An invite by its management to visit and review Casba, a B&B offering farm-stay experiences on the outskirts of Mohali, found me breakfasting on piping hot paranthas and tea in the manicured lawns of an evidently spanking new building replete with modern amenities; while uniformed staff waited around.
This seven-acre farmhouse, hemmed in by farmlands on two sides and a busy road and a railway track on the others, is located in village Swara on the Chandigarh-Sirhind highway. Well-appointed rooms (a tad musty due indifferent maintenance, or perhaps we arrived pre-season) on two levels, a swimming pool, restaurant, and recreational/gym facilities amidst vast lawns are juxtaposed alongside a guava orchard, some marigold fields and a tiny open-to-sides enclosure where the field-hand’s family lives. A lone goat masquerades as livestock. The rest are fibre glass.
Completely at odds with my own version of farm life, the owner, at hand to show us around, explains to us this concept of farm tourism. He shared that on his many visits overseas, he sensed the desire in second-generation Punjabis to visit ‘home’. Yet they were ill-equipped to handle the very features that define farm-life: open spaces, dust, unchained livestock, and the unhesitant ability to get your hands dirty when required. Ergo, the sanitised environment.
Ergo, too, the micro-introduction to rural existence. Fair enough, I say, for them pernickety sorts. It may be somewhat sub-par for those looking for the real McCoy, though. Visit for their yummy paneer and aloo parathas; get your gur-chai off the chullah. Laze around in the winter sun as you look out at rolling acres beyond the immediate premises. Do remember to call ahead, else you may walk into a film shoot or wedding ceremony…