Last week in Landour we experienced forest fires not far from where we were living and learning. There was a day and night of smoke, haze and burning pine. The smoke got into our classroom, our hair and clothes and generally hung in the air till the wind took it away.
(The haze and smoke don’t quite show up on these photos!)
Apart from the forest fires, it has been a thoroughly rewarding week in Landour, learning Urdu with Farid as my co student. I am happy to report that we are neck and neck! The grey matter is definitely working! The four classes daily are exhausting but a lot of fun.
By the middle of last week our fabulous teacher Mr. Habib Ahmad, took away most of the notations that we had spent laborious hours, memorising and perfecting the week before. The language is now all about approximations (and a bit of guesswork actually!). Out the window went many “nukhtaas”, “zer”, “zabar”. We are conjoining letters to form words and then find it difficult to decipher our own handwriting! All in all a lot of fun!
Last week we made a couple of forays into the main bazaar in Mussourie. What a fright! Landour seems like a different planet although the two are contiguous. Mussourie’s Old Clock Tower has been rebuilt. The monstrosity that has replaced it brought tears!
(Hideous saffron mosaic tiles, designed and built with complete disregard for aesthetics or any sensibility!)
Some evenings finishing school at 5pm we walk into town to eat dinner at a restaurant just to vary our basic fare cooked by the chowkidar’s wife. One evening we ate at Rice Bowl. It serves mostly Tibetan food. The vegetarian Thukpa that I ordered was delicious. The quantity was just right and the vegetables were fresh and plentiful. Another similar restaurant is Doma’s Inn which is in Landour.
The walks around the chhota and badha chakkars are pretty much routine now, as is the lemon tea for me and bun omlette for Farid at Tiptop Tea shop at Chaar Dukaan. We have even opened an account with the owner since we are being treated as long term guests on the hillside.
(The hillside is dotted with daisies)