While in Shimla, it is a must for some people to have a daily stroll on the Mall, especially in the evenings, as this also serves as a rendezvous to bump into or meet people without an appointment. Having done this to one’s fill, it is customary to round off the trip by taking a turn from Sher-e Punjab – the Naaz restaurant of yore- and follow the road down to the Lower Bazar , do some shopping , be it vegetables, grocery or even readymades & cloth etc , and walk down to the local bus stand to take a bus to home. This had been my routine in the young age , when I had an unbroken stay in Shimla. For shopping and eating purposes, Lower Bazar was and still is the ultimate choice, for the reason that every thing comes for a reasonable price, compared to the Mall , where, rates are somewhat on the higher side. On a recent visit to the Mall and the Lower Bazar, it was a surprise and shock to find that the Mehru’s sweets shop- an all time favourite to savour and take home sweets prepared in desi ghee - has squeezed to less than half of its original size , and a large portion of it has the shutters down. You can no longer sit inside and indulge yourself in hot and tasty Gulab Jamuns, doodh jalebi aloo- poori , dahi-vada , tikki stuffed with kaju kishmish etc etc. It was irresistible to be drawn to the shop, as passing by , aroma of desi ghee would enter your nostrils. Of course the sales might not have suffered much as the owners do not compromise on the quality. The more than a hundred year old shop is a monument of sorts, though there is an equally good and very old Nathu halwai ’s shop near the other end of the bazaar . A few metres ahead , it was nice to see that the two-three adjoining shops selling samosa, seekh and gobhi pakoras have wider space now to accommodate more customers .
Saturday, August 7, 2010
It is rightly said time has wings. Seven years ago , I lost a friend, Gopal Kaith, a gem of a man, very down to earth and as simple as simple can be. Had an excellent or rather enviable command of English and wrote some beautiful “middles” which appeared in “The Tribune ” time to time. “Whom God loves die young ” was perhaps said of persons like him. Forty seven is certainly not the age to die. I remember, Mr. Shriniwas Joshi , another writer of repute had paid a rich tribute to him in a “middle” with the title “Go-pal , Go !”.
Gopal , your disappearance has left a void in the lives of many !