Friday, December 20, 2013

Doon town and passionate people

The best thing happened to me in the past few months is my visit to Dehradun. Everything about the trip was so positive and absolutely great. Thanks to my official work, I got to do a bit of personal work as well. There was nothing on my agenda till I mentioned to my friends saying I'm going to Dehradun for a couple of days. Instantly they came back with suggestions to visit a few bookstores/publishers in Dehradun. And I got a list of books to be bought from Dehradun in no time. I got very excited about the activity and tried to plan my visit in such a way that I do this small piece of work without disturbing my official schedule. Of course there were some more activities that got added to my to-do list in Dehradun including my mom's request for Ganga-water-in-a-metallic-tumbler-from-Haridwar.

We landed in Dehradun and my colleagues who traveled with me agreed to accompany me for a short visit to Dehradun town before checking into our hotel at Haridwar. So, four of us reached the lovely town of Dehradun in the Doon valley on the foothills of Himalayas. It did not take too long for us to search for the book store I was desperately looking for; I saw the old (perhaps 50 year old) sign board of Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Sing Publishers (BSMPS) through the car window and asked the driver to drop us off. I requested my colleagues to go around the place and do anything they want to for a few hours; but they all chose to come with me to the bookstore. 

I was very frightened by looking at the building with a doubtful mind that the bookstore is either closed or got shifted to some other place. To my surprise I was wrong. I entered through the old wooden door and saw a functioning printing press; the people at the press assured me that I was at the right place. It was a huge old building which was getting ready for renovation and we started searching for the bookstore across all the 3 floors.. We took almost 15 minutes before we spoke to a person who came out of a small room full of books. And he assured me that whatever I was seeing is a 'bookstore'. And that's how I met the owner/Managing Director of BSMPS, Mr Abhimanyu Gahlot and his father Mr. Gajendra Gahlot; the two passionate people who publish only botany related books. It was quite interesting and inspiring to know that they publish botany related books because they are very passionate about botany. Some of the well known botanists have published a lot of books through them. It was a great feeling for me to be there and hear stories from them and witness their passion. After going through their catalog of books, our tiny books list grew bigger and pockets much steeper of course! 

Mr. Gajendra and his son Mr. Abhimanyu at BSMPS bookstore, Dehradun
After that brief visit with a promise to return back in a couple of days to collect all the books, we left from Dehradun and reached Haridwar for dinner. It was a fun time to be at IIT Roorkee for our annual campus recruitment event and perform the interviews throughout the night. Well, how many occasions do you think you will get to interact some bright students until you announce the results at 4 am in the chilly weather of 3 or 4 degrees C? During our free time, we did visit Haridwar and witnessed the beautiful Ganga in her pure form and walked around the holy town with a tourist tag on our forehead.

As promised I had to go back to my new friends to close our books order before I took my flight back to Bangalore. So, instead of staying back at the hotel in Haridwar, I decided to stay at Dehradun. I got a few hours to visit the Forest Research Institute and its amazing tree museums. It was worth every minute of sleep I saved to rush back from Haridwar to Dehradun post our recruitment event.

I was so moved by Abhimanyu and his father Gajendra's passion and on top of that,  it was a bit too much for me to receive their kind hospitality as well. Every minute I spent with them, I was absolutely overwhelmed by their kind gesture. They are truly amazing people I've met. And the whole experience of me visiting Dehradun grew richer because of them. And because they thought we are also passionate about botany, orchids and such stuff, they were  kind enough to give us some discounts and ship the books to Bangalore free of cost.

Uploading here are some photographs I could click during my short visit to these places. (click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Forest Research Institute Museum , Dehradun

Forest Research Institute established in 1905

FRI Campus

                 (Orchids on the trees at FRI)

Ropeway overlooking the magnificient gangetic plains ferrying passengers to the Mansi Devi temple at Haridwar

The valley on the way to the Chandi Devi temple

Haridwar town seen from the Mansi Devi temple

 (Some flora around the valleys of Chandi Devi temple)

Ganga in its purest form enters the civilization at Haridwar

The ghats all along the Ganga. Fortunately its not as filthy as Varanasi


Narasim said...

The Forest Research Institute has the ambience of Cambridge.

Ganga at Haridwar is pristine. It is difficult to believe that the same river becomes a sewer by the time it reaches the holiest place of Hinduism.

sunaath said...

Gajendra Gahlot,
May his tribe increase!