My hair danced to the tune of the wind as the Scorpio zipped down the asphalt to Hoshiarpur. Around me, field after field of sugarcane dotted with rambling farmhouses reminded me of home. Further ahead were orange orchards, one of which I was to stay in for the next three days.
Having spent my childhood in tea plantations across northern West Bengal, I was curious to see how different life at an orange plantation in Punjab would be. We drove past the rows of tangerine and kinnow shrubs at Chhaun Farms towards Citrus County, the main farmhouse. I stepped out of the car and was greeted by Simba and Rufus, the resident labrador retrievers, followed closely by Harkirat Ahluwalia, proprietor, chef, resident DJ and expert conversationalist. I was led through the homely farmhouse to the enormous back lawn (lined with tents) for a delicious home cooked meal followed
by a slice of sinful cake baked by Jasveen, Harkirat’s wife.
There are several reasons why one should visit Citrus County: the warm hospitality, the superlative food, the kinnows that you can pluck right off bushes near the food tent and chomp into (like I shamelessly did through most of the day with the children of the house), the fresh air.
But I was here for a unique experience: a three-day Kaya Shudhi programme (that I was to complete in two) offered by Citrus County in collaboration with Hakim Ram Krishan Teda Clinic and Panchkarma. The clinic is run by fifth-generation Unani and Ayurveda practitioner Dr. Vikas Sood, his son Sumeet, and daughter-in-law Shweta.
On the outskirts of Hoshiarpur, the modest clinic reeks of authenticity, the extent of which I was to discover in the aftermath of my therapies.