Our goal, when we visit Ranikhet, usually, is to just do nothing. Mostly we visit when there’s a Kumaon Regiment re-union or some other official event related to the Kumaon Regiment. But sometimes, we also visit because we decide we need a break from Delhi / Gurgaon / Noida. This visit is the “taking a break”.
Our attempts at “doing nothing” usually end up being centered around waking up early morning, grabbing breakfast at the “gazebo” and then figuring out whether we need to sleep some more. Day Two, we voted unanimously that we all needed more sleep. So we were back at the room after breakfast, all passed out in bellyful stupor.
After lunch and yet another nap, we decided to take a walk along our usual route and this turned out to be the highlight for the second day of Ranikhet!
People here are nice. I’ve heard from more than a few people who have settled here that their city-initiated short-tempers have all but gone away since they moved to Ranikhet. Random strangers will walk up to us during our walk, ask us who we are and then proceed to tell us who they are and what they do an the latest news from the town. For instance, during this walk, a man in his late 20’s walked up to my Dad and told us all about the lone leopard that had been stealing dogs, was last spotted five months ago, after which there was a small forest fire and the animal has not been seen since, which is why the local monkey population has also risen unchecked. Monkeys are quite a menace here.
The sky is mostly hazy due to the summers – in Winters, before 10 a.m., you can see snow-capped peaks in the distance. No such luck currently. Tree density is also quite low – my Mom makes that observation often. They had lived in Ranikhet in 1977-78-79 and have since noticed changes, most of which they don’t appreciate. Less availability of water, more people, more vehicles, more pollution, more monkeys, less trees, etc. During their tenure in the 70’s, there used to be just two motor cars in the entire town of Ranikhet and maybe a similar number of motor cycles, once of which, a Yezdi, belonged to my Dad. Things change!