We had been itching to come back to our place in Bhimtal all through Summer but dared not venture out after the dreaded 2nd wave, which claimed so many. In our society in the NCR, there were more than 300 cases at the time, 17 in our tower itself. So for more than two months we didn’t even go downstairs.
Finally, in June sometime, the number of cases in the society gradually came down to zero. This was a huge respite as we could now occasionally go out for a walk within the society boundaries. As slowly things started limping back to normal, our thoughts returned to Bhimtal. Last year, we had spent five months, including the two month national lockdown and the subsequent phased unlocks. However, the Internet connection there is not too reliable so we wanted to wait till our son’s exams got over. Once his semester break started, we thought it wise to wait for our second vaccination before traveling. Finally, around mid-July, we set out for Bhimtal.
We had all got our RT-PCR tests done two days before and got our reports the last evening. The journey was pretty uneventful, up till the Uttarakhand border. We stopped once on the way at the Tadka Dhabba. This is one of our favorite restaurants on the NH24 highway as it has outdoor seating and is pet-friendly. We usually tie our dog to one of the table legs, while devouring tandoori parathas and hot tea/coffee.
We stopped next at the Uttarakhand check post, a few kilometres before Rudrapur. Here, our Epass and RTPCR test were verified and a stamped token chit was given.
We were stopped two more times along the way and had to show this token to be allowed passage. At one of these places, those who hadn’t got RT-PCR done earlier, could get a rapid antigen test, and wait for results (usually 15 minutes or so) before they were allowed to move on.
We reached Bhimtal around 2:00 in the afternoon. We got essentials from the neighouring kirana shop and prepared a quick lunch of Bun and Anda Bhurjee. And after that, we were free to relax and enjoy the lake. After the humid heat of the NCR, the pleasant, cloudy weather of Bhimtal was a big respite!
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