As I landed in Delhi, I was having a mix of emotions. After all that pristine vast raw landscape and the people, this hit me like BOOM!
There was vastness here too and so contrasting. Yet unlike before where I would get into a shell and feel withdrawn, I accepted it. This was reality too.
After a delicious and I mean very delicious home made Punjabi chicken curry I ate, No, literally wolfed till my belly said ENOUGH I slept hard. It was as if all that was a dream.
A very short stay and before I could blink, I was at the airport again going to Dharamshala.
But before I go on further, I need to give an important back story..
When I was in Ladakh and just after I booked my tickets to Dharamshala, I got a message from a friend. He didn’t know I was going to Dharamshala. He saw some of the Ladakh pics I posted on facebook and messaged me that he would be in Dharamshala and would I by any chance be coming that side?? This did not feel like a coincidence at all!
And what am gonna say next still gives me goose bumps..
I messaged him immediately saying Yes! am there in Dharamshala around the same time and it would be great to meet him. Then he said he was part of a meditation group that got an appointment to meet the Dalai Lama in person and that’s the reason he was going, just for a couple of days. And… would I like to join him?
Imagine how I must be feeling when I heard that.. This was certainly not a coincidence. Dalai Lama and his teachings were pervading through my journey.. I still didn’t know how and why I thought of Dharamshala as my next journey and this is what I hear.
BUT.. Yes there was a BUT. there was a solid reason or so I thought I had which I cannot divulge but yes I said I would have loved to but considering the circumstances I don’t think I should join the group. I told him the reasons and he knew and understood it too.. So he said ok.. And all this was happening on the last day in Ladakh.
I told my friend about it and he looked at me and said ,”Why Not? Isn’t meeting Dalai Lama more important than holding onto anger? And even if the anger comes out at someone, let it out but don’t lose the opportunity.
I thought, yup how silly of me, I messaged him back saying I would like to join provided his meditation group was ok with me being included in it. They took the appointment and it was of course an inner circle, it’s normal to not feel comfortable to let someone they didn’t know to join in like that for such a special occasion.
I was feeling so much gratitude towards my friend, his openness in wanting to include me just like that and believe me, this is a selfless act. To share, to include someone in something so special.
He said he will get back to me after asking them. I didn’t think anything further than that. I was looking forward to meeting a friend, someone I know, someone familiar in Dharamshala..
I was looking forward to being alone there yet I was missing my friends too. You get used to it, that feeling of being taken care of and caring for them too. It was always nice to meet someone known in an unfamiliar place.
As I was landing in Dharamshala, what I saw was this contrast landscape than what I got used to from the past two weeks. Lush, total lush green.
The airport was breathtaking as we had to walk down the steps of the plane and walk quite a bit to the entrance. Open, really open and what a sight it was! Such a tiny and cute airport.
I got out, took a cab, a very friendly man – Anil. As we drove towards Macleodganj which is where I decided to stay, he patiently told me each area, region, where I should go, where can I walk, what all places i can explore.
I found a couple of backpacker hostels that was neat and nice but I really loved Pink House. This was one of the first backpacker hostels in Macleodganj. They renovated the place recently and it was funky, quirky and there were people of my age. It looked fun!
The adventurous part? To get to Pink House, one had to go down to at least 50 steep steps.Imagine going up and down for the rest of my trip 🙂 I loved it! It was uphill and down hill. I could see people with their backpacks puffing up and down, young and old it didn’t matter 🙂 Great! And the cab guy could drop me at the steps as I looked down.
I walked in and checked out if any rooms were available, there was and Ankush whom I would get to know better later took me around and to my room. There was even a balcony and as I looked up I saw the mountains. Green, foggy, enigmatic! I was blissed out just watching it as I sat in the balcony..
The hostel was managed by young guys, very friendly and helpful. I was so hungry because it was almost 4. I went to their small sit out and asked if they could suggest something they make best. Instantly he said Aloo Paratha! This Aloo Paratha would be my staple food throughout my Macleodganj trip 🙂
As I came back to the room contented, I just didn’t feel like getting out that day. Somehow I felt I needed that time out before i start walking, trekking, exploring. My body was shutting down, I was shutting down. I sat in the balcony reading a book, watching the mountains, watching the beautiful Elusive Dharamkot way up there.
I would be all set for tomorrow..