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Archive for April 2nd, 2010

Dehra Dun Days

 

For some unknown reason, while driving to work today, I was reminded of Dehra Dun?

I guess it was because of this song I was humming……ever heard it before, this “Tumhe chhede hawa chanchal…” from a movie called Salami?

If you haven’t , here it is :-

Please ignore the video, or at least try to ignore the bad acting and awful clothes.

But do check out the red cap that the heroine wears at one point. Totally digging the way it balances  precariously over her hair. Awesome acrobatic hat, that!!

Anyhow, the song is very pleasant (along with the rest of them from this movie). It was shot in IMA, Dehra Dun and the one reason I’m going on about is that, IMA shared its boundary, for a considerable distance, with Kendriya Vidyala New Forest or, KV FRI as it was popularly known.

Thats my school, from the inside (image courtesy : google Images)

 

Forest Reasearch Institute (FRI)....the most majestically sprawling structure I've ever seen!!

Passing out Parade at IMA

The movie ran to packed houses in DDun, for a simple reason that, who bothers to shoot films in sleepy remote towns like that? So we watched the film with bated breath, trying to locate instances when our school would come into view. Mind-blowing suspense!! But sadly, the only thing we could see was the school gate, towards the far right of the screen when the camera focusses  on the IMA entrance gate. It filled us with pride, that school gate 🙂 .

(On a totally different note, we used to stay in the cantonment area and the first year I was there, we used to cycle to school, a total of 8km of uphill route . Amazing stamina we had. Not to mention, an awfully thin frame 😀 )

Back to the movie, the song was shot in Mussoorie and you can see how beautiful it is!! In fact, the whole of Doon Valley is one beautiful place. At any location in Dehradun, you just have to turn your head and you can see the busy town of Mussoorie standing majestic on the first of the Shivalik Ranges. From Rajput Road, Mussoorie was a distance of mere 30 km. It was a weekend ritual in many homes , to drop in to Mussoorie for the weekend. We had a school picnic there once and it was wonderful. I LOVE sleepy hill-towns (I’m so much a hill person….give me a nice hillock and I’m ready to rear cattle, chop wood and grow my own produce. Bliss!)

And if you ever go up the Gun Hill on Mussoorie and peer down, you can see a lovely green town at the foot-hills, which is DDun, and then miles and miles of plains stretching as far as the eyes can see. Turn yourself 180 degrees and you can see the Shivaliks extending into the Himalayas. A sight for sore eyes…… 🙂

Road to Mussoorie (Image courtesy: Google Images)

 

View from Gun hill (Image courtesy : Google Images)

 Look closely and you can see the Shivaliks rising on the left-top of the image. And the top-right shows the plains extending outwards. This is a left side view if you look down from the Gun Hill towards DDun. Breath-taking , isn’t it 🙂

Another thing DDun is famous for, is the Doon School. A Large green complex with high walls, safely segregating the elite students who studied there from the common public outside. Doon School was bang opposite Dad’s office, and around Term-end time, we could the road on both sides covered with cars of models which we hadn’t ever heard of. Mercedes Benz, if I remember correctly, was the cheapest car in that collection.

Yup, elite, they were. Stinking rich, we used to call them then.

If only they had a better uniform. At least for sports. The shorts with one leg light blue and the other dark blue and the shirt with one side light blue and the other dark blue, so that the entire appearance was that of a 2×2 check box , didn’t really look attractive. Far from it!!

Anyhow, I digress.

I spent three most satisfying and heart-warming years in DDun. My friends from there are now spread far and wide acros the globe. Am sure they all miss that place too. People who still go back to DDun say that it has lost its charm post becoming a Capital (of Uttarakhand). Hmm…you can’t win all battles, can you? I remember the days of the agitation well. Loads of young boys from colleges would gather around schools, weilding large sticks and threatening bodily harm to students if the Principal didn’t close down the schools ASAP! We LOVED those days. Never mind we had board exams round the corner. Unscheduled off from school is every student’s secret desire come true 🙂 . How we craved those days!! Some kids in school had elder siblings from these colleges and they used to ask the ‘bhaiyyas’ to come in and make sure the school shuts down!! Our Principal those days, had a very trying time. KVs, unlike local schools, come under the Central Goverment jurisdiction. Any decision regarding the school has to be taken at the Central level. Princi used to call up Delhi and ask for directions….and then there was a nail-biting wait ,where the babus up there took their time in figuring out what was to be done. Meanwhile, the Princi had to cajole the protestors to let go of the young kids (whom the protestors threatened to harm). Meanwhile, our teachers tried their best to cover the syllabus in whatever limited time they had in their hands.

Given youth and our careless ways, we didn’t realize the importance of those days. I remember a Mathematics teacher once confessing, that the people living in Upper UP, the Garhwal region to be precise, were a sadly neglected lot. The government didn’t provide them with roads, electricity and even primary education. The villagers were facing innumerable problems and the best solution to the problem was, creating a new state altogether.

Looking back now, I realize how badly we failed as a nation. Governance of the states didn’t really work out and we are now back to being the little clusters of populace that we were before Independence. How long before some outsider raids us once more? Divided , we already are!!

History does repeat itself, doesn’t it?

Anyhow, I went totally on a tangent there. Back to DDun once more.

The valley and the foothills of Mussoorie are a treasure trove of flora and fauna. and some really lovely picnic spots. Heck, just park your vehicle on the road side and you have picnic spots on both side of the road. It is that beautiful!!

If you ever get a chance to go that side, do take out time to see Kempty falls and Sahastradhara.

Ice-cold water in Kempty Falls (Image courtesy : Google Images)

Sulphur Springs at Sahastradhara (image courtesy : Google Images)

 

The Kempty Falls pool contains ice-cold water throughout the year. So even though the sun might be beating at your back, be prepared to come back with frozen toes once you dip your legs in there 🙂 . Sahastradhara is famous for sulphur springs, known to cure many ailments (I know not which. Kindly google it 😀 )

I sincerely wish I had my own  snaps to put up here. They are, alas, safely stored at mom’s place in B’lore. She refuses to part with them, even though she may not know whom they belong to or who the people in the snap are!!

Someday, when the kids are old enough and the BF is willing enough, we might take a trip to DDun. I want to relive those memories again. Go back to those old haunts which seemed so much a part of my life. Birpur, Aam Baug, Paltan Bazaar, Clement Town……they sound so distant now, so far away.

I want to reach out to them once more …….

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PS : Now that I’m on a nostalgia trip, do tune in to read the reminiscing on Bhatinda , Udhampur ,B’lore and Delhi…..Maybe sometime next week 🙂

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