Once upon a time Kasol was a quiet little hamlet nestled in the lap of the mountains, dominated by the personality of Parvati, the river and the snow capped peak standing tall at the helm. It was a stunning piece of flat land that I discovered in my search 50 years ago ;a 22 year old young man in search of adventure and the thrill to own a piece of land in the mountains, grow an orchard and retire to nature someday. It was a young dream that had spirit and flight. It gave me the energy to do so many things which when I look back, can fill chapters of a memoir. I was a mariner, an officer sailing on the ships of Calcutta Port Trust ,and here I was buying land in Kasol, 2000kms away in days with no connectivity , less facilities and miles to walk before I could touch civilisation. It just added to the adventure I’d say. So this ‘mariner’ began anchoring his dream . With the help of a land tiller who later became the caretaker, and a few more men I started clearing the land .I can still smell the fresh earth mixed with the pines, laced with the crisp mountain air.
Every vacation I would sit on a rickety bus that would wind its way up to the nearest casbah from where I would walk to my orchard carrying plants and seeds and tools. I still remember the walk through shin deep snow, lugging apple plants loaded on mules, and me trudging alongwith my feet weighed by the weather, but my head heady with the thrill. I remember the times when I had just started , lodging with a peasant family nearby .I lived and ate with them . The crooked old wooden structure still stands somewhere in the fields shyly against the new slicker houses around it. I then got more familiar with the village folk and managed to lodge myself in the forest rest house , a posher place. Warmed every evening by a fire in my room and a chowkidar to take care of me. I would toil away at the land till one day came the apple blossoms.
But as time went by , I moved on in my career ,had more responsibilities and the trip from the east became hard and the orchard started getting neglected . I had to finally sell it . I sadly lost my dream . But In a small corner of my heart with a little flicker of hope alight, I reserved some land in Kasol to maybe build a cottage some day. A place to retire in. Life went on . In villages land exchange is done through ‘patwaris ‘ .The papers change hands. Many people who handled the paperwork came and left. I shifted from Calcutta to Chandigarh and had almost lost all traces of the land. But I had my documents as proof of ownership and the hope, to come back to my dream. After many years when my children who had by then grown up and had heard me narrate stories of Kasol ,seen me choke or hide a tear everytime I spoke, finally pushed for us to make a trip and find our land. So began the journey to find what we had lost. It took detailed meetings with the new patwari, tracing papers, searching for a piece of my land in totally changed scenario. Locating few villagers elders of those times with whose help we finally FOUND it!
The land was handed back to me and we started re-building my dream. Today you are standing in my home . A place I lost and found. This cottage was built with memories of the past , helped by none other than the man who looked after this land for all these years . A nostalgia of the times when life was quiet, peaceful and serene , a period I miss…….sometimes.
There is a whole lot to share with you my guests. But the reason I have shared with you this little story is, so you may enjoy your experience and maybe carry back a little story that forms a chapter in your life.
As you would imagine things in this house are either hand picked or designed by me. Everything around you has a personal touch which we value immensely and we would like those after you to experience the same look and feel.