Every tourist city has a dummy attraction the one for tourists and another real attraction for locals, which feels dummy to tourist. We as tourist rarely get a chance to see such local attractions because they fall on completely opposite roads. This is the exact case of Nainital.
The bustling Mall Road of Nainital, is a tourist’s paradise. On one side of the road is the picturesque Nainital lake with pine mountains protecting it and a small view of Naina Devi temple on opposite side of the lake. The walkway for tourists is filled with aroma from road side coffee and tea stalls, a need at that cold temperature. Occasional popcorn and sweet corn stalls to tickle your taste buds. Benches on the walkway are filled with couples staring at the romantic lake, cold weather helping them get cosy. Women enjoy shopping Pashmina, Souvenir candles, Kashmiri Mats and many more. Children are kept busy with few video games shops, their father’s watching over them with a cup of coffee in their hand. But this road is mostly devoid of the locals except for the people having their business.
The road exactly opposite to Mall road, going towards bus stand had a local life at its peak that evening. To explore regional culture, local market is one of the best places. So, we went in there to find a huge crowd standing in front of a sweet shop. Inauguration ceremony of a renovated shop or a new branch of some old shop which was since 1984 was in full swing. We stopped for a few minutes and then decided to go ahead to check out rest of the market. The market for some reason seemed to have many shops selling multipurpose knives.
Watching us leave, a person next to us tapped on my shoulder and said “Ruko ruko abhi Amitabh Bhachchan ane wala hai.” (Trans: Wait Amitabh Bachchan is about to come out)
My reaction was, “Kya?! Amitabh Bhachchan is dukan me he?” (Trans: What! Amitabh Bachchan is in this store)
He excitedly said, “Are unhonehi to Utghatan kiya hai, Aaj pura saj ke ae hai vo bhi bina goggle ke.” (Trans: He only inaugurated the store, he is nicely dressed and mainly without goggles)
My expressions were about to ask “What do you mean without goggle?”, before actual words could come out, a loud cheer went up from crowd. My eyes were now fixed on Amitabh Bachchan… But no wait, why was Amitabh Bachchan looking so short and a bit out of shape? A laughter inside my head was avoiding coming on my face, this was a dummy Amitabh.
People still were cheering and taking selfies with him, in fact he had a body guard. Hilarious? But he seriously needed one. People had gone mad, shop owners from surrounding shops had left their shops unattended and were now part of this audience. The dummy tried enacting a dialogue of Amitabh ji making me laugh even more. But the locals did not care, they were busy enjoying their Dummy Amitabh.
The locals also must be laughing at we tourists spending Rs.50 for a small cup of coffee, buying candles costing Rs.150 or more, children playing video games by paying twice they pay in the malls, couples spending thousands of rupees just to sit on a bench.
Both laughed at each other, but both seemed to be happy in the end. Be it dummy Amitabh Bachchan or a well-created dummy scene on Mall road. Both of them brought smile on faces and created memories for life-time. By the grace of Naina devi, I was lucky to have memories of both the Dummy or for me Real attractions.
“Tourist’s destination is never a spot, but rather a new way of seeing things.”
Henry Miller (Edited-Abhishek).
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