We all have that one meaningful place in our life where we grow up, spend our childhood and when we walk out of the place, we unconsciously leave a part of our soul behind. Today I will take you to some sweet memories I had about my wonderful place in Uttarakhand, Dehradun.
Most of us have heard about Dehradun, often depicted in movies as a quaint hill station, well ofcourse it’s a peaceful place but it’s actually a valley surrounded by hills and the nearest hill station (Mussorie) some 35-40kms away.
So my father had a transferable job so we would move from one place to another. During initial years when he was posted in Dehradun, I was born there but when I was like 4 years old, we got transferred to the other parts of the state. But we would always come here during summers to visit our relatives. I fondly remember those tall trees and the lush greenery that were called as the pride of this quaint town. My Nana jee used to live in the outskirts of the city and there were vast fields that surrounded his house. All the kids would gather up and turn his peaceful abode in mayhem. There is a railway track that runs parallel to the national highway encircling my Nana jee house and either we used to play on the highways or run towards the tracks. I remember there were couple of streams that would flow near his house and we would go to swim or simply laze in that 1-2 feet dept of water and those days were carefree something that nothing exists in havoc era like today!
When I was in 10th standard we permanently moved to Dehradun and start living in our still-built house. This city turned a completely game changer for me. Firstly the schools, they are so polished that even I, who had always assumed me to be smart and confident, felt like a total lunatic and had a hard time adjusting with the school vibes and mates! With time I accepted myself as a mediocre kid and shifted my focus to the other sides of the city.
I and Mom would often go for the morning walks and I can still feel the natural aroma that I used to feel; strong fragrance of eucalyptus trees, moist green bushes, mango and litchi laded heavy trees, sudden flash of street dogs, cool breeze whispering in our ears, a silent blanket of early fog, shadows of military people running past us and the retirees marching forward with their sticks! All that could pretty summarize the Dehradun in 19s and 20s!
There were no designated lanes but vast field and few houses here and there; some were definitely very big, few had big boundary walls and alert about atleast 3-4 German shepherds mentioned on their gates! Yes Dehradun used to be always a fascinating city for the retirees majorly from military or air force; or some elite people looking forward to spend their peaceful years here. And have I mentioned about the famous bakeries here?
Dehradun is quite famous for bakeries ( Elloras and Nany’s bakeries to name a few), basmati rice, Litchis (seasonal pulpy fruit) and schools!
When I began my college, I would often go towards the famous Rajpur road as that place was symbolic to fashion, intellect and leisure; you will find the most affluent class there! Those were the days when I used to imagine myself working in one of the buildings or atleast be a part of it somehow. It was all alluring and magnificent.
If you travel towards the north from clocktower , Rajpur road leads you straight to the Mussorie diversion and I bet as the diversion gets closer; you feel like to step out of the car and take a walk of the surroundings. It’s very surreal, atleast I felt that during my days. There were only few of the cafes, few more in the process and the magic Doonites would create is difficult to explain. I met the love of my life for the first time in one of those cafes, there was Planet Music just next to it and one day I bought a sufi music album for his and a small I-pod that I could only afford and gifted to him. That feel and those gifts are still one of the best memories I had.
We would often walk holding hand in hand with love in each other’s eyes; thankfully my Parents lived in the other side of the city totally oblivion to my whereabouts and sometimes he would get a scooter and we would take a detour towards the Shahstradhara road from the Sai Temple and the entire scenery would blow our hearts away; honestly we had met very less but in-toto the memories felt like a gigantic experience.
The entire glamlight in Dehradun lies across the Rajpur road but then there are Cant road, Race course, Convent road and Chakrata road to name a few that certainly you can’t miss. There are few ancient temples like Tapkeshwar, Maa Bala Sundari Mandir, and then nature’s marvel like Robbers cave, Lacchiwala Picnic Spot.
There is famous mind-rolling monastery one mile away from my house that’s luckily have now turned into a major tourist attraction.
Then there is Dehradun Zoo, FRI (Forest Research Institute), NDA (National Defence Academy) that serves as nation’s pride and the list of reputed schools is never ending!
Educational institutions include Brightlands School, Cambrian Hall, Colonel Brown Cambridge School, Convent of Jesus and Mary, The Doon School, Ecole Globale International Girls’ School, Rashtriya Indian Military College, SelaQui International School, St Joseph’s Academy, Dehradun, Welham Boys School, Welham Girls School. Several Indian and international luminaries have attended these schools. In addition to these schools there are many other state board schools located in the city.
There are as many 12 KVs (Kendriya Vidhayala ) in the city.
I will also share one fascinating fact that you may not know, well most of the localities and villages have their name ending with ‘wala’ like Doiwala, Harrawala, Raiwala, Dobhalwala, and there are approximately 150 such places!
During my school and college days there used be no shopping malls in the city despite being so hip and famous, but in recent years shopping malls have bubbled up like anything and there are plethora of them. And I’m talking here about a history of 30-40 years, but only in past 1 decade things have drastically changed in the city.
This city is now overburdened with mass urbanization, and concrete premises. The local culture is also on the verge of collapse. The greenery, those empty patches, basmati rice , litchies ,weather all these things which Dehradun was once famous for are now vulnerable and the situation has taken a toll like any metro city!
My Nana jee had a small shop just next to the highway, there was a municipal water tap just next to it and a giant Mango tree that always stood tall and clearly visible from atleast a mile. That was a landmark for all of us to reach his house’s lane as the roads weren’t properly marked at that time. Once my Maternal aunt climbed that gigantic tree and plucked buckets full of raw mangoes; she did that with a dare that I had never seen before. Today my Nanajee is no more, nor that tiny shop and nor that mango tree. Yes there are new landmarks, new identities and better accommodations!
I last visited Dehradun in the month of June, it was bustling hot and I even didn’t stepped out of the house. I sneaked out once while kids were sleeping and boarded a Vikram (blue colored 4-wheeled shared auto). As I reached Clock Tower, one heart of mine wanted to walk towards the Rajpur Road but I felt all alone amidst that foreign crowd. I stopped myself, just bought back my list and returned back to my house.
Still this place has some irresistible charm that compels you to stretch your eyes and admire the beauty.
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