Sleepless in Ooty

Ooty is a delightful respite from all the hot places that we found ourselves in: Dubai, Hyderabad and Chennai. Isn’t it such a cute name? Ooty.

I have deep respect for the person who came up with this name because, truth be told, the official name of this town is உதகமண்டலம், which is just as complicated when written in English: Udhagamandalam.

However, since the British could not pronounce it well, it was renamed Ootacamund. I’m not kidding! But of course, that too proved to be too strenuous to pronounce, hence the shorter (and currently the more popular) name, i.e. Ooty.

I am immensely excited to spend my first night in this town, which seems to be centrally air-conditioned. Summer is at it’s harshest peak, yet I see people roaming around the streets at night in sweaters and jackets. Masood and I didn’t bring warm clothes, simply because we came here to glaciate ourselves (we’re a couple who come from the deserts of Arabia, hence the tendency to freeze when the temperature drops below 30 °C).

Anyway, so after an early dinner and some light walk around the hotel area, we decide to call it a night. I switch the lights off and draw the curtains so that I can watch the silhouette of the Nilgiri hills until I fall asleep. But I am unable to sleep.

It feels weird to be sleeping with the curtains drawn; the hills seem to be looking at us. Plus the moon is casting way too much light in the room; I prefer complete darkness.

It’s awfully quiet.  Except for the occasional barking of dogs, there is a deafening silence. An hour passes and I’m still tossing and turning uncomfortably. So I decide to break the peaceful night by talking to Masood. He listens with great interest, so  I continue narrating my childhood stories.  I go on non-stop until I realise that I am no longer getting any reactions from him, not even a yawn. He’s fast asleep and I’m still wide awake. How unfair!


  1. Even before I had started reading the post, I had said to myself,” Ooty??? what a beautiful name!”

    And then I had hardly proceeded beyond the post title when I caught sight of the picture…”Oh my God! What a shot…so lovely inside and out”.

    1. Ooty is a beautiful name, Ahmed Irfan. We stayed at a hotel called Venus, which is run by a really nice Muslim guy. The rooms are nice and spacious, and we got an amazing view as well.

  2. Nadia, you write beautifully :), I have been reading your journal every now and then and always love the way you describe things..Ooty is a lovely hill station. If you are up to it, they sell home made chocolates all over the hill station and also they always taste great, also you get good Indian tea, treat yourself to some if you have the time, enjoy your stay and keep writing,

    love lots

    1. Shubha, welcome to the blog!!! You can’t imagine how delighted I am to see your comment. Thank you so much for the sweet words.

      I’m not so much into chocolates, but I definitely tried the tea, and I must say that I had the best cup of tea in this place.

  3. Love the picture! And Oooty patootie- sho cute!

    Now that I’m married, I can say I TOTALLY know what you’re talking about ref: husbands- pah. They’re BOYS. What do they know about listening to childhood stories properly *wink*

    1. LOL @ Oooty patootie 😀

      Since most desi men didn’t go through the bedtime stories phase, I suppose that is the reason why they do not appreciate it in adulthood.

  4. Nice well written post. Actually I lived in Ooty for about 30 years and I am still in love with that place. Make it there often whenever possible. Keep writing.

  5. Hi Nadee! Very well written, as always!

    You use the most apt words to narrate your stories that keeps our focus stuck to your lines. Keep it coming dear 🙂

    You have a bright light showing up at the other end, I am sure! Our best wishes are with you.

    1. Prash!!! I love it when you leave comments on the blog (issi liye keep commenting often 😉 )

      And thank you for the best wishes ((hugs)) You’re the sweetest!

      Kisses to Tarun from me.

  6. My boy went to Ooty,Chennai and Coimbatore just last March thru’ a school trip! He enjoyed it tremendously! He bought quite a lot of stuff including chocolates.That’s because I clearly told him so :)It was so delicious!

    Nadia,do you speak tamil? Thank you about that little translation history about the name.It’s interesting how such a long name became so short 😀 Just like our natural lives.I guess that’s what we call evolving.

    1. Wow, we went to these same places, Lat. And like your boy, Masood and I also had a great time. But I suppose the weather was a less hotter when your son went in March (specially in Chennai and Coimbatore).

      No, I do not speak Tamil.

  7. Salams Nadia!
    Wow, you really are taking us on a journey through the maps of South India I believe! And beautiful pics… really a camera is handy when you visit the zoo! You might never know what the animals can be up to!

    1. Walaikum Assalam, Mrs Umer! South India is huge; I’ll be taking you to just a few places 🙂

      I never had so much fun in the zoo before because a point and shoot can only zoom up to a certain point, making the animal look very far away in every picture. But with the zoom lens, you bring the animal very close, like the picture that I took. It was very far from where I was standing, yet I was able to take a decent shot of it.

  8. Wow! I would be happy if I had such type of opportunity to not to have sleep where the hills stand out just beside the room and moon is throwing way the lights. 🙂

    So, what type of story you told………post about it. 🙂 and how many of these “Masood” was missed? 😀

    Take Care……sis.

    1. It’s fun to stay up until you realize that you have to be up early the next day – and have enough energy – so you could cover more ground in a limited period of time.

      I can’t tell those stories here, Shamim. My sisters, cousins, uncles, aunties, friends, neighbors, and colleagues read the blog. Almost all my stories involve one of them 😀

  9. Ooty and Goa are the only two places in India I know that are famous with “gora” tourists as well. Couple of people at work did India sometime back and they were raving about Ooty. I know it as the place that was the scene of many a Mithun movie! 🙂

  10. Aaaah..missing Ooty again. It’s a must visit place and a thrilling drive to reach this place crossing as many as 36 hair pin turns on hill. Alhumdulillah, we had a great time 🙂

    1. The drive up is not for someone who has sensitive stomach; reminds me of the people throwing up at the side of the road :S

  11. LOL .. I understand how it feels when your awake and there’s no one to accompany you or chat 🙂

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