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   People keep telling me: (June 14, 1993)

Or: You must go to Panchgani now when it is raining. It is all lush green and pretty as a hill-station should be. I refuse to listen to them. Because, in the past, I have taken their advice and gone to both the places during the monsoon, and spent my time sitting in hotel rooms and trying to read in poor light.People who tell you to go for a holiday to a place where it is raining (heavy to very heavy) are either poets, which I am not, or hotel owners and tour operators who find it difficult to get bookings in the rains. It stands to reason, because, if people are dying to spend their holidays getting wet, hoteliers would not be giving all those heavy discounts.

A few years back, I had gone to Goa in July. I was not paying for the ticket, so it was all right. When I reached Dabolim airport, the weather was holding out and it was fine. It had rained a couple of hours earlier and everything had been washed and made pretty. But it started raining around six o'clock in the evening, large buckets of rains. Water entered the hotel, the power went off, some friends who were to come to the hotel to see me could not come, the handful of guests in the hotel ate under flickering candlelight, and the management did not even bother to tell us how romantic it was eating in candlelight.The following day, it continued to rain. There was no question of going for a swim. Apart from the sea being rough, by the time you reached it you would be wet in the rain. I wanted to go to Martin's Bar or whatever that seafood place is called. The taxi took me through wet and sticky soil, and when we reached the place we found it closed because of inclement weather. I did visit Mr. Manohar Malgaonkar, in Karwar on the other side of Goa, driving through a wet and weeping forest and the car failing in the middle of the same forest.

Finally, my return flight to Bombay was delayed by several hours because of the rains.

On the other holiday in the rain, Mahableshwar was totally closed, ghosts moving in a grey mist. Panchgani was a little less wet, in the sense that occasionally the rains would stop and people would make quick darts into the bazaar and back. The tableland was slushy, the silver oaks groaned and complained as winds battered them, and power went off every time a branch touched an electric cable. And, in Panchgani in the rains, it is so dark that you ned electricity in the day also.Finally, both in Mahableshwar and Panchgani, the petrol pumps were closed. We were thankful the place was a hill-station, so we could roll the car down the ghats to Wai and the nearest petrol pump.

 
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