I remember Archana’s voice around 6.30 am knocking on the door and telling me to come out. I slept like a log and so did the others in the dorm. Not a peep from Vidya, Shweta, Rama and Sharon was super still.
I opened the door and walked like a drunk, still half sleepy while Archana was bright as usual and drinking tea with others. Tanmay commented tum to ghirnewali ho (you are going to fall down), look at your walk! I somehow sauntered towards the wash room to throw some cold water on my face.
It was 7 days and no bath yet, but something funny happened last evening. We knew there was no hot water so we resigned ourselves to getting a shower only when we reach the city. But Rama caught Tanmay having hot water so she made sure she and Uday- her husband got some too 🙂 For me these incidents are precious!
We packed up, saying our goodbyes to Surinder and Jyotsinghji and the rest of Indiahikes team. These two had joined us for dinner last night. We were clicking pictures galore, giving big hugs to each other.
Tanmay would be coming back with us to Dehradun. Indiahikes had an office there and he had 6 days break before he would go to lead Kuari Pass trek. Surinder was lamenting about that saying Sirji, aap jaayenge to hamara kya hoga?? (If you leave, what about us?)
Archana and gang had booked an Innova to Dehradun and we would be meeting them there for dinner. Most of us had late night trains so we knew we were not drifting apart yet.
Saish and Tejas were staying overnight in Dehradun until their flight the next day. Vidya and Ashish were leaving for Delhi the same night. Rama, her husband Uday and her brother-in-law Aditya were going back to Roorkee and Pune respectively. Amit and Swapnali, back to Bombay. Arun, Bindu and Shweta were going to Rishikesh and staying there for a couple of days.
As we got into the tempo, Saish and I sat together and listened in to music. Both of us were not into mainstream music and it was a huge relief to find someone else like that.
We bonded on this awesome band from Delhi, The Local Train(you must see them perform live!) and Saish was making me to listen to their new album Vaaqif , they were amazing.The band had performed in his College festival, it was their final year of engineering and all were crying and getting overwhelmed listening to them.
Tanmay made sure he was in our tempo and after some time promptly made Chetan shift places so he could sit with Vidya 🙂
Semal was in the front, so was Ashish. Raghu was all the way at the back. The journey went with them playing their kind of music while Saish and I shared the headphones and were jamming to our kind of music.
Thanks to Saish, I listened to a lot of songs from Coke Studio Pakistan and he was explaining the story and meaning behind it. Finally I met another person who is into such details. I thought I was the odd one out!
Some of us didn’t have breakfast, so snacks it was, as we shared and ate something or the other. During lunch time, we didn’t feel hungry at all. While Tanmay and Raghu devoured fish curry and rice (Bongs I tell you 🙂 ) I looked on as Ashish ate and complained the meal was not good.
This is a South Indian thing and I say this unabashedly, no matter how delicious the rotis/parathas and Bhaji Aloo was, we were craving for rice, Dal , pickle and curd! Ashish was a total curd rice person and he was saying that for a week he didn’t want to see an Aloo near him! I truly second that!
We were crossing familiar roads with the Yamunotri showing up now, again flowing along with us. These seven days changed our lives, we were going back as different people.
We stopped for Chai midway and this was the biggest surprise and gift for me! Why? I will tell you! As we were sipping Chai, I heard a familiar voice behind me and I turn back and see Devang- my previous trek lead! I was ecstatic to say the least! Raghu had him as his trek lead for Brahmatal trek and he was so happy too.
I remember hugging him to the point of choking him! To see two awesome trek leads in one space completed my circle, this was the only missing part of my journey and that got fulfilled too. You have no idea how thankful and blessed I felt for that. He was coming from Kedar Tal trek with a group. He would be on a one month break in Dehradun.
When Devang asked me how was the trek, I said, we had lots of fun but Tanmay had a little too much fun and the poor guy just went red 🙂 I had loads of fun pulling Tanmay’s leg and he gave me enough opportunities!
Saying goodbye with a hug to Devang, we left. I was so happy, I think I was smiling like an idiot for sometime. The chances of meeting up like that are rare.
Slowly we were coming back to civilization with noise, blaring horns and pollution.
Click Click Click went all the phones with their signals and data network while mine was blank. Bingo, nothing was working, it was as good as dead. Using Karthik’s and Saish’s data network I managed to communicate back home that I was back in the city.
My friend Bhim would be reaching tomorrow to Haldwani where I would meet him and I told him that I was alive and my phone was dead.
We reached Dehradun station and said goodbyes to our trek mates who were off to their destinations. I told Archana we will meet up for dinner so let’s decide a place.
Meanwhile Vidya, Ashish and myself went with Saish, Tejas and Semal to their hotel. The idea was to just dump our backpacks and get out but once we reached there and we saw the hot geyser, who could resist?? We couldn’t help take a shower! And there is this small thing I remember which Saish himself might have forgotten.
During the journey I mentioned like let’s eat some kurkure snacks, I want to munch on something and after that we forgot about it. So when we were sitting in the hotel room, this guy promptly goes out and gets Kurkure! He is such a caring person though he will hate to admit it 🙂
Disclaimer : I am putting up two odd pics out here, one – Saish with a towel on him and Tejas with his face to the wall. Nope they didn’t go crazy, they were just being gentlemen.
After lots of going back and forth on a place to have dinner and drinks, Archana finally found a place called Town Table. We could have our drinks and by we, it means myself, Ashish, Vidya, Semal and Tejas. Ashish wanted his whiskey and I was ok with anything as long as it had alcohol, we deserved this!
We had only 3 hours now. I would leave first while the others had their train at 11.35 pm. As we finally got there and sat in, the first thing we ordered was drinks! Archana ordered food for all of us.
We saw that Saish didn’t come up with us, then Tejas said there is a reason why he called him Uncle, He would set out on his own and wander, so he knew to never ask him about it. This guy was truly a misfit, a maverick and we need more people like him I tell you, the world would be a much better place.
And guess who walks in but a dapper Tanmay Bain! All dressed up to impress one and only one person 🙂
Ashish had that look of bliss with whiskey, so did Semal with his beer, Vidya was already getting high on one peg. Semal later ordered an LIT while I took sips from his glass along with my Whiskey.
Archana and I were chatting away, certain things only gals can understand 🙂 Hitesh, Kadambari and the boys were relaxed. Tanmay of course had eyes only for pretty Vidya so we let them be 🙂
As we ate our kebabs, Semal took some pieces of Chicken from my plate and chomped on it, this man was defying everything about being a Gujju 🙂
There was live music and when I mean live music, it was an older man singing Old hindi songs beautifully. It was hitting us. A few more moments and we would all separate..
It was getting late for me so I signaled Saish I have to leave, my backpack was in their room. After saying goodbyes and knowing that I might still meet them at the station, Saish and I rushed out and I mean started running, walking fast and there was not one freaking auto! I had only 40 minutes to go.
After twenty minutes, I saw an auto with Tanmay, Vidya, Semal and Ashish in it so Saish told me to get on it and the others will get my backpack to the station. I was buzzed and at the same time wondering about alternate options to get to Haldwani in case I missed the train.
After saying goodbye to Tanmay, Vidya and I ran to the station to figure out my train. We were waiting at the platform while Vidya was co-ordinating with Ashish if he reached the hotel room and goddamn it, of all days the train was on time! This particular train was always 1 or 2 hours late and I had taken it before, total irony folks.
Then Saish called and said he had my backpack and he was at the platform! I was like Eh? Where did he have the time to get it? I was so thankful to him. The rest came with their backpacks and once my train came, Saish got in with me and checked my seat.
Vidya, Ashish and Saish were still there on the platform and when I told them to leave now, they were like it’s ok, they were just waiting. Saish got me a bottle of water with Krackjack biscuits and believe me I carried those biscuits as a memory until the very end of my journey. Where do you get caring people like that in today’s world..
I bade my goodbyes to them as the train started moving and I could feel a big lump in my throat.. When will I get to see them all again..
Haldwani and Bhim, here we go.. Second leg of journey starts..