Waking up early morning and getting fresh, we made our way to Dehradun Railway Station. The transportation guy called Bhim and checked on us, Bhim gave his and my name saying we would be there soon.
Just a month ago I was here with my Har ki Dun mates and I was recollecting all those memories.. An initial unfamiliarity turns to camaraderie and friendship, all the formality goes away and you end up with a deep bond.
And here I was going through the whole cycle again. Just for a second and I mean for a second that thought did come in my mind, was it too soon to join in for another trek and meet new people?
I was honestly not yet over the previous trek and my mates.. Archana, Saish, Vidya, Ashish,Semal were coming to my mind. My consolation was seeing my pal Bhim next to me. But yes, there was a certain kind of melancholy I felt for some time.
As usual we saw a whole group of trekkers, 3 women first timers for Har ki Dun, some for Kedarkantha, but where were our guys?? Now this is something Bhim and I hoped, the fewer group members the better. We always felt 25 people were too much and when we saw the mailing group list and saw 19, we were kind of happy!
As we meandered along amidst the confusion, we saw a lanky tall guy standing near the jeep, we went ahead and asked him and sure enough he was a part of Rupin Pass batch. My first impression was, such soft eyes! A soft voice and very pleasant looking, he was Kashif and you would know more about him as we go on 🙂
He was from Bombay and had joined in with his friend Shravan. He had done the tougher Goechala trek in 2016, Bhim had done the same one last year so they ended up discussing their treks.
Then came along a father son Duo- Mihir and Karna from Baroda. Seeing them, we thought of another Father son combo from our previous trek, Kishore and Rudra.
For Bhim and me, mentioning Kishore and Rudra brought big smiles, Rudra’s responses to his dad, especially the war of words between them was something we always remembered, Will they be as interesting as the previous ones?
It was past 7.30 am and we heard two jeeps with the others had already left, we had to wait for one chap who was coming by bus and sure enough running, huffing and panting came another guy Nishant who was coming from Sahranpur. Finally we were on our way.
We were on a familiar route, this was the same route that took me to Sankri last month and it was truly a deja vu moment for me. I was remembering Saish and me sharing headphones and listening to Local Train – the band, Coke Studio Pakistan songs, Shit.. I had to get out of my past moments and move on to be in the present.
While there are many moments I can recollect, I remember asking in the jeep, is anyone from this group Gujarati?? And out came the voices of Mihir and Karna! My next question was, are you carrying food? Their looks were like obviously!! Thank god! Because my Har ki Dun Gujju mate Semal defied all stereotypes of being a gujju (meat eating, beer drinking, not knowing Garbha, no carrying food Gujju!) So this was good, maybe they would share it with us 🙂
Kashif had motion sickness and threw up a bit, some of them had already taken Avomine as precaution. As for Bhim and me, after Darma Valley experience our stomachs were hardened enough to take any kind of bumps .
We did get introduced to a few trekkers during breakfast, or let me put it this way, a chap came up to us and introduced himself, he was Kiran. We still had no clue as to how many of us in total were part of this batch, was it 19 or was it 13??
Finally after a tiresome 10 hours or so we reached base camp and by base camp I mean tents and camping and this was unusual to most of us. Usually the base camp would be in a guest house or hostel and our actual camping would start the day before the trek. This was new, camping from Day 1!
Then I noticed 4-5 lads(yup for now I will call them lads, ‘cos that’s what we think of 17-18 year olds!) these were the ones who had come in before us. Young boys huddled among themselves and I didn’t exactly roll my eyes but I thought Oh No, Kids! well a little older than kids but you know my drift!
I also saw two other gals with a lean guy holding some remote and he had a drone! We were all intrigued as he maneuvered the gadget around. That was Pooja, Nirvi and Akaash from Bombay.
Finally we met our trek lead – Himanshu Thapa and my first thought was OMG, the trek leads are getting younger by the day at Indiahikes! He was a freaking 21 year old! What I wouldn’t know then was that his maturity would go beyond any experienced 50+ year old I met.
I remember him asking me about my trek leads and when I mentioned Devang, Tanmay, Imroz, he had a different smile for each one of them! I prodded him, tell me tell me more!! He only said we have a long journey ahead, I will tell you as we go along!
Himanshu did the orientation and asked us all, What physical activity/regime we followed and why Rupin? Why did you guys choose Rupin? Out came varied answers and I grinned in agreement when Kashif said he signed up because of the snow slides 🙂
I was impressed when Pooja Nirvi and Akaash said this was their first trek! A first trek and Rupin? Man that was impressive! Here I was struggling through every trek of mine, encountering a new challenge, a new fear and some of them just dived in. I also remember the five lads saying they finished their Boards(12th grade) and decided to do this one. Jeez! Boards! 12th grade kids!
And there was Roopmohan aka Roka Bhai, our guide and a young lad named Rabin(we called him Robin) with sparkling caramel brown eyes. Both reserved.
So here we were, a bunch of us knowing only a few names of others, clueless to a certain extent and not yet showing our true selves. We were all polite, treading gingerly, anticipating each other’s moves.
Tomorrow would be the first day of the trek.