I don’t remember when I finally slept, maybe an hour before dawn
The first thing I did when I woke up was to unzip the flap of the tent and look up and I saw the rain stopped.
It was still cloudy but absolutely no rain… and I was wondering Wow! so this is how you teach us all some lessons huh?
24+ hours of non stop rain, thunder and lightening and now this..
As of all of us woke up one by one and looked around, I could see most of them had sleepless nights while some lucky ones blissfully slept their way through.
Omshree and myself finally saw what was that metal sound all about. The Dining area tent got ripped off and the kitchen utensils were completely hurled all over the campsite. We saw the big Handi that was making those sounds at our tent.
The whole campsite looked kind of ravaged. Utensils everywhere and 2-3 portable toilet tents flew off! They had to install it again. Almost everything looked upturned.
Mayank walked towards Omshree dead tired saying the water came inside their tent. It was freaking cold through the night. The same with Seema and Ridhi, the whole carpet inside was wet.
We were so lucky, at least we had a warm tent and nothing got in. All those complaints just vanishes after you see others condition.
We were tired but smiling. What a journey it has been. We shared with each other what went through us last night and what a pity it had to end like this. A whole Day and night at the mercy of the mountains.
We packed up, gave the sleeping bags and other stuff back to India Hikes team, exchanged numbers, took pictures, it was all getting emotional.
On one hand, we were happy we got through the night and as Omshree said, the moment I touch the city I want a Spa treatment and at the same time I felt like, do we have to go back? It was all bitter sweet.
There were exchanges and goodbyes and Amit and Pooja promised they would create a whatsapp group of trek members and Amit took it upon himself to note down all our phone numbers.
The trek leaders requested that people who were able to carry their own backpacks to walk up towards the vehicle point as there were older people who needed their help and they couldn’t take our load in addition.
I remember Kishore kindly taking my day pack saying you have enough load on your backpack, let me do this.
As we ascended from the campsite towards the road, I took one last longing look .. Will I be here again? Will I feel the mountains like this again? Why do I feel that something is being ripped apart from me?
Myself, Pankaj, Kishore, Rudra and Jogen would go back together as we were getting down at Rishikesh. The rest were in bigger vans with drop off to Haridwar. I clearly remember us all hugging smiling saying be in touch, keep in touch.
Will we? I didn’t think so at that time. I thought what stays in the mountains remains in the mountains.
I got inside the jeep feeling very emotional. I controlled my tears and diverted myself chatting with Bhupinder. He was making me listen to Garhwali songs on his phone.
At least I was happy he was here with us for some time. He and Venkat would be dropped in half hour to a point where a vehicle would pick them up to take them to Sari. They would have another Deorital – Chandrashila group in a couple of days.
We dropped them off at their vehicle point and set off. Conversations were happening, on and off between Pankaj and Kishore and Rudra was joining in. Jogen was his usual silent self observing. I was mentally away from it all. Totally away.
These 6 days.. What happened? How did my life take an about turn in 6 days? It would take me quite some time to understand what was going on inside me.
We stopped at a dhaba for lunch and I was so happy when I saw the rest of the group. I was slowly beginning to bond with Raghu and Venky and the moment Bunny saw me, he said Hey Foodie! I said Chalo am sitting with you guys,let’s eat.
I sat and ate with them and it was so much fun, laughing, gossiping ,discussing the last 6 days. Raghu was like man, we meet up like this with you now? I laughed out loud and said Dombivili guys I am coming to Bombay and we are hanging out ok?
I waited until Raghu finished his food as Bunny and Venky got out for a smoke. After he was done, I went up to pay. I really wanted to pay for all of us for such a good company, for feeling good but yup those guys paid for my meal too.This might seem like a small thing but it’s not, to give is huge and to give just like that makes you feel special.
I had to get back to that van and honestly at that point I didn’t want to get inside. Didn’t feel connected there at all. I wanted to sit with them and Bunny even suggested that like hey anyways the diversion to Rishikesh happens much later so why not? But I still went in to that van, I got so caught into those ‘rules’.
When we stopped for Chai and snacks, I remember just meeting up with Bunny and gang and Bhim and Rudra joining in. It was total fun. And this time Bhim footed the bill. After we finished, I think someone said why don’t you guys hop on with us until Rishikesh? We have space! Rudra and I looked at each other and said Yes!
We climbed in to the van and it was fun. With Raghu singing, Bhim speaking about something or the other, Bunny cracking jokes, it was a ride. We discussed music et al. Now this is was a proper mini road trip with like minded amazing company.
I remember thinking how bored I was in the other van. The guys were sweet, Raghu gave me his seat and stood throughout until we reached our drop off. Bhim adjusted himself to accommodate Rudra.
As we started talking I was saying wish we all had one more night. Bunny said hey if we stay back at Haridwar can you and Rudra join us?
We were like why not?? I would love it. But..It was Haridwar, not Delhi. There would be no dhabas with non veg, not even beer and no hanging out somewhere either like a hangout where we could chill and talk whole night.
We finally said our Byes and got dropped off at our guest house. Kishore warmly invited me to his house if I had some more time in Rishikesh.
I was touched when Rudra bent down to touch the feet of Pankaj and Jogen. It was reverence and he did it whole heartedly and I could see how much of a pride Kishore felt seeing that. He didn’t ask him to do it, Rudra did it on his own.
Rudra gave me a big hug saying btw You Rock!
Here I was as I got into the government guest house at Rishikesh.
Back to where I started from… Or Did I?