After many attempts at matching dates and calendars we were able to have Pradip Krishen lead an “end of monsoon” ramble from the Himalayan Hideaway in September this year.
Having set us off on a course for planting an indigenous garden almost 15 years ago, Pradip had moved on to other projects and he was visiting the Lodge after many years. Admittedly, I was nervous as the garden had become a veritable jungle, which had its own charm but it was nothing close to how Pradip might have envisioned it when he was planting it all those years ago. Knowing well that we couldn’t turn the clock back, I did not broach the subject of what Pradip’s vision for the Hideaway garden was.
As it turns out, the garden at the Lodge has grown organically over the past 15 years and with our belief in keeping things local and indigenous we have let the plants “just be”. As a result, some plants that might have been planted to be trained as hedges have become glorious trees and some trees have curiously made interesting bushes and having mimicked the forest around us, resulting in a little haven (a plant nation as it were!) of diversity which is beautiful and peaceful.
Everything came together in a perfectly orchestrated manner for this Gadabout. I was able to showcase the Hideaway experience and Rishikesh over five days. The people, the place and the activities. The responsibility for the walks was Pradip’s (!) and the responsibility for the Hideaway experience was mine and Yousuf’s combined (!). Each person on the Gadabout was engaging and relaxed and the dynamics worked well.
Long discussions over meal times and jolly evenings around the bonfire were very much a part of the essential activities that included a rafting trip on the Ganga, a visit to the Vashishth Gufa and a visit to Rishikesh for the evening arti for some.
The walks with Pradip had their own ingredient of botanical quirkiness and fun!
Pradip just pointed out the “farting plant” to our unsuspecting botany enthusiast!
So what makes for a perfectly curated Gadabout? My conclusion for the moment is that after putting together an outline of an itinerary with broad brush strokes, the details should remain to be filled by the people on the trip. This requires enough trust and faith on the part of all travellers and myself to allow for a bit of free falling. To maneuver the situation for enough freedom to all where neither should I feel the need to control the narrative and nor should my fellow travellers feel the need to be lead, controlled or entertained. This Gadabout had that perfect mix of travellers who brought their own special inputs in making it altogether a memorable Gadabout.
Pics : Courtsey Afried Raman, Charles Pfinder and Ganeve
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