Wednesday April 8, 2020
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Snowfall in Uttarakhand, a spotless village

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Uttarakhand

Chopta (Uttarakhand): The clouds kissed the mountain peaks; the sun played hide and seek, peeking out at times from behind those clouds, its rays cutting across the edges of spruce tree that stood tall on the valley, making their way to reach up to me. It kept raining while I was travelling to the hills – and then it snowed.

Taking a break from my routine, I was heading for Chopta, a small town in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Located 8,790 feet above sea-level on NH 58, the picturesque town is surrounded by mountains that offer glimpses of the mighty Himalayan range.

The road would bend and curve at every possible angle it could; the Ganga river was in its majestic colours – sometimes seablue, sometimes robin and at times skyblue; sometimes calm and then ferocious as it wound its way down, my constant companion as I approached my destination from Rishikesh.

On my way came three main confluences – Devprayag where the Alaknanda meets the Bhagirathi and takes the name of Ganga; ahead was Rudraprayag, the confluence of the Alaknanda and the Mandakini; and Karnaprayag, where the Alaknanda amalgamates with the Pindar.

The weather became cold as it was raining, making for a damp and dull environment. It gradually turned cold, with the wind chilling me to the bone benumbing my body – but my travelling spirit was indomitable.

Travelling in local bus gave me a chance to assimilate the local culture of the Garhwal region in which Chopta falls. The ‘pahari’ song being played in the bus and some small talk with the locals provided some relief during the hectic journey.

Though I thought I was successful in defeating the freezing climate, the demotivating rain and the sharp turns in the road were bearable but something heart-breaking was awaiting me.

As I was approaching Chopta after a tiresome bus journey of almost seven hours, soft white flakes began falling. The road and the valley got a white make-over and the hills were enveloped in a white sheet. Within moments, the road and the adjacent area had turned into a white ornament and the hill range looked no less than a necklace.

By the time snowfall stopped, the day had ended and the road to Chopta was blocked. Far in the distance, the sun bid adieu to the day, smashing the dull sky with a splash of red.

Mother Nature mesmerised me with her art of creating an enchanting scenic view. It looked no less than a painting, where every stroke of brush defined how she played with colours, with the sky serving as a canvas.

With a heavy heart, I settled for the night in a small village called Mandal, below Chopta, whose scenic charm hypnotised me the next morning.

The mountain range was standing tall just across the window of my room, glittering as the first rays of the sun touched the snow-clad peaks. The pine, spruce and maple leaves blinked at the sun’s rays and danced to the tune of the cold breeze blowing across the village.

Along with the whispering of the wind, the tinkling sound that a nearby tranquil stream made as it rushed over the stones on its bed, mingled into the atmosphere, accompanied by the chirping of birds to create a rapturous mood.

The dead maple leaves lying on the wet road welcomed me as I crunched them below my feet while I was engulfed by the wondrous beauty of the village. I recollected a few lines from Robert Frost’s poem The Mountain: “When I walked forth at dawn to see new things/Were fields, a river, and beyond, more fields,” while I strolled across the tiny village early in the morning.

Mandal village exudes a pristine charm. Away from the cacophony of city life, the village turned out to be the perfect gateway to sooth my soul.

While I was returning from the village I remembered another Frost poem, The Road Not Taken: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less travelled by”. I could not take the road that leads to Chopta, but the picture perfect Mandal village was no less a surprise to me with its beauty. (Somrita Ghosh, IANS) (pic courtesy: teambhp.com)

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Overall Hiring Activity in India Declines by 18%

Recruitment activities across all experience levels saw a negative growth

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Recruitment activities across all experience levels saw a negative growth. Pixabay

Overall hiring activity in India declined by 18 per cent in March, with travel and airlines, hospitality and retail industries witnessing a massive 56 per cent drop in offering jobs as compared to March last year, leading job portal Naukri.com said on Tuesday.

The retail sector saw 50 per cent drop in hiring, followed by auto/ancillary (38 per cent), pharma (26 per cent), insurance (11 per cent), accounting/finance (10 per cent), IT-software (9 per cent) and BFSI (9 per cent), according to the ‘Naukri JobSpeak Index’ for March 2020.

According to Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer at Naukri.com, the hiring activity for the first 20 days on March 2020 saw only a 5 per cent decline. “However, due to the nationwide lockdown, there was a substantial drop in recruitment activity in the last 10 days, which resulted in overall drop of 18 per cent in hiring,” said Goyal.

The hiring activity showed early signs of slowdown starting from January where the index grew by only 5.75 per cent, followed by no growth in February. The job market across cities registered a dip in hiring activity.

The decline was led by metros, wherein Delhi declined by 26 per cent, followed by Chennai and Hyderabad at 24 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively. In Delhi/NCR, pharma industry saw a dip in hiring by 66 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.

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Recruitment activities across all experience levels saw a negative growth. The demand for professionals in hospitality (63 per cent), banking (28 per cent), accounting (23 per cent) and IT-Hardware (22 per cent) sectors marked a substantial negative growth in the Capital.

Overall, there was an across the board decline in hiring activity at experience levels as well with senior experience bands (over 13 years of experience) witnessing the sharpest decline of 29 per cent while the entry-level experience band (0 to 7 years) saw a decline of 16 per cent.

Some of the key industries like IT, BPO/ITES, BFSI and accounting/finance that form a significant base of hiring activity in India within the white collar segment have shown a lesser decline during these unprecedented times.

Naukri
Overall hiring activity in India declined by 18 per cent in March, with travel and airlines, hospitality and retail industries witnessing a massive 56 per cent drop in offering jobs as compared to March last year, leading job portal Naukri.com said on Tuesday. Wikimedia Commons

As compared to the overall ‘JobSpeak’ index decline of 18 per cent during March 2020, the hiring activity in IT-software industry declined by 9 per cent, IT-hardware by 7 per cent, accounting/finance by 10 per cent, BFSI by 9 per cent and BPO/ITES by 1 per cent.

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New jobs for professionals in the hotel/restaurants, ticketing/travel/airlines and marketing/advertising/MR/PR sectors witnessed a dip of 51 per cent, 48 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. Functional roles in HR/administration (29 per cent), banking/insurance (23 per cent), sales/business development (20 per cent) and IT-software (16 per cent) also witnessed a decline.

“It is a great time for jobseekers to upskill themselves be leveraging e-learning,” said Goyal. (IANS)