Almost every Delhi child from my generation would remember those pine cones we found scattered on mountain roads and meadows. Each one was unique and intriguing in its own way, resembling a tree. It often became a game to see who picked up the best ones (undamaged and near perfect in form) and how many.
Sadly, when it was time to go back to the burning plains, we were told strictly to leave behind most of our treasure. Whatever we did manage to sneak back home, we painted with poster paints and sparkle glitter. There they sat on the table or mantelpiece constantly reminding us of the beautiful hills they belonged to, the 'needly' trees they dropped from.
It is only in Kanatal that we found purple cones. Yes, purple. From a distance, they seemed so obviously purple. Almost like large black currant ice cream cones. When I returned to the lodge from my walk, I told dad about them. He wouldn't believe me! He had to see them to be convinced that I wasn't Alice in Wonderland. Those purple cones, we never painted them. Their uniqueness was their colour.
I can close my eyes right now and smell the mountains, the cones calling out to me to come pick them up again and give them a brief moment of stardom.