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Ranikhet -heaven's gate
Dec 14, 2004 11:06 AM 14286 Views
(Updated Dec 14, 2004 12:45 PM)


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Nainital had always been one of the most favoured tourist destinations in India. People from various parts of the country and foreign tourists come and enjoy the unique natural beauty and heavenly weather in Nainital. But down the memory lane, dear friends, I remember Nainital for a completely different reason that I like to share with you.

Firstly, the incident is totally personal and it happened when I was only studying in class eleven (year 1993). Thus anyone reading it for a tour guidance or information plz discontinue..

At the outskirts of Nainital there is a place called Ranikhet. I had been to hill stations like Shimla, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Palampur, Dharamsala and others but I never seen a more beautiful hill station than this small and little known Ranikhet.

A mystic and romantic atmosphere always engulfs the hills. One fine (?) morning at around 8 am our bus left us in the heavenly hills. Normally tourists come here for a sight seeing, stay for an hour or so and leave. Although there is an ''ashram'' there which provides basic necessities for the tourist willing to stay a day or two. With sheer luck we had managed to get accommodation in the only guest house at Ranikhet. The guest house is situated at the top of a small hill and from three sides its is covered with gigantic Kumayun ranges with dark green forests and at the front beyond a huge traffic of white clouds playing hide and seek there is a white mountain range always covered with snows. A sunrise behind these mountains is one thing that you wont like to miss for a million dollar.

After a pretty long journey on road from Nainital; through Almora the elders in our group (we were ten people altogether) wanted to have little rest before we actually go out and invade the place. So, we had a nice break fast with bread and omlette at the balcony of our guesthouse. We spend sometime gossiping and at around 1:00pm we ordered for the lunch.

As it had to take some time before the lunch is prepared and served the elders wanted to have some nap and we - I, my sis (class VII), my cousin (class IX) Came to the garden outside the building to enjoy the afternoon sun. Suddenly my cousin Koel proposed for an afternoon walk. We came outside and decided to walk towards the nearby hill.

We followed a narrow path that looks like a huge anaconda trying to entrap the entire hill. The path became narrower and more narrower and dry leafs which covered the entire area were extremely slippery. But there were something in the whole atmosphere at that moment (which still I don?t know exactly) that made us kept going. We did not find any other people there except some unknown birds and a curious monkey.

Soon the path became so narrow that two of us cant walk side by side ?one side there was the huge hilly-wall going up abode our head and on the other dense green going down and down. My cousin was leading the group ad I stay back to have a look at my sis who was the youngest and walking in the middle. All of a sudden I felt that I have never ever come to a place so lonely and so wild and at the same I had a feeling that we did a mistake by coming so far all alone. And we found there no way to go farther as there was a water-fall right in front of us.

Above our head we could not find where it starts and below it disappears behind the green forests. That was the moment I decided to go back and I was not sure since how long we were actually walking. I turned back and tried to look at my watch. I heard a sudden cry and at the very next moment as turned back to see what happened I saw a glimpse of Koel falling down the hill and at the very next moment she disappeared behind the thick bush.

Startled at the pace at which everything happened for the moment I did not know what to do?and there was a complete silence as if nothing actually has happened. The silence broke with my sis?s cry and at the very same time without giving any second thought, I jumped at the direction where I saw Koel falling. There was complete slope and on my way down ward I tried my best to get hold of some branches or stones to gain some control. My watch broke and some of my skins started bleeding. ?But the only concern for me that time was to find her. After about 30 feet down the hill (which I came to know later) I found a little halt in the stiff slope.

That was the place where the waterfall had changed its direction. I found ground under my feet and I also found Koel lying down there half-unconscious and profusely bleeding. I gathered myself to reach her and found her almost unconscious at extreme shock and pain. Because of the unnatural silence I could still here my sis crying at the top although there was no question of seeing her. I shouted with all my energy and asked her to calm down and told her that I found Koel and she is okay. She stopped crying and asked me what to do. I asked her to go back carefully and informed others. I looked at Koel .She could not move herself a bit.

She was bleeding from her forehead and knees. I tried unsuccessfully to pull her and take her towards the waterfall. I tried to console her and get some drops of water with my hand from the waterfall. I shouted number of times for help but there were no one there. I really don?t know exactly how long it took before my parents and others came with help, but those moment were no less than several hours for me and perhaps I could never forget those few moments when I was alone with badly injured Koel at the middle of a Forest mountain ??and I was not sure whether my sis alone could reach there safely.

She did indeed , and I was half relieved to see people around me taking her to the possible help. I was (surprisingly) not badly injured apart from cut all over the body. Koel?s both the choler bone was broken, she had stitches on the head and worst of these was her right knee that had a very serious and deep injury. How we actually took her to Almora hospital stayed there for three days with conditions getting better and worse and ultimately took her to Kolkata, home town is a different story altogether but I could not help mentioning about the people of Ranikhet.

One can never imagine people more simple, helpful and kind than these poor villagers living at the lap of Mother Nature. Without their active help we might not save our sister that day. They helped us in every possible way and they did it unconditionally, which is rare. A small example: In the process I lost my wristwatch somewhere in the accident area. Next day morning a local young boy of about 12 came to me and returned the watch with a smile. I wish to go there again again??

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