I had squeezed in two days for Mussoorie in the itinerary of my trip to Dehradun. The schedule in DDN was to be hectic and it was thought to have a relaxing 2d/1n spell at the queen of Uttarakhand hill stations. But the rains would not let it happen and I had to make a day trip mainly to Kempty and the ridge area of Mussoorie.
It was drizzling when we started from DDN and whole of ascend to the top was engulfed in mist. The cab boy was from mountainous area of Chamoli in Uttarakhand and a sensible driver. By the time we reached the top, the rain had stopped and Sun appeared but fog remained adding mystery and romance to my journey. I frequently stopped to click photos.
Kempty is a beautiful waterfall but what dampens spirits is crass commercialisation of the area. For nearly two kilometres of road finding a parking spot is difficult. Downhill side the commercial establishments are already crowding and now the uphill side is also being excavated perhaps to add more shops/shacks. Back to the ridge the same appears to be the case in the company garden area. A new concrete jungle is vying for space with the original forest. And given the greed of humans at large and us Indian in particular, it is a matter of time that the natural beauty would bow to our ugliness.
On our way back I got the news that there was a cloudburst in Chamoli district resulting in heavy flooding and loss of life and property. My driver being from that area was worried. I asked him to stop and contact his people back home. His cell phone was not connecting nor would mine (BSNL service is pathetic in the country). Continuing with our downhill journey we stopped by a roadside eatery for lunch. Some truck drivers were already there. One of them happened to be from the same village as my cab driver. They exchanged greetings and the trucker told this boy that their village was safe. And my cabby had a sigh of relief.
I became more curious when I spotted a swallow making repeated forays inside the building. There was a nest with four chicks sitting over it. These swallows build very good nests. They are second only to hornets in building their houses of mud. Clicking these little things was a joy.