This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
Arpit and Ruhi get back to their rooms and continue their talk in spite of the wall between them with the help of cell phones; both unable to resist the urge to talk a little while more before they sleep. Their date night at Boulevard road seem short lived. Ruhi thinks about the first interaction she had with Arpit while cleaning plates in the darkness of Day 1 of the camp; he was lost and appeared rude from his actions. As time progressed ahead, she was able to actually see how amazing he was.
Arpit has finally found a purpose worth living for beyond himself – there is no longer an abyss of loneliness. He observes Abhinav deep asleep in his bed while putting the phone down- he has resolved to make things work between him and Latika and the actions for the same begin tomorrow morning. He prays to God to set things right and goes to sleep.
Monday, August 17, 2015
The morning begins with breakfast in the dining hall at 7.30 AM – they’re served with the local delicacies of Bakarkhani Roti with sweet Kahwa. Everyone heads back to their destination today – they are in the same flight till Delhi scheduled the afternoon and post that separate flights. Pawan has booked a small tempo for local sight seeing for 10 people staying in Hotel Retreat and later drop them to the airport. (The gang, Ruhi, Divyah, Kanishka, Sandesh and Pawan).
Swami heads to an internet cafe nearby and skypes with his darling Rosie. She is amazed to see him after long and lovingly licks the ipad screen. Shashank is happy his brother has completed the trek and enjoyed it to the core.
After putting their backpacks and luggage on the carrier, they take their seats in the tempo to roam around Srinagar for half a day until they head to the airport – their first point being Shankaracharya Temple – a temple of Lord Shiva built at the top of Sulaiman hill.
Ascending the huge steps of the temple shouldn’t be a problem after they’ve completed the trek. Yet, it seems a bit difficult as their tired bodies have got accustomed to luxuries. Kanishka and Niket run up the stairs in order to have a panoramic view of Srinagar city and Dal Lake.
After paying their obeisance to Lord Shiva, the team settles down into the tempo and it proceeds towards the second largest Mughal Garden in Kashmir – Nishat Bagh, which means the garden of joy. The terraced Mughal garden is thirty minutes away and built at the eastern side of Dal Lake.
As they pass through the seemingly infinite borders of Dal Lake, they see an array of fountains installed near the borders to magnify the already beautiful picturesque landscapes.
Niket catches a glimpse of an ice cream vendor as the tempo gushes in speed on the pot-hole free road. He calls for an impromptu halt – they cannot proceed ahead without tasting the local delicacy. They get down to have a bite of Kashmiri Falooda. Niket observes the vendor prepare it – a prefect mix of rose syrup, falooda seeds and yellow noodles topped by a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream. He loves the printing on the plastic cup – it says ‘Ek baar khaaoge, baar baar aaoge.’ (if you consume it once, you’ll end up coming back for more!) The falooda stands true to its marketing – it is fantastico.
They proceed towards the garden of joy, the last stop before they move towards the airport.
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