In our Idle Town ; Shimla
Sitting out at night, surrounded by trees, looking at the hills with lights that look more like stars
and wondering how this town is perfect. The empty road below, where a car would show up from time to time, disrupting the silent nature of the surroundings. My lucidity increased. My brain wandered the silent roads of this town. This small town, the roads smell of freshness, people covered in thick jackets, walking through the “ chai dhabas “ I wonder what to call this town, one word of this majestic land.
This town paints a different image of itself in the minds of different people. Many people who read books have an image of Shimla as a quiet spooky town which is home to horror stories. For the wandering minds of the traveller people, it is a getaway from reality, a utopia and escape from the busy happenings of the day to day world. Little do they know it is far different from all those things.
You can't describe a place until and unless you know what it was and what it is becoming
What it was- A place where everything was calm, peaceful and pleasant. It was called the
summer capital of India by the British. Known for its Victorian architecture. The queen of hills.
Shimla was the first attraction known by the British in 1815. ''Isn't it strange to dine in silk
stockings in such a place, to drink a bottle of Rhine wine and another of champagne every
evening,'' the French naturalist, Victor Jacquemont said after visiting Shimla in 1831.
What it has become- An escape. For those in the busy towns, people who want to restructure
their life and find the long lost peace. Though the prestigious catholic schools and the heritage
buildings still stand, there are many changes, this town is a dream, the closest one can get to eternal peace.
Every walk I go, there is always that mist, you can feel it even through layers of woollens.
The silent atmosphere, the empty roads and the hazy mist encircling the sun, allow one to be at peace. The railings that have morning dew on it. The tall trees with a gushing sound and the nightingale chirping. The houses from afar look like dollhouses. The green valley and the panoramic sceneries which seem far from surreal due to the silence. The heritage buildings give a warm endowment. The sky especially during the sunrise and sunsets are divine. The night sky is an empyrean that seems to be filled with celestial bodies. Places like Clarke’s hotel, Cecil, wildflower hall are some of the places which take you back in time, to the British era.
The summer is very pleasant, nor too hot, nor too cold. The monsoons give you a mystical vibe,
where you enjoy having the food to eat by the window, the autumn does not specifically have a
feeling to it but the leaves all around and the pollen in the air has you sneezing and is quite a
fun time, and the winters for me are the best. The snow is picturesque. Wearing warms clothes
and going for ice skating is an amazing time for the kids. Midnight carols being sung in the
church, building snowmen and snowball fights. One of the best times of the year.
The people – they have hard-working lives, “simple” is the word I would use to describe the uncomplicated and merry lives of the people of the town. They have a very friendly environment all around. Unbothered by the troubles of the world, happy in what they have. The people enjoy their lives. My thoughts then wander to what this place means to me. “Eden” A name given to the town by many. Nirvana to many, but to me, this town means more than that.
This place is home, this is where I grew up, where I learnt several life lessons, here I
was taught everything I know. This town possesses great beauty and this beauty is not just that of itself but the people within it.
The different events, the people and the places are the things that this town possesses. This
a town without all of those things is idle.
It is a quiet place, with its beauty, with the tall trees, the snow and all that are living in it. The town is what it is today because of the people it has seen. All the lights and beauty you see in this town are those of the twinkling eyes of the people living in it. So every night that I look up to the sky, I feel myself in the air and call this my idle town.
- Gayatri Sud