We woke up all set for a really long day trekking to the base camp. There was an air of easiness around us all.
We made it to the summit, it was 9 days of being together, weathering every situation, some we loved, some we did not expect and yes we started off as strangers and made our way to knowing each other.
We saw the beautiful snow capped mountains in front of us and the drizzling weather.. The next team after us would have a tough time at the summit as we heard it was not good weather at Bhagwa Basa.
We had such good moments to hold on to in this journey and while Bhim and I always thought about a memory in Deorital where 5-6 of us bonded while listening to awesome music, something similar happened that morning..
Bhim, Imroze, Vinayak, Nag, Neha and I were chatting post breakfast admiring the scenery in front of us while naturally the conversation went towards music.
Vinayak was off to Ziro music Festival held somewhere remote in Arunachal Pradesh after this and then go to Nagaland’s Dzukou Valley. He had brought his own tent and was set to backpack across north east. It would be an adventure of a lifetime for him. Truly admired his sense of spirit.
The discussion naturally went towards Rock Bands and Music and that’s when Bhim played a fantastic track by Nightwish – a Metal Band.
It was when they played live at this place, maybe Wacken if am not wrong, I vaguely remember. The lead singer was a stunning beautiful woman and a voice that could shake your core.
Those moments were captured in eternity while we moved, bobbed and went into a trance listening to Nightwish.. Oh man.. Up in the mountains, listening to a brilliant piece of music recorded live and her voice.. The Guitar Riffs were crazy..
Few moments like these show how alive we really are, how alive we should be in our daily lives. I can never forget that time.. Even now, if I close my eyes I can picture us listening to it.
Getting out of our trance, we were set to descend all the way down. Meanwhile something else was happening. Mr.Delhi – Gaurav was parading around in his Capri shorts as if it was summer and Imroze promptly asked for Neha’s phone and took a picture of him .This was going to blow out very soon.
Giving our heartfelt thanks to the team, we descended back but first there were the familiar ascents up and above the campsite.. We would be taking certain short cuts and not the same route. Our lunch stop would be Ghaeroli Patal – our first campsite when we started off.
It was rocky, it was steep but the steep descents would be more from Ghaeroli Patal as we would be trekking through the forest. The previous day’s descent already was having a toll on some of us.
My knee crepe bandage wasn’t helping so Bhim kindly gave his elastic knee bandage which was way better. His calf muscles were giving up so the knee crepe bandage worked better for him.
Each one was in their own zone and own moments. Bhim openly said I want to walk alone so you guys keep going ahead. I totally understood that.
I wanted it too so after a point, I slowly strayed away from Kuldeep and started walking on my own, watching out for Neha once a while and then joining her, Bhim did the same. Sometimes I would have Nag next to me while we chatted on life.
And then Bhim shouted look look! and what we saw was the rare Himalayan Monal Bird flying low from it’s perch. Last time Bhim had missed it at Deorital and now that wish too got fulfilled !
I remember at one point, the mist set in and fewer people were around and we were slowly approaching closer to Bedhini Bugyal..
The landscape changed from rough terrain to beautiful meadows and it was overwhelming, I started crying looking at the mountains. It was so empowering to let it out, to miss them so much, to feel the ache and pain, to let your emotions out.
Bhim was walking in front, moving ahead and yet we were in sync with those emotions without stopping nor looking back. Friends who were getting overwhelmed and emotional. No words, nothing was required. We knew what these Mountains meant to us.
We were reaching the crystal clear water near Bedhini Buygal and as we were walking towards it, Imroze came quietly next to me and said, I am not letting these guys (Delhi couple + nephew) into our vehicle nor give them accommodation for the night, am done.
From Bedhini Bugyal, we finally treaded our way down to Ghaeroli Patal for our lunch. Imroze spoke about a small place for dinner at Lohajung, they made the best chicken drumsticks and curry and we could go there.
He needed a headcount as to who was in. The vegetarians could have Paneer there. So it was Mr.Singapore, Harsha, Vinayak, Silent Jay, Pihu and her dad Vimal, Sampann, and us four. We told Imroze to include Manojji and Kuldeep too.
Now it was walking back and descending through the forests, rocky paths all the way to Wan. Bhim again helped a lot while descending, my knees were better than before yet whenever I needed help, he was always there. We were mostly trekking slowly with Neha, then Prashant and Rajinder behind us with Kuldeep and Mr.Singapore.
The Delhi duo with their nephew were as usual jumping and taking short cuts and Imroze by then stopped bothering about them.
Cracking jokes, playing beautiful songs, chatting on some random thing or the other we were descending and as we moved closer towards Wan, we saw the first Dhaba stop we first stopped at. Just 8 days ago, we were right here and how everything had changed in us.
Vimal did a perfect imitation of Mr.Singapore’s accent and his way of talking and we roared in laughter. Vimal simply said Yaar hum sab Punjabi hai (We are Punjabis), we all sound the same!
When we asked him about Pihu saying they will go to Everest Base Camp in October, he said yeah why not? Schools don’t give education,she will take time off from school and we will go. They only give a degree not experience. What a refreshing change!
He was the first parent I met in my life, honestly even from my generation who was cool enough to let his kid not get bogged down by the usual shit, he knew what she was getting from this was far more..
We were finally crossing small hamlets/villages and kids going home from schools saying Namaste. Manojji was showing some buds that would pop and tingle by touch! We had so much fun, we became kids popping it 🙂
As we finally descended we saw our vehicles waiting for us and there was only one thing on our minds, A Bath! 8 days of not seeing our own faces and we were already contemplating watching out for a room with a geyser, it was too cold to use normal water.
Then it happened. Gaurav of Delhi duo flared up and started shouting when Imroze did the needful.
The worst was when he lashed out saying you are a bloody employee,you are nothing, I paid the money and You are here to SERVE ME! I will take back my money from your office, you better refund it ! Who speaks like that? Imroze was calm throughout and said Do what you want man, talk to my Co-ordinator but I am not letting you in.
After we got into a vehicle with us four, Vinayak, Harsha, Sampann and his wife Shakalaka on our way to Lohajung, it all came out. Each one had their own story with them and it was disgusting.
Then Bhim quietly mentioned, he saw them smoking at campsites which was really dangerous in spite of all the warnings. Others had more stories. Imroze had already told the Base Camp co-ordinator and he knew about their smoking besides other stuff.
We finally reached the Lohajung base camp and Venkat – the base camp co-ordinator greeted us warmly. Pihu ran and took a room with 3 beds, she specifically said to us, let’s not take that room with 5 beds, I don’t want them (Sumita Aunty – Irshiya/Harshiya/Aashiya Niece) with us 🙂
The happiness we felt when we saw a geyser and hot water after days! And for the first time we saw ourselves in the mirror. Tanned, sun burnt, skin peeling off and our eyes so bright with happiness! We couldn’t recognize ourselves. Maybe this was our true selves. The Happy untainted us.
After freshening up, we assembled where Imroze gave us our certificates and we all spoke a bit. The most hilarious one was of course from the Kannada Boys . Except the social one all wanted to give feedback then and there.
But the noteworthy statement was when one of them said We arrrrrre yaaaappy to see atther Kannadigas in the team hinting at Vinayak, Bhim ,Neha and Nag 🙂
It was time for dinner and we set out to this small place for their famous chicken! OMG! did we hog! The fried chicken to the Chicken Curry with Rotis, Rice and Salad was out of this world. I remember us just eating and eating. Bhim sarcastically asked if anyone wanted Paneer after he saw the way we were going at it 🙂
With good food in the belly we retired to our rooms, while Neha played different versions of ‘Shape of You’ and a song ‘FO FO’, Pihu introduced us to the latest ‘happening’ club music. We could hear someone in the next room playing music too, almost as if we were on jugalbandi!
We had a mini adventure with a Big Wasp entering into our room and me diving on poor Pihu’s leg 🙂 All of us were screaming and hiding. Then I ran out and opened the door for it to go, then Neha ran out followed by Pihu. Once it flew out we shut the door, took a breather and started laughing loud. Of all the adventures we had,we got scared of this!
It was almost 12 midnight and we would have to wake up early morning and be on another 11 hour drive to Kathgodam station.
After 9 days we were sleeping on a comfortable bed. Another day and a new beginning..