The Great Derangement of My Nainital

Outdoors

The Great Derangement of My Nainital

Illustration: Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty Images

I

t takes roughly 176 years for pristine wilderness to be brought to the verge of ruin. That’s about three generations of a family.

I was the last member born to the third generation of our family that has called Nainital our home. I was born on the day of Holi in 1978 and it was snowing. The first person to arrive at the government hospital that morning was my uncle who had braved the chill in his shorts and a shirt –fortified, no doubt, by large doses of rum. On his way he had plucked the few wildflowers that he could find and strung them together. As he laid this rough bouquet on the table next to the cradle he said, “I hereby christen him His Holiness. Happy Holi!”

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