Sirion is a world away. If you take the train to Murti Colony and get off where the railway tracks end, gather your wits against the gathering storm of taxi drivers begging you to get in because 'they are just about to go (RIGHT NOW!) to Gabalpur or Sirion School Gate' you are surely on your way there.
As I was saying, you gather your wits against them and make a bargain with one sensible looking one and dump your bags and board a seat in the sumo taxi.
As soon as your sumo goes out of Murti Colony's limits, you start to feel the cool air drift in from your window and rejoice to see you are heading towards the green hills and furthermore the white peaks of Himalayas. A relief from the heat of the plains, though Murti Colony is actually a foothill town, dwindling between plain and hilly.
Gabalpur you will see first. Once you pass the oak forest and roadside tea shops. Gabalpur, on a weekend or a school holiday is overrun with Sirion school kids. It wears a certain tint of sepia. As though you were wearing sepia glasses when your car drove out from the forests into the town streets. The shops are quaint and smirks of old school kitsch. The houses are old and vintage and yet not overly classy in a way its overbearing on you. The town overlooks Lake Hira (which means diamond in Hindi) that sits like a dark jewel between towering mountains, and on a clear sunny day reflects their majesty as though it were her's.
Anyway, before I get carried away let me lead you on. From here you can decide to stay on at Gabalpur and enjoy a cup of tea by the road or coffee at Onesius Cafe or lunch at Arun Hotel or Tibetan momo's at Aunty Corner, or you can decide to go on to Sirion School, because from the Mall, Gabalpur, you can see Sirion's towers shimmering in the sun, way up ahead the mountains and closer to the clouds.
Be wary of the road that leads from here to Sirion Gate. It is only 5 kilometres but it reeks with bandits and rumours of haunted corners. Turpin Bridge, which sits halfway from Gabalpur to school, as the story goes, was the scene of a suicide of a girl from West Tower, Sirion School, more than 50 years ago, and therefore a scene of spooky hauntings. Many have claimed to have seen a girl in a white night gown (could ghost stories get anymore cliche, I have to demand) standing on Turpin Bridge when the night is lit by a full moon and when the gurgling brook below is strangely quiet.
Sirion greets you the moment you reach the pine forests. You can see it nearing as your car picks up speed upon sighting the destination. The towers gleaming in the sun. The windows picking up strands of sunlight. And the sprawling landscape of rolling mountains surrounding it. Atlast you are here. Sirion.
It is a sight. Sirion is.
But don't just stand there and look. Enter, come inside the gates.
"Some dusky afternoon beckon me again.
Warm air shaded by the pine needles beckon again.
People I knew so well call me back.
Towers and lake, gleaming in the moonlight.
They beckon me."