Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Panchgani - Episode IV - Celebrating New Year’s Eve 2007-08

The next day we visited the Mapro garden. This was my first visit in several years. This was the place where Mapro first started making jams in the factory. Though they later shifted to a facility some 8 kms from Wai, Mapro has still retained the old facility on the Panchgani-Mahableshwar highway as a visitor’s gallery. At the time we were there, there was some shortage for leeches’ syrups, so they were being made in a great hurry, instead of jams.

Mapro facility is now a major tourist spot in Panchgani – Mahableshwar. Apart from the jam factory, they have a beautiful garden and a thriving nursery with plants for sale. The hills are a home to a lot of beautiful flowers on account of the cold climate for most parts of the year.

Poinsettia flowers were in full bloom on display with their bright red leaves. Their leaves are red during Christmas – these flowers are also known as Christmas flowers – and they turn green during summer. Amidst poinsettia flowers was this lovely orchid, which Mapro employees say is one-of-its-kind and the only one in Panchgani Mahableshwar region. The Queen is an expert when it comes to flowers and plants, so she bought a plant too, to take back to Bombay.

After a brief stop to the Virjees to renew old ties and acquaintances and later to the Agiary, we had lunch at Mount View hotel. Nice lunch, tasty fish curry rice, papri and kababs (I do not like papri but went for the kebabs) rounded off with gulab jamuns and strawberries. Soon it was time to return home and have a siesta.

So this year, instead of celebrating in the late evening as is customary for New Year’s Eve celebrations, we celebrated during the daytime. Mamu and Moti Mummy had to retire to bed early as they left the next day to Bombay. We left the following day, on 2nd, and returned home to Bombay after a great vacation. The journey back to Bombay though, wasn’t as expected, and came with a few bumps.

Last note: When I was in school and college and had an active social life with friends, I used to detest the idea of going to the hills and spending more than a handful of days there. I used to get bored with the slow life there. Now those days are far behind and its work, work and only work. Fewer movies, less outing and more of running in the rat race. Life has become so hectic with its fair share of pressures that I now value my time spent on the hills. I look forward to go there, but do not feel like coming back.

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