What with McLeodganj and even Dharamkot being overrun by gaudy JBL speakers and Toyota Fortuners with Delhi license plates, I decided to stay back in Dharamshala this time and look for a quiet, isolated place to stay. And with sheer dumb luck found Ballu's homestay. Abhishek Madhukar, the man running the show, is as gracious and chilled out as any host I'd like to meet. He has created an absolute no-fuss, peaceful and quaint little facility, nestled away from the downtown hustle, in the middle of the woods and next to a gushing stream. Kicking it back on the bed with a book, listening to the rain pattering on the slate-tiled roof of the minimalist and rustic bedroom was exactly the kind of respite I was looking for and I found it. The two canine friends - Habibi and Begum, easy access to Maggi and chai, and no risk of running out of books and magazines made my stay at Ballu perfect.