WE HIT THE HISTORIC grand trunk ROAD AGAIN,
as chuffed as a pair of pioneers. For a first outing after the lockdown, we could not have chosen better. At Mohali, we took a quieter country road, lined with trees which leaned over the path to touch each other, that is, when it did not have a stately irrigation canal gurgling past. The road had lurched north by then. At some point, there was pouring rain and the temperature plummeted. Once the skies cleared, we pulled over and popped open a flask of lukewarm coffee to dunk our cookies. Priceless.
* There are a number of check dams in Hoshiarpur, which have led to the creation of some spectacularly scenic waterbodies. Bring your boat, if you have one
On the last leg of the drive, we left the highway behind and drove between farms in the quiet afternoon. Finally, swerving past the gates of Citrus County Firdaus, we ran into an impressive pair of moustaches. They belonged to our host Harkirat Ahluwalia, a man with friendly eyes and an easy laugh. No, nothing can keep a Punjabi man down, not even a pandemic.
Harkirat’s family were the primary landlords of the area, and continue to own acres of farmland, where they grow as many as seven kinds of citrus and several vegetables. Besides, there are impressive stands of poplar, a profitable cash crop. The farmstay is a newer revenue stream. The original, at Chhauni Farms, which is also the family residence, is about a decade old, while Firdaus, their second property, is of recent vintage. This was heaven, reimagined as a farm. Harkirat promised that the row of poplars facing the 10 cottages that make up Firdaus will never be cut. The Lower Shivaliks looming in the distance seemed to agree.
Once we had inspected our well-appointed cottage—reserving special admiration for the sprawling bathroom— it was time to eat a big, fat lunch and plan our activities for the next two days. Of course, if guests so choose, they can do absolutely nothing at Citrus County, except emerge at mealtimes (or not even that; just elect to dine on your own private patio), but for those who swear by the active life, there’s enough and more to keep them out—or in, depending on your perspective—of mischief.
That epic LUNCH
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE