This is an image on a window of a Punjabi man welcoming visitors to his dhaba, a roadside restaurant. Dhabas are found all over India and there must be hundreds of thousands of them. They serve as a place for any traveler, but particularly for truck drivers and bus drivers, to stop for a meal and to relax for a while – you can see in this photo that there are several tour buses parked outside the window and there would have been at least several more. When I get off a bus at a stop like this, I always make a note of exactly which bus is mine, and keep a careful eye on it. I really don’t want to have my bus and my luggage leave without me!
Dhabas may serve local food, but very often they serve Punjabi food, that ubiquitous Indian cuisine loved all over India and the world.
I remember that the bus I was travelling in stopped at this dhaba at about midnight. I’d eaten already and I wasn’t particularly hungry but I certainly wasn’t going to pass on some chai (tea) and a valuable chance to go to the toilet!
I also remember that a storm began – the thunder cracked so loudly above us that people ducked to the ground in a mixture of surprise and fear, myself included.
Actually I can’t remember where I took this photo. I think it could have been on the way from Delhi to the alpine village of Kasol in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. As we drove into that state and along its extremely windy mountain roads, I began to feel very, very queasy, and the rest of my night was spent concentrating on not vomiting…