Every spring I used to move out with my camera and my diary to record some moments of life in the hills. March and April are the best months to be on a walk in the hills. Rhododendrons are in full bloom, especially on the north face and the chill in the atmosphere is your best companion. Most of the time I took a bus from Lakkar Bazaar Bus Terminus to some unknown destination and then found a trail to walk through.

I had no idea, I didn’t want to have one either, where was that trail going to take me. I had no fear of some animal rather I enjoyed the walk, the sound of my footsteps, the clicking of my camera, the chirping of birds and the silence. Sometimes if I saw some villager, a hill-man, walking from the opposite direction that was the sign of some village at the end or in between. He always wished me, an outsider, and looked at me, trying to understand where I was heading to. And when I asked him if that trail leads to somewhere he guided me in his polite and hospitable manner and moved on.


Visit to a Village

I remember a Thakur family in a village who invited me to their house and served tea and then lunch. That day I had followed an uphill trail and after some time it became narrower to descend to a village. Through the shrubs, I tried to look down, continued walking on the trail and after sometime appeared a village with a temple in the middle. The trail lead me to the village and I could not stop myself from going to the entrance of the temple. The attractive building of the temple built in a hill architecture in which they use only stone and cedarwood and local slates for the rooftop appealed me to go around and find out some story of it. I saw an old man sitting in the courtyard of the temple. He was surprised to see a stranger because the village hardly receives any strangers.

When I told him that I am a writer and want to write about the area he led me to his house. Tea arrived with some cookies and then the discussions about the history and the deity of the temple was followed by lunch. Later a story about the temple were published in a local magazine.

Living with Nature

The hills allow me to move towards any direction and enjoy. The forests welcome me with open arms and as I enter them I feel like embraced by them. They have never disappointed me. Living with nature is living with yourself and that is what I do. There have been many chances when I had to spend the night in the forest and the forest supported me very well. I was looked after by the encouragement that I had and by the affection I have for nature.

You, my readers, live in big towns and cities where you are scared of going out even in your garden at night. During the day you love to be there, pruning the plants and tilling the soil in your flowerpots. Also, you love to sit in the garden, on your grassy lawn in the evening and have a cup of tea. But as the night falls you prefer to remain inside your house because you suspect to have a snake in the garden of some insect that may bite you. But for me forest is everything. It gives me satisfaction and adores my respect for it.

Most of the days during the spring season are sunny days and offer a vast view of the valleys and the mountains. I look out of my window that opens to the vast valley to the North of Shimla’s ridge and I am unable to remove my eyes from it. The forest in this part of Shimla is still beautiful. Very few houses have been built on this side because of less sun. This part is much colder in winter in comparison to the other side of the ridge. I have stepped on almost every trail on this side of the forested slopes and walked through it, many times. Every time I walk on it and every time it invites me again for the next trip. I am sure that a big part of the land is still virgin and I don’t want to make any interference as looking at it from the distance is much better than going there.


The pandemic of Corona Virus has attacked the world recently and has forced everyone to remain confined to his house. The same is the situation for me. I come out in my balcony, go to the terrace or just look at the world through my window that opens to the deep blue sky and a green forest below it. Writing a story is not a problem for me. I talk to myself a lot and meet me to know me better. There are a lot of books in my room which I have collected from my travels in the hills. Many of them are still waiting for me to read them and many others are there which I have read and want to read them again. Cooking my food is another way to pass time pass and then cleaning my utensils and cleaning my house. I don’t eat much so there are no more utensils that I need. I don’t have a maid of anyone to help me with it, I don’t need it. If I am cooking for myself then why someone else should come to clean the utensils? If I am living in this house on my own then why someone else should come to clean it?

One day, when I lived in Longwood, a neighbor saw me cleaning my balcony with a broom. He, when met me later at the Mall, said to me surprisingly, ‘Summit, do you clean your house on your own with a broom and mop?’ I said yes, but whose house do you clean?
He failed to understand my reply and moved on.Visit to a Village

Just a moment, wait for a while. It is going to dark very soon. I am going up to my terrace to have today’s last glimpse of the forest in front of my house. Soon, when the dark arrives the bulbs will start shimmering on them. See you later.


Sumit Raj

Writer : Sumit Raj

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