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   People talk of Khandala in the rains... (March 7, 1990)

People talk of Khandala in the rains, or Matheran, Mahableshwar, Goa in the rains. The monsoon is the best season to visit them, they say. Everything is so green.

Do not listen to them. Going to the hill-stations in the rains is one sadwet way if having a holiday.

I remember once spending a long wet weekend in Khandala. It was during the last monsoon. I left late on Thursday evening and by the ghats it was dark and raining. And it rained for the next three days.

The walls of my hotel room were damp, and in the morning the fog creeped in from under the windows and the door and caught my throat and lungs. Since I was there, I was there, so, in spite of the bad throat and the cold in the chest, I would go for walks along the wet highway, trying to keep of the way of great hulks of trucks as they speed past, in both directions.

By the time I would return home (meeting the hotel), clothes and shoes would be damp and spreading a musty smell in the room.

No doubt, Khandala was looking green, but I could hardly see it from across the curtain of rain. And the weather may have been bracing, but I did not feel particularly braced, copped up in a room, nursing a cold (fewer was starting), and reading two-day-old newspapers. I was to return of Monday mroning, straight to the office, but I pushed my wet clothes into the bag on Sunday morning, walked to the station (in the rain) and caught a train. Fortunately, it was empty, and at Kalyan I could buy all the Sunday papers.

Three monsoons back, I went to Goa in the rains. Panaji was flooded, Martin's was closed, water had entered the auditorium of Charles Correa's Natak Akadami, the sea was unwimmable (not that I swim), and there reports that all flights back to Bombay were being cancelled for the next few days.

I staryed for a day at the Taj Aguda and the management very kindly insisted that I should have a look at the Taj Village. So, under a large Goan farmer's umbrella, I was given a tour of the dripping "village". No wonder, I though, all the Goa hotels give such heavy discounts in the rains. Actually, they should pay people to stay there during the monsoon.

One monsoon, I visited Matheran. There was one train, weather permitting, per day, they said, and Matheran was now available in the monsoon to tourists. The only tourists I saw were people who played cards the whole day. Why they did not do so at Merchants' club in Bombay, I do not know.

There was one train a day, which took me up, but from the following day there was no train, since the weather did not permit. I was stranded for three days. But I must admit that Matheran was green, except for the roads, which were red with the wet mud.

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