I have a beautiful small house in the hills. It is about 3 km from Manali, in Himachal Pradesh. It is not much. Probably calling it a cottage is stretching it too far. I have got a couple of bedrooms, a small drawing room cum kitchen where we dine as well. There is storage and a small garage that is mostly empty. I have got another small room with just a single bed and a study built on the first floor. It is just about ten feet by ten feet but it has got a retractable ceiling and a wall made of glass with the rest of the roof being something of a balcony. This is the place where I like to spend most of my time.
In the front, there is a garden with some flowers in the front and trees lining the boundary wall. My mother has planted a few vegetables in the back that we regularly use in the kitchen. We mostly require only rice and eggs from the market.
A typical day starts with me waking up and going for a morning stroll. I often spend my nights in the room on the roof. So the first thing I see is the sun rising over the peaks. By 9 AM I am done with preparing breakfast, doing household chores and taking care of the garden. My mother does her puja and takes care of the vegetable garden and prepares a list of stuff I need to get from the market. I don’t need to go to the market everyday. But I like to cycle there. It is good exercise and I also get to meet the newspaper vendor. The paper we get delivered home is only in English. From Sharma ji I can even get the Bengali dailies. Too bad he does not do home delivery.
By 10 AM, I am done with everything and my mother gets started with teaching some kids from the neighborhood. I either go on my way to the Manali State Library or retire to my writing and research.
I have continued by blogging and now manage a decent web development business that I devote full time to. I make enough to meet my needs and save some. I like what I do and do what I like. Post lunch, I work on the office work till about 5 in the evening. I coach about a dozen students in the evening from 6 to 8 on the weekends on computer and math. On the weekdays I read books, record songs or watch movies with my mother. In the winters, there is heating. We have a small fireplace that keeps only the drawing room warm enough. But that is all we need. Sometimes friends, my brother or neighbors drop by and we have lively conversations.
We have dinner around 9 at night and retire to bed by 10 or 11.
Life is not all that happening. There are no discos, no parties to speak of. There are no amusement parks, or loud music. But there is contentment. There is the silence of the Himalayan mountains, the gentle wind the rustle in the leaves, our own small garden and trees, cute street dogs that play with us from time to time. There are good neighbors, majestic trees, little pollution and a wide blue sky to stare at. There is time and peace. Every day is a good day.