The days have gone by all too quickly and soon the 96 hours of learning Urdu will be over and I will have to stop living the idyllic student’s life that Farid and I have created for ourselves in Landour. All care of the mundane to the winds, Landour life seems to exist in another dimension.
(We have progressed far beyond the simple essays and dictations now……)
The routine has been comforting in a way. Fours hours of Urdu instruction daily. Our schedules change every week. Sometimes classes have begun at 8:30 am and finished at 5:30 pm with long breaks in between for leisurely breakfasts and lunches and sometimes they have been more intense and continuous. Either ways, Farid and I have found time to walk several times around the badha and chhota chukkars.
(I don’t entirely agree with the message on the tree! But around the chukkars in Landour, someone has spent time putting up thought provoking little witticisms…..)
The environment and the rhythm of life definitely plays a part in what one reads and eats and what one’s thoughts are! I have managed to catch up with a lot of my reading without distraction and have actually read some books which I could have found depressing under different conditions but actually found inspiring reading them in the environs of Landour………
A few evenings, we have ventured into the bazaar and have come away thinking, “never again!”. Having to jostle with the crowds, navigating through car and two wheeler traffic with blaring horns just for a different taste and venue for an early dinner is not worth it. So we have chosen to stay in Landour in our quiet lodgings perched at the very top of the hill and are content to eat the frugal meals that the chowkidar’s wife makes for us.
(West side view of the Dehradun valley from our room in Landour…..)
The weather has slowly turned. The clouds and mists have been gathering and the atmosphere is getting ready to announce the long monsoon which is due any day. It is monsoon that totally changes the landscape of Landour for three long months. Already I can feel the humidity and the sticky sensation on the skin. In the past week I have awoken to find that a mist has crept into our room through the windows and from under the door. The sheets and pillows already seem a bit damp. The air is now beginning to feel moist and heavy and its like breathing in thick misty vapours in the mornings before the sun takes charge fully and dispels them until it sets and then the vapours take control again, getting stronger daily and staying for longer. The last few days have given us a taste of what monsoon in Landour would feel like. But the local residents assure us this is not even the pre monsoon as yet. Just a local disturbance.
(Early mornings from our room window…….)
As we get ready to wrap up our Landour sojourn with Urdu, I feel blessed that I had these four weeks of study, exploration and adventure to know that I have the capacity to learn a new language and script and to keep up with a young and agile 20yr old! In the next four days we will be done with Intermediate level of Urdu and our Ustaad Habeeb Saheb has encouraged us to read a daily online newspaper in Urdu and we’ll be going away with a few book recommendations. In fact Habeeb Saheb has introduced us to calligraphy now and I can see how meditative this skill can be!
(Habeeb Saheb teaching us to make reed pencils in preparation for calligraphy)
(We are learning still…….)