As scores of multi colored prayer flags fluttered in the wind, welcoming us in their calming embrace, we drove into a teeny tiny town named Khalstee, enroute to Leh. The last few hours of the ride had been bone achingly painful and we were grateful for the respite from jostling in the back seat of our four-wheel drive.
Khalstee seemed more of a village than a town, we rolled into the market square where a multitude of hawkers were squatting on the floor with their colourful produce burgeoning from cane baskets – luscious sunset orange apricots, juicy red-cheeked apples, succulent green leafy veggies, turnips, beets, and many more that were new to me.
Our driver suggested a break for lunch and we eagerly fell into his suggestion, especially as both of us had bladders straining to burst. Our pre-condition for a lunch space was a clean loo. We espied some foreigners making a selection of veggies at the entry of an eatery and headed that ways. The owner looked up at us and simply pointed to the loo without us even asking anything – guess the pain was writ large upon our faces 😉 And it felt blissful to use a clean loo without holding our breath.
We emerged more at peace and then started taking the oasis of a setting we were in. Large vegetable patches ringed with tall sunflowers and hollyhocks where tiny tits were chattering away gaily. A large orchard dominated the back-end of the space which abounded in apricot and apple laden boughs, where the sunbirds were creating quite a ruckus.
We loved the light filtering through the lush apple laden branches intertwined with apricot ones. Tiny little sparrows flitting amongst the fruits, twittering joyfully, added to the simple joy of the outside.
So the owner had converted the back yard of his house into a space where some table were set up, community style; each protected with a tarp overhead which we assumed was to protect the diners from the sun. How wrong were we!!
In the front portion, he had a shop from where he sold fresh produce which the patrons could make a selection from and order their dishes from. We loved the brilliance and uniqueness of this concept in a tiny village hamlet. Of course it meant only one table got served at one time. But then the time seems to have stopped in this little Zen in a glen and nobody minded the waiting.
While we waiting with a coke to get us started, we enjoyed being lulled into a calm state by the softly gurgling brook nearby, its soft strains broken by the buzz of the bumble bees which seems to crash-land with a loud thud on the tarp (now that explained it). A cute little kitten ambled by, hoping to get some scraps off the table but seeing ours devoid of food, the smart kitty slinked off to the next table. Talk about an opportunist!! 😉
We sat there unspeaking, totally absorbed in the peace exuding from this nook of the world and marvelled at the simplicity of life here. Neither one of us wanted to leave the place, if not for our driver who wanted to make good time and reach Leh.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust
What did you think of this little Zen?
Do you hurry on your travels or love the slow pace?
- The best way to travel to Leh is by road as one gears up for the acclimatization and also gets to see amazing vistas, as we discovered.
- Leh is approachable by road from Srinagar, Kashmir on one side and Manali, Hp on the other.
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by
Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts
John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing
J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner
My journey so far in the #AtoZChallenge
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