It is difficult to escape their charm. Every time I travel to Uttarakhand, the loveliness of the people I meet seem to only increase.
I recently wrote about the women who I met in Kilmora and Chirag and as a continuing part of my conversations with the people of Uttarakhand, I’d like you to meet two men I met last year in October.
Meet Dinesh Pandey
Dinesh is the manager of Van Serai in Jageshwar. He has been working here for about 1.5 years and enjoys his job. He moved here from Rishikesh. While working in Rishikesh, he was on the search of a job that would allow him to move to Jageshwar, since his home is about 10 kilometres away. And when this opportunity came along, he grabbed it.
One of the first things I noticed about Dinesh was his smile. Have you met anyone whose smile makes you reciprocate instantly? That’s him. I reached Van Serai on a cold, late October evening. As I negotiated the path to the main entrance, I saw Dinesh waiting to receive us. In the greyness of dusk, I saw a bright smile welcome me. At once, the visuals around me wore warmer hues.
As we interacted more through the evening, I was happy to meet someone who was young, enthusiastic and liked his job. Honestly, I have not come across many who feel similarly towards their work. He also seemed to radiate a positive energy and someone who wants to do well in life, while maintaining his cool demeanour. I particularly liked the way he addressed my impatient requests.
Meeting Dinesh made me realise that when we’re in love with life, it shows.
Meet Manoj Pandey
An early morning departure from Kausani to Ramnagar, introduced me to Manoj Pandey. About 50 kilometres from our starting point, hunger evidently made its way to our expressions and conversations. We stopped at Dhanoli for a quick breakfast and some chai.
Manoj Pandey has been running his tea and breakfast restaurant for 2-3 years now. This was primarily started as an excuse to get together with friends and host them. It has now flourished into an established tea shop, surrounded by green cover of flowers and trees. Originally from Paner, he now stays only 5 minutes away from home. He starts his shop as early as 0630 hours and serves fresh food. He enjoys the relaxed work and has someone to help him in the kitchen. Walking around Manoj’s land, I admired the thick vegetation with a healthy cover of weeds, under the warm blue sky. We couldn’t have stopped at a better place for breakfast!
Who are the people you meet?
Note: This visit to Uttarakhand was made possible by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board and Lonely Planet Magazine India. Of course, my love for the state is evident.