of the McLeod Grudge – Part II

Read Part 1 here.

Most of the remaining day was spent lazing around in a coffee shop with no view and no foreigners. Only loud jaat-gujjar boys that kept laughing loudly for no apparent reason. We retired to our room after a bit, then got up and walked to the Dalai Lama temple. It was nice and really quiet except for the cackling of a group of definitely-from-Delhi college students who probably had never been to a place of worship before.

Then we went back to the hotel (again) and watched a movie on our laptop with mom. I was exhausted and was sleeping really peacefully until Mister drew the curtains the next morning and went ninja on my face with thousands of wet, sloppy kisses. I woke up.

Mom had a sprain in her back and wanted to give sitting in a cafe and reading/writing another try, so Mister and I walked up to the waterfall. We had heard a lot about Shiva Cafe the waterfall and were curious to see what the fuss was all about. It was a small but enjoyable trek.

It was cloudy and really kinda cold.

Mister was in awe of the mountains and the clouds. I was in awe of two entirely different things:

  1. Ugly, fat, lecherous men were accompanied by svelte, beautiful girls wearing hot pants and dresses and high heels and make up. Now I can understand that everyone can’t be shallow and care for appearances that much, but please! Why would a girl fall for a man with a roving eye? And if I can see the said roving eye the moment I look at the man, how can she not see it?
  2. How can women be wearing high heels and dresses and hot pants to a trek? To be honest, I looked like I was their kaamwali (domestic help) in my track pants and a t-shirt, but I definitely was more comfortable and not dying of the cold.
This woman was wearing the most clothes.

Then we reached the Shiva Cafe, which is right next to the waterfall. It’s very tastefully done up, with hand-painted rocks and a statue of Lord Shiva. And there was a swimming pool – why they have a pool next to a waterfall I will never understand. There’s a lovely non-scary serpent carved (?) into the rocks. Psychedelic music played inside the cafe.


Now if you’re Indian, you’ll know the kind of crowd you’d expect to see at a place like this. Mostly Israeli tourists, wearing loose, shapeless but cool-as-hell clothes they think Indians wear (even though clearly Indians prefer hot pants and high heels). Braided hair or dreadocks, chillum in one hand, a jhola in the other.

The only thing that came close to that vision is that some old men with long hair and dirty clothes were sitting in front of the statue, rolling joints and having chai. We clicked this picture there. Don’t miss the Shiva statue in the background.


The crowd we saw was the kind that fills condoms with water and throws them at unsuspecting foreign tourists and says catch. Not kidding. This really happened. The foreigner in question looked disgusted as the jaat-gujjar boys frolicked in the water pointing at him and laughing.

Then there was yet another punjuboy gang of seven or eight HUGE ass men sitting in a circle passing around a bottle of royal stag and singing obscene punjabi songs.

Then there was this young Indian girl, no more than 18 or 19, wearing a pair of royal blue pants that were so transparent I could see her panties through two layers of clothing. As she stepped towards the waterfall, the punjuboygang stopped singing and stared at her behind without blinking and I thought I heard a collective sigh. I looked away.

Satyam Shivam Sundaram, anyone?

The jaat-gujjar boys must’ve had a field day.

Mister and I were so disgusted we just left. We spent the rest of the day walking around on the streets of Bhagsu, which btw, is really quaint (for want of a better word) and had exactly the kind of people we are. We shopped a little and then stepped into a cafe as it started to rain. People were being lazy, reading books, sipping chai. Not caring for the outside world.

I walked up to the bookshelf and picked up the first book I lay my eyes on. We ordered chai. The book lay in the corner of the table, neglected. I was looking at Mister and he at me. The world was on mute. All we could hear was the rain.

Chai was served, and the moment withered away. I became aware of a man smiling at us from the corner of the room. Because I was embarrassed, I picked up my book and my eyes welled up. It was a book I’ve been looking for since I was in college. Stolen from the American Library in Delhi.

The man in the corner of the room picked up his guitar and sang Rimjhim gire saawan as I turned to the first page.

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20 thoughts on “of the McLeod Grudge – Part II”

  1. M

    Hmm, where was Mom when you finally found a small cafe with people reading and had a cup of chai? Sounds like you were disappointed/ Where did you get your expectations? Previous vists? Stories?Marketing?


    1. Disappointed is an understatement, Paul. Everyone had been upselling the place – friends, family, random blogs on the internet, and the reality came nowhere close to this.
      We found this cafe on our way back from the waterfall. Mom would’ve enjoyed it too, but she was at the cafe at our hotel, writing poetry. She seems to have enjoyed the quiet time, which I guess redeemed the trip for her!


  2. I truly enjoyed reading about your vacation. You captured the nuances that ate generally not conveyed when one writes about their travels. Well done!


      1. Lol. I really enjoyed reading it. Then again, I enjoy all of your posts, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to me. 🙂


          1. I am totally denying it! lol Of course it sounds like a travelogue. 🙂 🙂 🙂 A wonderful travelogue with incredible nuances. Did that extricate me?


    1. I think that we, as a country, just don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to tourists. I’ve seen many people taking undue liberties with foreigners, but this one is probably the worst.


  3. Lovely travel diary. Love Rim Jhim Saawan, especially the female version..gives me wonderful memories of monsoon coz the song was shot at places I stayed in Mumbai, Churchgate, Fort and Marine Drive. I wonder how life was at that time!


  4. The entire government and tourist machinery has one aim in mind. Along with the local population the motto is drive/scare the tourists away. Anyway most foreigners are more interested in Dharamkot and hence mc leod is just a transit point.
    I have been there thrice, but avoided the Bagsu falls. There are better options in the wilds. All three visits have been good for me thankfully. Parking problem taken care of in a unique way. hehe.
    Hope you had the pizza at Jimmy’s kitchen


    1. Looks like I missed Jimmy’s. I’m sure it’s better in the wilderness. We wanted to go camping at Triund but mom’s condition wasn’t that great so we had to skip it.


      1. oh, bad luck. Some other time. The list is long. Norbulingka Institute, Dharamsala Stadium and of course Triund and the mountain ranges beyond. Interested.


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