As a family, that was our 1st train journey. Tan was just 1 & half years old. Both Sathya & she were super excited. It was Bangalore – Coimbatore express. We alighted in salem & took a bus to reach Yercaud. But we reached the town in the middle of the cold night & there was no transport to take us onward to our resort. We spent the night in a hotel called “Hotel Select”. When we woke up in the morning, we were on top of this beautiful hillock.
Hotel industry sells off rooms with the amusing tags: sea-view, hill-view, ocean-view, pool-view, sunset-view. Such rooms are priced differently. Ours was a hill-view room with a small kitchen. We used to open our eyes to the rise of the sun right outside our window over the top of the tree-lined hills and the deep valley below. The hills surrounding us from all sides & the village at the foot of the valley were breathtaking. At night, while the town went to bed by 7 p. m (or so it seemed), the stars came out in millions to light up the sky.
In the evenings, we used to walk a mile or two from the resort, Tan perched happily on Sathya’s shoulders calling out to the other monkeys & the stray dogs. We took an instant liking to the peaceful, deserted place, interrupted only by the constant chirping of birds & busy squirrels scurrying past. Yercaud is called the poor man’s Ooty. It has the regular tourist traps: the waterfalls, the Dolphin nose, the botanical garden, the caves, the plantations & so on. But I feel the real beauty of the place lies in its unobtrusiveness. You feel free to explore the place on your own, away from prying eyes & you sure want to make the most of it. I remember, Tan & I, sleeping on the road with brightly colored, wild flowers behind our ears posing for the camera. Yercaud is extra special to me because that was the 1st time ever father – daughter bonded. He finally spent time with his child; talking, playing & completely being with her. I’ve fond memories of that. Places become dear to our hearts not because of their ‘tourist value’ but because the place evokes some great times spent with family or friends. That’s why sometimes the most mundane of places can suddenly seem like the best place on earth. Simply because you had someone you loved to share that with.
(That must also be why GOA remains the most frequented & the most cherished place in India.
Friends + Goa * holiday = Unforgettable moments # A BLAST)