With the sun sending the temperature soaring, I found refuge in the Nilgiris, the Queen of Hills, which saved my family for a few days from the scorching heat. Usually, people returning from a hill station may tell you about the weather and the scenery, but there's something better that I wish to write about — the people of the Nilgiris.

Camaraderie

You are welcomed with a warm smile everywhere. Agreed, it is a tourist place and people mean business, but the smile is not fake. My cabbie, more a boy than a man, had wonderful stories to tell about their camaraderie. I was surprised to see how there is no jealousy among the cab drivers.

Whenever one party has more visitors than they can handle, they share the customers with other cabbies. They do not look at it as a sense of loss in business.

Likewise, whenever a driver goes to Coimbatore either for pickup or drop, he informs his friends/shopkeepers and materials which are not available in Ooty are bought from Coimbatore. This helping tendency does not stop with shopkeepers and cabbies, it's the case with everyone in Ooty.

Livelihood

You cannot see a beggar in Ooty (rather, I did not come across one). My cabbie said, “Sir, this is not a place for lazybones. There is a job available for everyone. If you are prepared to work, you can never go hungry.”

I agreed with him fully. Gone are the days when summer alone brought tourists. Now tourists flock this hill station throughout the year.

As I was coming down the hills, it was dark and I looked back at the Queen. It was almost invisible. It is no wonder; the Queen spreads a blanket of clouds and shields her wonderful subjects from the evil eyes of other people. I salute these simple, yet wonderful people.

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