The trick of serendipity

I  know a gentleman who was quite happy with the lockdown. He was on a trek from Shimla for reasons known only to trekkers who go on long nature walks.

Published: 11th October 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2020 11:00 AM   |  A+A-

A room at Seclude, Kasauli

I  know a gentleman who was quite happy with the lockdown. He was on a trek from Shimla for reasons known only to trekkers who go on long nature walks. The gentleman in question found himself in the colonial hill town of Kasauli and looked for a suitably scenic billet to write a billet-doux or two to his amoureuse, who looked askance at his predilection for wild Wordsworthian places where he could wander like a cloud and take a nip from his hip flask under ancient pines that stand like sentinels of time, loaded with secrets both common archaic.

All our traveller wanted was a hotel which was not a hotel. There were a couple of hotels in Kasauli town with old mahogany pillars and parlours drenched in suitably Victorian gloom. The gentlemen preferred lots of sunlight and large windows where he could sit on the balcony and smoke a cigarette watching the sun colour the Dauladhar ranges with vivid crimson and gold. Which is how he found Seclude, Kasauli located in the deceptively named Divine Valley, a small cottage with big character. 

You walk in and are struck by the ceiling-to-floor well in the massive drawing room with a fire cackling merrily in the fireplace. Being a gentleman of means, he decided to hunker down until the virus was brought down by the miracles of science. The owner, a Delhi girl named Namrata Dutt ,has displayed her artistic acumen abundantly with tasteful paintings and books to browse. All four bedrooms have tall windows and balconies.

Our visitor wanted to alleviate his enforced monotony by staying in different bedrooms on different days: Seclude Light & Shadows has the tribal touch with low wooden beams and woven carpets. Shadow Dancing has a wooden swing in the middle of the room and a private balcony. The duplex master bedroom, Seclude Rocky Mountain High, is on the first floor, decked out in pleasing tones of yellow. Bathrooms make all the difference in any place you stay; Seclude takes care of this concern with soft bath towels in large clean bathrooms. 

When he had smoked enough cigarettes and had an excellent breakfast of bacon, toast and a Spanish omelette, the trekker asked for his bill. The manager, a cheerful Pahari with the unusual name of Sharmaji, told him to return to his room and asked him to wear a mask. The gentleman was totally perplexed. Everyone else had checked out days before. The epidemic was killing people, Sharmaji said; all transport was cancelled. A trekker is never daunted, even by the possibility of a comfortable bed with a cheerful bed cover and soft pillows. Last I heard, the gentleman is loath to leave the place. Sharmaji is pleased. 
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