams, a place which you can only dream of while living in metro cities. A place that is so deeply entrenched in me that I can walk its streets blindfolded.
With the weight of responsibility, stress and heaviness that comes with these protective 'adult costumes' that we have to wear it is sometimes sooo refreshing to take a trip to the past and hang out with our perhaps 8 year old selves enjoying winter, watching clouds and mountains, walking on the grass early morning and feeling the morning dew.
As i have grown older my memories of growing up in Dehradun have taken a fairy tale dimension. Every nook and cranny has memories be it the Malsi Deer Park, the amazing jhande ka mela or for that matter the ONGC hospital (I actually thought it was the only hospital in dehradun :P). Countless places, countless memories. My journey back to the past has been nostalgic, emotional and sad.
As a child I remember walking on winding roads lined with trees. On many mornings I would wake up to the incessant pitter patter of rain drops on the roof of my cosy house. While talking about the rains in Dehradun, it is impossible for me not to mention my countless failed attempts to sail a paper boat in the streams of water here and there.
Everyday I would be driven by dad to school all the while absorbing the lush greenery around, a gift brought by the monsoons. Everyday I would see mountains from my house and feel that they were just miles away. Every other hour I would see a helicopter flying past and wish that some day they would land in my garden and I would be able to travel in them. Playing with wooden logs and eating peanuts on the terrace was a part of my daily routine .The feeling of the warm rays of the sun in chilly winter afternoons will always be a distant dream for the children living in metro cities.
The best of all was the small garden that we had. I felt that our greenhouse had almost all the vegetables to feed our entire family for months without at a time. I still have fond memories of how my grandmother would listen to me and my sister reciting number tables when my mom went to work on Saturdays which I believe laid the foundation of my strong mental maths.
I recall the day the Janshatabdi Express was flagged off (thanks to the Indian Railways) and I believe we were the first passengers onboard. Waking up at 4 and going to railway station was nothing less than an adventure for me that too in chilly winters mornings enveloped by fog all around. Now living in an urban city I miss the small cinema halls in which I have the earliest memory of watching the hit Bollywood flick "Ajnabee"
I have these tiny snapshot memories from when I was young & life was way simpler.
The place has become the capital of Uttrakahnd and has been caught in the net of dirty politics. When I go to Dehradun nowadays, I realize that that the people, the places, the surroundings and the environment have been completely revolutionized but the basic essence of my hometown still remains the same .