I stare at the glazed panes on the window, the fan creaks, monkeys jump on the thiry feet high asbestos roof above my head, and I cant hear a sound. The floors are of stone, there are five beds (the room big enough not to get cramped by them), and table with a mirror above it, and a plastic chair. Pretty spartan. As the sun hides behind the clouds, the color of the glazed panes changed. I watch this play of lights and colour, and their intermingling, intently.
Thereafter, something connects. Instead of going out and around Matheran, we begin to spend more time here. The door opens to a small balcony, from which a staircase leads down to a lawn, unkept and wild. Monekys come and steal cigarettes, as we sit and smoke idly. A friendly neighbour from the next hut comes and tells us, how he came here for his honeymoon twenty-five years back, even before we were born. We smile, and run after the monkeys. The boy from Malad, who is the only staff here, serves us tea as the sun kisses the Ghats. In the evenings, the owners (Nancy/Maria/ Joseph Vaz, as their business card reads) bring their horse and run it in circles, its white mane flows and hooves thump the earth. We play table tennis in high breeze, barely able to keep the ball on the table…
In a span of twelve hours Matheran changes colour, the lights dim out early, the streets become filled with foreigners who have had a day-out in some hilly trail. The horses bow their head after a day’s toil. Their masters bring in grass and hay and massage their legs, as atonement of their sins. Few couples giggle, as they bargain with the bangle sellers.
However, I never stepped out of Hope Hall to see any of this. I slept the best I did in my life, in that little big hut, sixteen hours straight.
The miracle of Matheran: Hope Hall.