New Worlds #1

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Over the years, as I traveled to different places, my list of ‘life experiences’ had some nice additions. The recent short winter trip made one more addition to the list.
We started our journey from Chandigarh on a foggy morning. I dozed off in a while, and woke up to find the view outside had changed to that of the valleys. The bus was moving on the serpentine roads along river Beas. Ten hours after the journey had started, we reached Manali. We put our bags in the hotel, and went out and roamed around the mall for the rest of the evening.
Next morning we started for Rohtang La, the mountain pass that connects Kullu valley to Lahoul- Spiti. My desire to ‘see, touch, and feel’ snow was satiated that day. Wherever the eyes went, it was a landscape all in white. At 13,000 feet above the sea level, it felt like I really was on top of the world. My first snow-mobile ride was accompanied by cold feet, numb hands and a bit of nausea. Altogether, it was unforgettable.
But who knew, there was more to come. When we came down to Manali, the weather had turned worse. The leisurely walk in the mall came to a halt with sudden rain. Immediate task: find the nearest place with food and shelter; destination: a nice Chinese restaurant. A table near the fireplace and my favorite food. I deeply regretted not having the camera with me, which was soon forgotten with the arrival of the tastiest momos I have had till date.
Rain had not stopped when we got out, so I decided to go to bed. Soon, I was woken up by Dad, who was asking me to come out and see the snowfall. It was almost an hour before I finally decided to go back to sleep. Next morning, Manali was enveloped in one foot of snow. The lush green view had changed to a stark white one. It was still snowing, so I decided to exploit the opportunity and enjoyed quite a lot.
For a ‘girl from the plains’; whose entire childhood was spent in a temperate area; and for whom the coldest of the winters were when you had to wear the sweater all day; the first-ever experience of snowfall was heavenly. As I left that place, I longed to go back, to take in all the essence, to witness the awe-inspiring magnificence of nature once more.

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