As I woke up early morning in the T house and got out, I saw another early riser like me, it was Kashif and just like me he was a light sleeper, barely getting a few hours of sleep that night. We were joined by Kiran who admitted that he too slept for a few hours. Slowly Bhim joined in and as usual he had no qualms getting good sleep anywhere and am absolutely jealous of that by the way!
Bhim hugged and said Happy Birthday.. Yes it was ‘that day’ of mine and I had intentionally chosen it for various reasons of which I will talk later. Bhim told me that he was awake at 12 midnight and wanted to wish but I was blissfully asleep. It was so sweet of my pal, the poor guy was still having fever and weakness.
It was a beautiful pleasant morning just being there listening to the songs playing on Bhim’s phone(The Doors of course!) and laughing to Kiran’s jokes which was getting raunchy by the minute 🙂
We got ready and it was time now to make that move, an 8 km trek that would be difficult today, ascending up and further and going through changing scenery. Today would also be the day when we would crossover to Himachal and believe me we had no idea how that would look like and blow us away..
We crossed the beautiful Karna Temple and we moved our way out of Sewa. We huffed, we panted, we grunted, it was only the second day and our bodies were still in shock at the tenacity of the hard ascends and we had no idea then how tougher it would get day by day.
We crossed tough rocky trails and trekked through thick jungles and it was all like a dream sometimes.. atleast to me. I remember Bhim and I laughing about this saying, we are all crazy ok? No wonder we are in this together, who would think this was a holiday huh? 🙂
At one point I remember talking to Kashif as we were trekking side by side and I paused for a bit, wait a minute, he reminds me of someone.. seriously someone.. Especially his side profile.. Who?? Shit! Ranbir Kapoor the actor!
Yup folks 🙂 Like a light bulb inside my head that went off, I shouted hey you look like him!! For those who don’t know whom am talking about, let me say Ranbir Kapoor is a brilliant actor, heartthrob, heartbreaker whatnot and our Kashif is a gentleman version of it.
Bhim nodded in agreement, the resemblance was uncanny! And poor Kashif gave in and said yeah my friends call me Garib(Poor man version) ka Ranbir Kapoor. From then on he was only called that, Kashif Kapoor or Ranbir 🙂
Crossing the jungle was itself thrilling as we ascended up and descended all the way down towards the river Rupin, lush with different hues of blue and gushing like a beautiful wild seductive woman.. If you think am being poetic, yes I am because if you saw what we saw you would too.. At that exact moment, that’s what I felt, she felt like this wild gushing adventuress teasing us, calling us with her voice, telling us to come closer & closer.
And suddenly from the jungle we came to this wide and I mean wide opening of the river, the stream was flowing, gushing as we walked along side it and I remember Himanshu telling me to come with him further towards the rocks. He said this is the spot, the spot where I come alone, take a book and stay here for hours in silence. It was just perfect. Who wouldn’t want to be here alone, in solitude and just be present?
And at that time, he said something profound. He said, Sherpa Tenzing – yes the same legendary one said ‘Don’t keep looking ahead constantly and calculate how much further you have to go, once a while just stop, stop where you are, be in that moment and slowly look back to see how far you have come. And it’s always that, remember that’. I swear when he said that I felt a tingling in my body, my eyes welled up with tears and it was like an epiphany to me at that moment. It changed my perspective, of all that I thought I believed in my life.
Himanshu said that statement changed his life, changed his perspective when he was not selected for the army because he was colour blind. It’s destined isn’t it? Every event, situation, even the people we meet are all destined..
As we savoured the landscape and the water and a few were washing their faces, Bhim mentioned that in his Goechala trek, they all dipped their faces in freezing water in December, -15 degrees! I was like Wow!! Then he said so why don’t you do it?? Me? Seriously? he said yeah! And yup right on I remember going face down and drinking water and Bhim recording it and telling me to dip my face totally and I did it 2 times! Seriously when in our lives will we get this chance, this chance of a lifetime to do this?
And right on, someone suggested that we all do that dipping our faces in cold water, all of us! We were a team, laughing, screaming in pure happiness, we did it! All of us dipped our faces, some of them, even their shirts dipped into the water, again and again while Pooja recorded it! We were all exhilarated! Such pure joy!
We started our trek up and sure enough there it was., That small bridge, that no man’s land, we were on Uttarakhand side and the other side was Himachal. It was a beautiful moment I tell you. Kashif joked we are like illegal immigrants now, crossing over 🙂
And just like that the whole scenery changed suddenly, we could immediately notice the beautiful large looming trees hanging overhead on the mountains, Himachal it was and as I looked back, in my heart I said Bye to Uttarakhand, I will be back soon..
The Rupin was flowing along with us, like a faithful companion as we took water stops at smaller waterfalls, it was beautiful notwithstanding the huffing and puffing. The wide trail became narrow, quite narrow actually as we walked in a single file, sometimes talking to the person in front, sometimes in silence, and sometimes looking back to see if the others were there.
Rabin was just 17 years old,the same age or maybe even younger than the ‘Sarala Birla’ boys completing his boards(10th grade) and this was like a summer vacation sorts for him, accompanying our group. Kushluv the guide and porter who was with Divyaj and Nandan was the same age and completed his boards too.
Gosh, such hard work and such disparity and yet they were happy and content. And it made me wonder, we were the miserable ones, most of us, with our complicated thoughts, our unrealistic expectations, our own sense of greed, desiring more and more while they took life and it’s situations as it is with no complaints, their lives were simple.
The final ascent was all huffing and puffing now as we made towards Jiskun,one could immediately notice the difference in the villagers, their features, their clothes everything. We were now at 7,000+ feet.
We had a whole late afternoon and evening to go.What we didn’t know was what all we would do during that time till we crashed for the night!
To be continued folks 🙂