The Adventures of Dhingu continued...
The day began auspiciously enough with a clear, crisp morning. Tuesday, the 10th of November 2009. Not a weekend, not a holiday, no festivals, nothing. I was expecting the Ramnagar bus to be empty. Especially since I was leaving at eleven in the morning. I walked the 300m down to the temple where the Marchula main road met the dirt road leading up to Camp. I began my 2km walk to Mohaan knowing that with my abysmal luck the bus would've probably left, but no, I heard a bus approaching. It was, indeed, the right bus, and it was, indeed, empty! Phew!
Safely deposited at Ramnagar (I saw a jackal on the way!), I now tried to find the right bus that would take me to Kaladhungi. Things would've been easier if the buses had signs saying where they were headed, but the local way to do it was to go to every bus and ask where it was headed. If it was headed the way you were headed, you were in luck. After a bit of asking around, I was directed to a green mini-bus that looked like it had seen better days a long, long time ago. Probably 1969. I hopped on board and bought myself a ticket to Kaladhungi, Jim Corbett's home for most of the year. Inside the bus were lots of local movie posters with names like, "Saali meri Seema" and "Teri Yaad Aayegi" and more such interesting names. Anyhow, back to important things; the seats were too small for me, and I had to sit with my feet sticking out into the passage area, causing everyone who crossed to trip over and send curses my way.
Kaladhungi arrived quickly enough (thankfully), and I changed buses for Nainital. The bus struggled up the ghats to Nainital, covering 60km in a little over 3 hours. Nainital revealed itself to be quite a nice and unhurried town-city if one discounted the tourists. I had lots of recommendations for awesome food in Nainital and headed straight to highly recommended Sakley's for some pastries. I ordered their eggless pastry which on that day was a vanilla-chocolate double-decker with chocolate cream and cardamom. It was quite okay, nothing to rave about, nothing to complain about. Perhaps it was their egg-full stuff that was worth raving about? Next, I walked the Mall road up and down and then up again and returned to Sakley's via Thandi sadak. It is quite thandi and a great place for birds (feathered and non-feathered, both kinds being very friendly). Saw my first Wallcreeper here!
So, another bit of info I had from friends was this particular place in Nainital where the weed was exceptional. Though not someone who indulged regularly, but being the man of fine taste that I was, I had to check this out to see if this was indeed true. I followed the directions I had been given and ended up in a dump of a provision store run by two dirty men. I had been instructed to ask for "maal", so I asked the one who seemed to be in charge, "maal hain, kya?" He nodded and beckoned me to follow which I was immediately uncomfortable with. I mean, who acts so suspicious selling only weed? He walked into a nearby house, and I followed him into the sitting room thinking that would be where he would hide the stash. He then went into a bedroom. I stayed in the living room. He came out immediately and was surprised I didn't follow him in. I protested and he said, "koi baat nahi, andar aao." Being the first rate idiot that I am, I went inside. There was a young woman sitting on the bed, dressed in a blouse and a thin white skirt. My brain was still processing all this when the shopkeeper said, "1500, theek hain na?" I looked at him, then the woman on the bed, then back at him and ran out and away from the house stumbling and mumbling, hot in the face and all. Some of my "friends" were having a great laugh, I was sure.