Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Morning walks in Mashobra

Looking out from the fire escape of Gables, where we stayed.

A lot of people think of vacations as the time to sleep in as a way to counteract the daily routine of waking up early. I'm not one of them. The reason is that since I am a freelancer, I can wake up whenever I want to, so I don't have any pressure on me. Waking up early for me is a way to view the world differently, a way to gather my thoughts, a way to spend some quiet time.

I have been waking up early on all of my recent vacations, not entirely for a walk, but more to explore the surroundings, to take in the fresh air, and to get a better feel of the place. Our trip to Mashobra in June 2009 was no different. Even though we were watching the T20 Cricket World Cup matches late into the night, I was waking up early for a relaxed exploration of the area.

The bazaar road is hopelessly broken. Beware on puddles on rainy days!

Like so many other small towns in the hills, Mashobra is decaying. The old buildings in the bazaar are disappearing quickly and are being replaced by apartment blocks for weekend visitors. I'm not saying I'm against it, just that the style of most of these blocks is better suited to the plains and they look like misfits in the hills.

Lions at the gate of one of the private developments.

Even the most dilapidated of buildings looks nicer in the morning light, and that's a nicer way to see them, I feel. A gentler way that might make you imagine how they actually looked in better times. In Mashobra, there a just a handful of these buildings left in the bazaar, as most of the buildings being made now are boring concrete structures on stilts.

Looking down into the garden and orchard around a house in Mashobra.

There is only one road in Mashobra, that goes through the bazaar, so there really isn't much choice in where to walk. The road meanders through the bazaar, climbing towards the village's larger and best maintained homes.

I loved stopping at a different bench everyday on my way back, to stop and listen to the stillness, to try and remember the moment so that I could pull it out when I need it most, and to notice all the little things around me. Often I got to notice more than I wanted, like the guys from the military camp who stopped to pee on the roadside while on their morning jog. They sure were very surprised to see me!

One of my favorite spots on the walk. The wall is of the house that I like most of all in Mashobra and this shady stretch was always nice and cool on my way back.

Well, that's how life in India is, always surprising you, sometimes blindsiding you, but always a memorable experience.

More photos from my trip to Mashobra in June can be seen here.


Cuckoo said...

Nice post with wonderful, inspiring photos.

I have linked your post to BlogBharti ( It'll appear tomorrow morning.

Shalini said...

Thanks :-)

That's cool...I'll check in tomorrow!

Arya Kamath said...

Would love to go on a vacation here....

mindspace said...

Being awake at early mornings is an entirely different experience, even I prefer that and sometimes i go off to sleep later in the day to compensate for that :)

These pictures provide a completely calm and blissful view of the place.. I am assuming that u dont mind setting out for these walks even on your own which is what I think I should also start doing :P

Patricia Torres said...

wow!! Shalini I love reading your travel posts. Its truly inspiring.. Such detailed descriptions. I've not been to Mashobra.. But hope to go there someday... and sit on a different bench... wow!! loved that one!:-)

shilpa said...

such a lovely read!

on another note, you are inspiring me to go out for morning walks. the last time I diligently walked as when I was carrying Suhana. when she was delivered by C-section, I did not bother with walks the second time around!

I must, I must, I will!

Lakshmi -Celebrations said...

Nice description.A must visit on list.

Anonymous said...

lovely pics and a lovely post... you know even i cant sleep properly on vacation... the excitement just doesnt let me sleep... my wife is like its only 5.30 am !!!!!!!!!

go to hell alone !!!!(read walking)

but i just cant sleep early and cant stay in bed late... i make the most of vacations !!!!!!!!

you just reminded me again of last summers vacation...

Shalini said...

Arya, yes, it's a nice quiet place most of the year, perfect for a relaxed vacation.

Tara, I actually prefer to go for an early morning walk by myself since I need the quite time. I don't mind others accompanying me as long as they don't chatter too much :-)

Patrica, thanks...I try to find the interesting things to remember about a place. The benches are the little stone walls along the side of the road or covering the little drains. Always interesting!

shilpa, I was so regular with my morning walks till it got just too unbearably hot and muggy here. I need to get back to the routine as the weather improves.

Lol, I too must, I really must!

Lakshmi, thanks....glad you liked it!

Hw, yes, exactly, I don't want to waste a minute of my vacation.

charu said...

nice post, Shalini - early mornings are the best time to go out ad explore - you get to catch the feel of the place before it puts on its work clothes :)

Leelawadee said...

I absolutely agreed with you Shalini. I think during the hoidays, we explored the things around us than relax and rest :)

Lovely reading your this article .
Have a great weekend.

P.S I have my blog too but stopped writing for a long long time LOL (no time to handle both Flickr and Blog :) )

Shalini said...

charu, thank you! I love how you described it "as putting on its work clothes". That's a beautiful analogy.

Aor, thanks...yes, it's important to find a way to be refreshed while you're on vacation. And different things work for different people.

Lol, yes, sometimes it gets too much for me too!