The same year he got me the globe, also happened to be the one when father took us to Nainital. As far as my memory goes, this was my first official travel outside the city of my birth. We lodged in a guesthouse by the lake. It was mid April, well before the holiday season and the mornings were misty and mellifluous and the malls deserted. We galloped on richly dressed ponies and pedaled boats in the lake, with swans and ducks grabbing fishes at stone’s throw. The pines and deodar-riddled slopes rose into the blue sky where sun often played hide and seek amidst the truant clouds. To my eyes there couldn’t be a prettier place in the entire universe and the lake-view stand ice cream vendor the finest specimen of his trade. We soaked in the sun, walloped in the gallant breeze and generally watched life go by in the sun-drenched splendor. My brother (the thinker) brooded and wrote his melancholy poems, while mother sang soulful songs, I got lost all the time and my father enjoyed his siestas. One morning the clouds suddenly gravitated downwards and soon our lodge got totally draped by the grey-white clouds. Through the skylight smoke of cloud poured unabated, inundating our rooms completely in an opaque drape. While my brother dived beneath the bed to escape the onslaught, I ran out with a bag to grab as much cloud as I could for posterity. It was a riveting sight. Absolutely nothing was visible and ghostly forms appeared and disappeared every now and then shimmering like mirage. The clouds themselves danced and twirled into million shapes and sizes and how I wished that I had the magic carpet and could fly off into the oblivion. Much later I learnt that we indeed had a magic carpet and it was called the ‘Air India’, but then that’s a different tale and needs to be told some other time.