My First Office Trip to Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh

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Every time I close my eyes, I feel like I’m in Paradise

16 – 18 December 2016

I had always been a little reluctant when it came to travelling in the mountains but this ‘one trip’ I couldn’t afford to decline and neither made me regret my decision because it was a magical one indeed.

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Mashobra was the address I was called out for, as I scrolled through the mail, it had me going gaga all day. At work, the atmosphere had every interested folk whispering on what to carry, besides, the research of the destination was in full swing, especially Chandan who sits next to me kept on updating me about the current temperature in Mashobra {I doubt anybody worked that day}. I too with a thought, “Ahh! Finally,” googled Mashobra and found the abode to be all I expected. It’s crisp cool weather and dramatic mountain slopes were simply spell-binding ‘though virtually,’ I had the bites already.

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As I went in depth about this humble Shimla district, Google gave me some positive points on why should a traveller visit Mashobra. This 2,146 metres above sea level heaven was once a retreating destination of the Indian President. I see why not, the sunny environment is all one can ask for during cold winters. The Google gave me an impression to go all woollen packed as the cold hits between October and February. Mashobra does not have a lot of things to do and see but it all depends upon the traveller, as one can find adventure even in the slightest of things; perhaps not puking throughout the mountainous journey ‘twists and turns,’ ‘I had my first adventure.’

The talk about the trip was an ongoing fiesta for one whole week until the day finally came when everybody sorted their workload and left to pack early Friday. I hurled my bag and swiftly crossed the heavy traffic of South Extension and reached Ashram to pick up a colleague, Neha. We two then conversed our way to Akshardham Metro Station to board the bus, in high hopes to find the perfect seat, we reached right on the assigned time 8:30 pm only to find the first to reach, besides two other colleagues Suresh Ji and Gautam who had come directly from the office. Soon others started marking their presence in the open arena below the metro station where our roll calls were taken. Sort of felt like a school trip, this being my first official office tour, it gave me the nervous yet tickling feeling as well. The call made its way to board the bus and Srishti had reserved a window seat for me, just what I needed.

…the journey began with a loud applause…

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As the wheels began to spin it was almost 10 pm an hour late from the given schedule. We were given the introductory welcome talk and soon light snacks were distributed. The journey had us all rejoicing over the fact that, ‘we are on a trip to one of the marvellous destinations.’

…the night was still young and so were we…

The bus flamed with flowing energy as we partook in activities like Antakashari, everybody was in their best to attack their opponent. I began to sleep to dream, soon after I was woken up to a small chai point somewhere between Kurukshetra and Ambala. We were now about 5 hours away from Mashobra. The thrill rose when we started ascending the hills after Panchkula, as I peeped from the hazy window pane with dozing eyes.

…here comes the Sun, Shala la la…

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I opened my eyes to see a thin golden- orangish line, ‘it is dawning’, I babbled while I simultaneously yawned. Soon the announcer declared the destination has arrived. In few minutes we reached the stop from where we were to be carried to the resort. While some decided to walk their way to the resort, I along with few drove to the resort, just so we can get good rooms and all fresh before the rest arrive. Manla was like being in heaven; its serene and quiet morning radiance resembled my hometown Mokokchung. The Manla Resort where we stayed was an A class resort I have been too and why? Because the architecture had me wondering non-stop, its elegance, class and structure of the resort directly reflected the natural world outside. It’s clear wide windows and wooden frames simply made the resort soothing; besides we were welcomed by two beautiful Himachal ladies dressed in ethnic costumes.

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Day 1 and everyone especially I who enjoy every minute to bask in the winter sun was in no mood to stay indoors. We first went to eat breakfast at the cafeteria. The food looked scrumptious and I was in no mood to wait. As soon as I got inside the hall, I took a plate and started dumping varieties of food. Sneaking into the room through a wide window, were the rays of the sun, which allured me and others to go outside to take selfies and group pictures. The time was right and the weather was blessed, no one had complaints to free from their mouth for we were in the awe stunned moment. While some played cricket, few others went for a quick nap to freshen up for activities. While Gautam, Sibasish, Mohit, Suresh Ji, Neha, Chandan, Srishti, Saurabh, Vikas and I strolled down the offbeat trails to take few group pictures, what a way to start the morning!

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An adventure in the afternoon post lunch took me aflame, as I stumbled my way down the hill I saw a small playground installed with adventure activities. I waited eagerly for my turn as I watched Arpita (HR) struggle her way atop for the next obstacle, gasping as her face glowed with redness due to over excitement, ‘I assumed.’ I had my own share of happy pill as I gracefully slide down the zip line; ‘I believe I can fly’ moment lasted for few seconds as I stood in front of the new obstacle. The tire bridge followed by the commando net; the thrilling activity that slowed me was the hanging bridge because it had only a thin line to support my body but is an effective activity to pay attention to every step you take, stepping on every knot to ascend.

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As the night kicked in, the plan to sit outside by the bonfire kept me all excited. As I jaunt downstairs I came to see everyone in grand dance mood and I was the only one in super warm clothes. That didn’t back me from dancing, although after lots of efforts by my fellow colleagues I decided to shake a leg in Garhwali and Nagin songs ☺  the DJ had put me on trance. The legs of all that jumped melodramatically sat by the fire talking and feeling warmth by the fire. Soon, all the expressing and chattering lead all for dinner while I had a foot race with Mohit and Sibasish to reach the dinner hall. It literally made Mohit breathless, so breathless he did not eat his dinner. For me, the dinner was scrumptious as I dug in all the vegetable dishes but one heavenly sweet dish never ever to forget was ‘Kheer’ Yum! I can still sense how the warm milky rice melted inside my mouth, ‘a token from heaven.’

…this is what ‘WE’ came for…

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Our last night in fact, first and the last sleepover made me sober with a thought, OK, we got work the next day we reach. This kind of made me a party pooper but the mini antakashari kept on going in full swing. So did the debate, it kept the tenant and the visitors of room number 506 awake after hours. A deep discussion that fit perfect in the genre of bedtime was a night of Indian Horror Story. Sorry if it offends American Horror Story but as Gautam started reciting his share of paranormal occurring, it made me put his story into visuals and that made me teary eyed. While Gautam and Vikas had a parliamentary debate over science and fiction – Gods and Monsters. Chandan, Suresh Ji, Saurabh and I plunged into the fiery debate as judges; this perhaps was one of my most memorable moments of the trip.

…Tee-Ring Ring instead of Cock-a-doodle-do, quite unexpected, I was yearning for a country feel but well…

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After the wake-up call at 6 am, the hardest thing was to get up, I literally struggled to wake up and brush my teeth, but after seeing Chandan and Vikas sleep peacefully I went to bed again. It was only Suresh Ji who not only woke up hearing the first ring but also was out in the cold doing stretches to which Neha later accompanied which perhaps lasted for only few seconds. For about another 30 to 45 minutes of a power nap, I woke up with Neha yelling, we are late. We all woke up while some got ready some almost, the rush to the hall made me feel like I am in a boarding school late for breakfast. Late we were no doubt; the only ones in the hall were our team.

…the last sunrise in Mashobra…

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The Manla Homes Resort bus took us high up the lustrous mountains to set ahoy through the smooth turns of Himachal. The further we descended we were asked to state our utmost memorable moment by Pawan Kotiyal Sir from the Travel Department. After this, Harendra Rawat Sir (Travel Department) called out my name, to open with. Stumbling between seats I somehow made my way to the front, just as I began Arun Joshi Sir(Adventure experts) asked me to sing a Nagamese song, as I know very little I decided to sing a Nepali song instead, which lasted for a painful 40 seconds as everyone blankly stared at me.

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As we crossed the hills and pristine grasslands, I saw a red light in Panchkula, for a second I thought, are we in Delhi already? But very soon gathered my thought and concentrated on the music I was listening to. After about an hour or an hour half from Panchkula, we reached Ambala where we were to lunch in Mirchi Restaurant. To my imagination, I thought it to be large shag like any other roadside eateries but well, I was wrong, it turned out to be pretty impressive. Not just for the restaurant but how all delicacies we neatly placed before us, all we had to do was dig in and fill that belly.
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As we approached Delhi, everybody felt weary from all the flaming Antakashari ‘AGAIN’ only this time it was better and merrier and louder. The time was almost 8 pm and we had just crossed Haryana-Delhi border, where people got down one after the other. As I had my plans to halt in Akshardham I continued cuddling up in my warm jacket; as I passed the highway and reached my landing ground, I just didn’t want the trip to get over, besides, it was the warmth inside the bus that didn’t let me go. Eventually, we all had to get down breathing Delhi’s air ☺.

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Nothing as serene and blissful I felt anywhere than in Mashobra with new faces and destination. This trip truly helped me grow not physically but mentally as this was my first ever experience, my first ever office trip. Truly Madly Deeply in love with Himachal’s Mashobra {Manla Homes Resort} and I definitely plan to come back for more.

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About

Abhishek Gurung is a writer whose passion for food and travel is an unending affair. He likes going on treks and camping in the woods, loves exploring forts and architecture, he is a cycle enthusiast who likes to contribute something to the environment, travel photography and videography is another interest as he sees life in a cinematic point of view. He likes the idea of living in offbeat destination where the mode of communication is to interact with each other. Coming from Nagaland, he has visited some beautiful valleys and remote villages and appreciates nature as it is and as it should be.


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