Chocolate, Chocolate everywhere… missing Ooty

We went for a long walk in the morning today. We walked from the Club Mahindra resort in Ooty to the Botanical Gardens and back, a distance of about 8 kms … Ooty is special because we honeymooned here, 25 years back. We managed to get a selfie just outside the TNSC cooperative guest house. Surprising that it’s still the same while Ooty has changed so much. 

Chellarams, the Botanical Garden entrance and Hotel Nahar are still where they were …Chellarams seems closed, will see if it’s open tomorrow. All over the town, there are so many shops and we counted nearly 30 “homemade chocolates” shops – if everyone is making chocolates at home, then can they get together as a cooperative movement rather than setting up so many shops. I wonder how much sales they have !! Also saw them in Kodaikanal..

I was disturbed with the “tourist” treatment at a couple of shops. Since its plum season, I bought some from one lady and then saw another lady having slightly bigger plums. So I wanted to buy some more and she starts taking the unripe ones saying they will really be sweet :):) really ?. We went to the local vegetable market and the guy I bought onions from tried palming off a few bad ones – he thinks I won’t be coming back anyway. Where does this attitude come from ?  Why can’t we treat tourists with even more care, so they feel like coming back again and again ?

The Charring Cross area is nice, some of the roads leading off from there are nice, but Ooty somehow is no longer quaint, pretty and nice smelling hill air…. It’s sprawling, filled with shops and dirty restaurants, and the air doesn’t smell sweet at all. I get the point that there will be progress in 25 years, but progress needn’t always be ugly. There are signs everywhere saying “keep Ooty clean”, “no polythene bags” and people litter everywhere, and plastic bags are everywhere !! Ban plastic bags, fine littering and clean up. 

We tried having breakfast at Aryaas, a vegetarian restaurant at the start of upper bazaar… Don’t step into this restaurant. The taste of the food was ok, but the restaurant was dirty, the floor was not clean and a peek into the kitchen made me swear off having anything more there. The Moddy’s ice cream at the Modern Store near the Botanical Garden is really nice. The departmental store is also well stocked. 

It was nice to see the place where we spent our honeymoon… But also sad that it hasn’t prospered in a pretty way !! Missing Ooty, the quaint pretty hill station. 

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