Monday, February 18, 2013


We have virtually grown up and lived most of our lives in Doon – from the age of three to 24 and then have gone back several times a year because the parental house is in Clement Town. The plural WE denotes contributions by yours truly and my not-so-little-anymore niece Karuna Dayal –

1. You have something or the other to do with Ruskin Bond, Victor Banerjee, Nayantara Sahgal et. al.

2. In spite of making a career-killing elsewhere, you have still done your B.Ed in those decisive years when you didn’t know what to get into. Plus you must have also sat for those CPMT exams……….

3. Number One and Count Down are places where you first started going out to, as a young teenager and enjoyed your first espresso, pizza, burgers, Chinese food etc.

4. Stick jaws and plum cakes are your favourite sweet things and gift ideas to bring back to people.

5. You are so proud of the fact that 45 minutes out of Doon in ANY direction gets you to a scenic spot.

6. You have often trekked to Muss. or gone on day visits on many a weekend.

7. Walking on the Mall in Muss., leafing through new arrivals at the Bookstores next to Chic Chocolate and enjoying chocolate softie and cheese buns at Chic Chocolate were your idea of upmarket fun.

8. You have gone to Tibetan Market, again and again, to beef up your wardrobe with the replicas of stuff popular on the international fashion scene – scarves, jackets, hep T-shirts with pictures of Rockstars, belts, socks, shoes………….

9. You hated the Welhamites because you were from CJM and they seemed more elitist or had an ongoing tussle with you on YOUR brother school – St. Joseph’s.

10. A family dinner outside meant at places like Kwality, Madhuban and Moti Mahal………..

11. YETI was the hallmark for Chinese food in the Valley for decades.

12. If it is Chaat and Aloo tikkis you craved for then the place to go to, ALWAYS, was Chaat wali Gali, diagonally opposite Gaylord’s.

13. You always caught the nicest of Hollywood flicks in CAPRI or the morning shows in Prabhat – Tootsie, Rambo, Against All Odds, Lonely Lady (yes that Harold Robbins semi-porn too), Omen series, Nightmare on Elm Street, Heavenly Bodies (which the local louts thought was a blue film and sadly for them turned out to be a dance flick)…………

14. Doon is famous for a lot of its localities’ names ending with the famous ‘wala’ word like Dalanwala, Doiwala, Bharuwala, Beriwala, Lachiwala, Bullanwala, Harrawala, Teliwala, Banjarawala, Jogiwala, Mohabbewalla, Morrawalla and the list goes on and on…

15. Visits to FRI, IMA, Wildlife Institute of India was a moment of honour for school children though most of it was for fun and it is only now that we realise that we have these premier institutions in Doon.

16. You have always been proud of all the ranges of Rajaji National Park and have gone there often for excursion, picnics, safaris etc.

17. Having moved out of Doon and into flats for professional reasons, you have always been slightly snooty of the fact that you have a sprawling bungalow you can boast of, back in Doon.

18. Having a mini orchard of guava, papaya, litchi, plum, chakotra, mangoes and pear trees, in your backyard, is commonplace for you.

19. You MUST have witnessed the POP – Passing out Parade at IMA at some point or the other.

20. Your idea of fun and sports has included Horse Riding and Swimming.

21. In certain years, you have enjoyed snowfall in Muss and the surrounding hills and heard from the older generation of the time when it used to snow in Doon.

22. You have cycled to school and bicycle has been your mode of transport for several of your growing up years.

23. You’ve been taken to Sahastradhara by your family either for family picnics or sulphur cleansing rituals.

24. Willy-nilly and regardless of your religious non-inclinations you have been on spiritual treks up the various hill peaks to all the Devi Dhams – Surkhanda, Santala et. al.

25. On purchase of any new vehicle – Luna, Scooter, Bike, Car, you absolutely have gone to Daat Kali for the mandatory puja and breaking of the coconut in front of your vehicle.

26. Your idea of pure fun and dare devilry has stemmed out of bike rides through the Daat Kali tunnel.

27. You’ve taken part in several Dance Competitions held at St. Thomas, Hotel Aketa and that Hotel near MKP whose name escapes me at the moment.

28. Having done your schooling from Doon, you’ve most often than not graduated from MKP, DAV, DBS before moving onto greener pastures.

29. You thought that the Bun Samosa at the chai-ki-dukaan on DBS Chowk was unbeatable and it WAS.

30. You knew that the place to go to for keema samosas was NANNY’s and no other.

31. If you studied in MKP then you detested its real name that MKP expanded into and you never ever referred to it by the full name.

32. The place to get good English music was always Pratap’s on Rajpur Road.

33. Dance parties at your home or your friends’ places was your idea of weekend fun and New Year’s Eve always meant party hopping.

34. As girls, you always gazed at in fascination and then jeered at the Gentleman Cadets (GCs).

While the above are our own, here follow some other interesting ones posted on the Facebook Group – You know you’re from Dehra Dun if…, created by Kamayani Sharma (Fergusson College) and managed by Nakul Saxena (India)- Jobless but painfully cool man about town. Their list is –

– You and your gang from the city refer to it as Doon

– You’re still unsure of the spelling of the damn place after having spent almost all your life there…is it Dehradun? Dehradoon? Dehra Dun or Dehra Doon????

– Telling people where you’re from elicits heavy sighs and an expression of envy, usually followed by them saying, “It must be very green and beautiful na?”

– After the aforementioned question, you struggle inwardly about whether to keep up the illusion of Dehradun as a cosy, idyllic hill station that has been perpetuated since 1923 or disabuse them of the notion and tell them exactly how populated, polluted and criminal it has become.

– You’re always asked whether you went to Doon School or Welhams (even though you haven’t)

– People squint their eyes and mumble a sentence with the word Mussoorie in it right after you tell them you’re from Dehradun

– You have gone to Saluja’s or Universal’s right after report card day and the blokes at the counter handed you a pre-packed set of textbooks, notebooks and a plastic box of crayons

– You and your friends have seen English films dubbed in Hindi at Prabhat, Krishna Palace or Natraj (Makdimaanav, Loha, Sitara Jung: Humshaklon ka Hamla etc. etc.) and have heard horror stories about what seedy places Chhayadeep and Payal are

– You have defended your school’s honour to the death at tuitions when people from other schools ganged up against you

– You have spent more than Rs. 100 doing vellagiri at CCD and Barista and then wished you had spent Rs. 10 for an A1 coffee at the Buffet next door

-Pizza Hut and McDonald’s opening up was a big event

– You have seen adolescent males wearing fishnet/bicep pinching shirts, bum-hugging jeans and 200-year-old Cuban heels (‘stud waale’), usually with their hair swathed in smelly, roadside-barber gel and these people have leered at you

– You know what BTM (Behenji Turned Mod) means

– You use the phrases ‘jhak maarna’, ‘jhand banana’, ‘launde/laundiyan’, ‘bhayankar’, ‘ajee ghanta’, ‘oh bhains ki’, ‘deewar taapna’, ‘kaam tepna’ and the like liberally in every conversation

– You curl the ends of your Hindi words regularly (eg. kar liyo, de diyo etc.)

– If you go to college slightly down south, people marvel at your level of Hindi and the Sanskriticised form you use

– Momo has to be had every week from whichever street stall you can find

– You’ve been illegally manoeuvring a two-wheeler around town since you hit double digits

– You don the helmet only when kindly autowalahs warn you that ‘aage polees hai’

– Flapping your hand for vikrams and then clambering onto them, squeezing into the tiny space next to an obese woman or a lecherous oik, has been done ad nauseum by you

– Peering closely at every vikram to make out the no. has been done ad nauseum by you

– Swearing you’ll “never take a fucking vikram again” has been done ad nausem by you (and then conveniently forgotten because it’s still THREE EFFING RUPEES)

– You do the following at least 3 times a week: flag down an auto, tell him where you wanna go, have him quote an exorbitant price (coz naturally, there’s no meter), try and negotiate, have him shake his head sullenly, pretend to walk away and have him call you back frantically as he agrees to meet your price halfway. Rinse, repeat.

– Rajpur Road and Astley Hall were the cool hangouts for you

– Ellora’s has been the one place you can expect to sate your never-ending lust for good bakery products

– You know sinister-sounding places like ‘Chakku Mohalla’ and ‘Khooni Gali’

– Bindaal Pul has to be a constant geographical fixture in nearly all direction-giving exercises

– You’ve seen Gandhi Park smack in the middle of the city for years but have never bothered to go

– You were sad when Kwality Restaurant closed down in 2008

– In the pre-Pizza Hut/McDonald’s days, you had birthday treats at Bossa Nova or Countdown or Udipi

– You get your household sweets from Gupta’s, Kumar’s or Bengali Sweet Shop

– You have ever been hit on by RIMC cadets

– You have seen ‘So-and-so 4 G.S./P.S.’ sprayed all over the walls and wondered what the abbreviations meant

– You remember being shamefully thrilled when it turned out the guy who’d shot Phoolan Devi was not only from Dehradun but also remembered him being a ‘So-and-so 4 P.S.’ in question!

– When references to the IMA, Ordnance Factory, Survey of India, Wadia Institute, Wildlife Institute and the FRI invariably crop up in textbooks, everyone in the class gives each other retarded smiles

– You have sat next to/shopped with/eaten alongside/leched at Tibetan Buddhist monks (or perhaps are one, although the chances of that are quite low, what with all the ‘abstinence from worldly matters’ thingy) and sneaked a peek at their shiny sneakers peeping out from beneath their maroon robes.

– Someone you know has made it to the IIT

– You have the dirt on everyone in each school because of the tuition network and have mastered the art of turbo-goss by the time you’re in college

– You manage to keep a tab on what everyone else from Doon is up to and can be counted on to tell anyone about anyone else (specifically city/college/current lover) at any given point of time

– All said and done, you LOVE GOING HOME AND BEING THERE, flaws and all!

If there are any that I have missed, kindly message me and I will put them up…everyone from Doon is welcome!

By popular demand:

-If you have gobbled down bun tikkis from the stall at Dwarka Store

-If you have sniggered x number of times at the name GAYLORD…Gay Lord…geddit geddit *sigh that one never grows old*

-You have passed weird-ass billboards advertising DJ Melodica

-You have seen most Hindi films on the local cable channel – PRIME TV – and you have mocked their channel colofon

-You have burst your seams guffawing at the infamous Babool Patta Store ads and everyone knew the words of the voice-over by heart.

Special mention to Pulkit Sharma:

-If you have passed the wheeled platform/orchestra/paraphernalia of Rawat Band in some seedy lane

-If you have laughed HARD AND LOUD at the way that the ‘frontman’ of Rawat Band bawls out a genocidal version of ALL the frikkin’ Hindi songs (“BOLO TARARARA”)and then proceeds to systematically slaughter ‘Englis’ songs by bands at least a decade outta style eg. Vengaboyz

-You have passed Digvijay Cinema next to Ghanta Ghar and pretended not to notice it if you were with adults (coz it’s X-rated) and cackled at the classics being shown there if you were with friends. For example: ‘Maalish Waali’, ‘Chulbuli Babie’, ‘Maut Ka Nanga Naach’, ‘Din Mein Sister, Raat Mein Bistar’, ‘Din Mein Bhaiya, Raat Mein Sainya’ etc. etc.

Submitted by Nakul Saxena:

-Your school organised an annual trip to Lachchiwala, called it a picnic…..

-…And on reaching there you found out that four other schools had the same recipe for fun

-You proceeded into the Paltan Bazaar only after religiously tasting the Gaylord softy….and a few more steps led you to the aroma of sambhar emanating from the Laxmi Restaurant

-You felt exceptional excitement because of the fact that your state name has an abbreviation U.K.

-Your guests and visitors (from outta town) waited eagerly for it to get dark so that they could see the twinkling lights of Mussoorie from your terrace

-The density of nursery schools ran into thousands per square kilometre.

-You have spent half of your lifetime in a traffic jam on Chakrata Road.

– Despite being one of the most important landmarks, you never cared what the clock atop Ghanta Ghar read.

-You believe the most torturous place on the planet is the 50 odd meter stretch through Machchi Bazaar and you became capable of holding your breath in for record-breaking stretches of time as you wound your way through it

-On seeing foreign tourists in the city you thought “Abe yahan kya dekh rahe ho oopar (Mussoorie) jao na..”

-You used Rajpur Road like hell and never knew where exactly Rajpur is

-You never realised that ‘Vikram’ is actually the trade name of the vehicle and (extension mine) at some point in school you had a shitty policy debate about banning vikrams except it was discussed under such respectful fonts as ‘My Doon: Clean and Green’ or ‘Pollution Control in Doon Valley’

Some more of my own:

-You have seen stuff like ‘Sirf Tum’, ‘Dekho Magar Pyaar Se’, ‘Buri Nazar Waale Tera Muh Kaala’ (replete with black faced, red tongued matka thing painted on) behind vikrams along with Nirvick Chhajta’s worthy additions:

‘Rab ne likhi saddi kismat, kachi pencil naal’;
‘Main bade hoke truck banuga’ (that one’s behind autos);
‘Zakhmi Parinda’;
‘Malik di gaddi, driver da pasina, chalti hai road pe , banke HASEENA’

– You thought Bobby Soup Bar opposite Orient Cinema constituted fine dining

– The local ice creams of choice were Rita, Jolly, Joy, Tivoli and Mebrose…and you’d see their carts being wheeled around all the time

Courtesy Lakaki Pant:

– While coming from Delhi or Lacchiwala, you always spot hundreds of monkey sitting alongside the road

– Before the opening of all the major brands in Doon, shopping meant going to Paltan Bazaar

– You have often had hawkers coming to your doorstep to sell flower pots

– Living in apartments and flats seems like a very new concept to you as a few years earlier there were none in Doon

– You have often done a ‘tripling’ or even a foursome on a two-wheeler and no one seems to think it’s something out of the ordinary

– Hot Bites is one place you always go when you don’t want to be seen

Rakesh Bhatia’s insight:

– You know what Fantu and Fantu-bazi means and use it daily in your conversations.

– I read BTM somewhere, but there was something called BHMB as well (Won’t expand it here)…

– You have scrolled down on your scooter/bike/Hero Puch from Rajpur to at least Astley hall hundreds of time

– You like Kumar ki Kulfi and Kotwali ke saamne ke Gulab jamun

– You relished Joshi/Buffet ka burger

– Have spent a lot of time at Capri shopping centre surfing the internet during the initial days of cyber cafes.

– know “Bangali Mohalla” and “Nalapani” as some of the dreaded places

– Guchupani was one of the favourite hangouts

– New guys won't understand this… Entering and stealing from Amrood, Aam aur lichi ke baagh.

– If you like Orient ka paan

– If you remember some of the best hotels as Hotel Nidhi and Shahenshah (Now Great Value)


John Dayal said...

Must do a long on on D'doon one of these day
but a coincidence: my daughter is named Karuna, Karuna John currently a journo in Bangalore!

Siddharth said...

Totally loved this piece....I so want to visit Doon....regret not goin dere during my bro's IMA days..

nd ya makes me feel nostalgic abt my Nainital life...:)

Aruna Dhir said...

Thank you Siddharth.

It is beautiful that I write, but it is wonderful that you have the time to read and appreciate.

Heartfelt thanks.

All the best for your enterprise.

peeyush said...

my my aruna...i knew u were always so talented....and i'll need more time to go through your blog....kuddos!

Anshuman Dandriyal said...

nice work <<<>>> i really appreciate the long article nd perhaps what is even more appreciable is that u did not left a single point unmentioned about dehradun ........... one of the best towns across ..........

P.S.actually being a josephite i dont HATE the whelamite girls the no. i have encountered were pretty good ....

Ajay said...

To add to the delights of leechee, amrood and aam, I also remember picking wild berries along the Rispana!
This was as late as the mid 80's!

Anonymous said...

Aruna,i must compliment you for the beautiful blog on Doon.Being a fauji and having stayed all my life outside Doon,i realise how good, nice and quiet our Doon is.You can take a man out of Doon but wont be able to take Doon out of him....

shilpi said...

It's just awesome. I am out of words now.You have covered every single point.I can associate myself to every single line. It's like a recap days that I spent in Hometown.

I feel so proud and lucky that I belong to such a lovely place.

Thanks a lot for writing such an outstanding piece for us.

neha sharma said...

Wow !! Was laughing and crying at the same time.

Bharat Kukreti said...


This is fantastic! Just couldn't help noticing Mehngaram's samosas and Totaram's pineapple juice missing from the list - although these might sound alien to those not familiar with Doon of the 80s. And of course, there used to be the omnipresent Lala at the school gate of every school selling chooran, gatta and kadakka... ohhhh, here I start again!!

And yes, who can forget the new year dance parties, you remember the one at my place...?? hahaha...

Unknown said...

Lacchiwala & FRI are the places we plan to go in every annual vacation to dun/doon/ dehradun/dehradoon. When nostalgic, love to listen dun dun dehradun... Frm beatleB