So here we were, all settled in the T house and being alloted our dorm.This time I bunked in with the gals Pooja & Nirvi. We got the corner most room in the T house at the upper most level. The T house was perched high up and the views were fantastic.
We were tired but we didn’t want to sleep. Himanshu told us to rest up a bit. We would take a walk around the village after tea time. While the girls unpacked and Akaash was looking for a plug point to charge his phone and GoPro, I joined Bhim at one of the empty rooms that had a beautiful view of the mountains.
We didn’t feel like sleeping, just relaxing and looking out. We found some chairs, put our feet up at the window, looking out and chatting. Right then Nishant walked in, pulled up a chair next to us and started playing beautiful old Hindi songs of the 50’s and 60’s.
He said it was his father’s collection and he had helped him upload it. That was the era of Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey and I remember one song that was played, “Ajeeb Dastan hai yeh’.. We just went aah…. it was bliss just looking at the mountains and being in silence and listening in..
Slowly one by one we laid down on the floor getting a sleeping bag and closed our eyes, I remember Roka Bhai, Rabin and Kushlove asking the guys if they could sleep in their room for the moment, the guys said Yes use it please! We were in that zone until Kiran joined in. Slowly the silence lead to chats and jokes but I was zoned out, just being silent and soaking it all in.
At one point Bhim and I discussed about amending certain events of our past, of going back to those people and maybe having a closure? And we wondered is there anything like a closure? Doesn’t closure mean really to yourself? To move ahead with the present and not look back? You need not make peace with that person of your past and amend, but you make peace with yourself and Just be. I remember clearly when it hit us, To just be, to not act, not react but be in the moment. That’s it. It was that simple.
Bhim was having body aches and his back was tight so I stretched him a bit using a few thai massage techniques and Kiran asked too, so I ended up stretching him while Himanshu came and smiled and said ok it’s time to go,we have lots to do now!
We got out and Himanshu took us to the temple premises and it was certainly not a walk in a park. A huffing and panting high ascent with steps, we were like Gosh man, when you said walk we didn’t think we would go up on a mini hike with ascents!
We reached an open ground in the temple premises and like all villages here, boys, lads were playing cricket and other games. So Himanshu made us play an age old game, Stones yup! We had to throw a stone and stand at the spot where it was thrown and the others would do the same, now the game was all about striking other’s stones to get them out. It was such fun!
Himanshu divided us into teams, and the team that won would get into semi finals with the rest. It was hilarious as we saw Roka Bhai, Rabin and the other Indiahikes guys trying their upmanship on each other. The Sarala Birla boys were just aiming at each other’s stones 🙂
There were a bunch of young boys from the village and we told them Ranbir Kapoor was in our midst, I really don’t know if they believed us but after that they stuck to Kashif and he enjoyed playing with them. I remember him sitting with the boys throughout and showing them games and magic tricks with Nirvi and Pooja joining them.
I saw pure joy and happiness in the boys and Kashif. He loved children, he felt at home with them. I realized what a kind giving soul he was, he just made their day and yes they made his day too. Look at the picture I posted of them. You can see happiness in the boys and Kashif.
Ultimately it had to lead to Cricket isn’t it? So yup Cricket it was. We were divided into teams and the we girls were placed in fielding. I thoroughly enjoyed the game, the comments, the guys shouting at each other and Roka Bhai playing his own game never giving the bat to anyone! Himanshu would throw up his hands saying Arre Roka Bhai doosre logon ko bhi khelne do na!(Let others play too!) 🙂
Finally it was time to go back to the T house for dinner and more. The Indiahikes guys made a cake and I cut it in midst of everyone and let me tell you it was the most special one I had in years and I mean years.
The last time when I was that free, that happy and content was in 2006 in Jamaica when I backpacked with a loved one and ended up celebrating it with a bunch of guys from all over the world in a hostel. It was that time when I was the happiest and after 12 years I had that same feeling. It took me 12 years to feel that free again..
I was overwhelmed looking at each one of them and I mean each one of them. Himanshu, Rabin, Roka Bhai, Kushluv,Bhim, Akaash, Pooja, Nirvi, Kashif, Kiran, Amish, Advaith,Neel, Aadit, Akash, Vishwaas,Karna, Mihir, Praveen, Anand, Shravan, Divyaj, Nandan and the others at Indiahikes.. This was my family at the moment and I hadn’t felt as special as that day. To be here with all of them, up in the mountains, away from the barriers, the judgement, the system to be as one, all of us.
Advaith was a fantastic singer and he apologized and said he only knew English songs and sing he did! And I remember him showing me a video of him singing. Bonds are formed just like that right?
So don’t judge the Sarala Birla boys, these lads could have gone to an expensive drunk debauchery vacation after their boards, instead they chose to come together for a hard trek before they would go on their own path and life, now that’s something isn’t it?
Pooja and Nirvi sang a beautiful Birthday song and that welled me up truly.. If this is not Love, what is it then?
After dinner, Himanshu called us to the dorm below and as we sat in darkness, he told his experiences with the paranormal, aka Ghosts, yup not just stories but incidents that could have happened to us or people we knew! Pooja decided beforehand that she would not listen to such stuff and stayed put in the room while Nirvi joined in bravely even though she was petrified.
There were many stories that came about, from Bhim, from me and from others but I will tell you only one that Himanshu related, that happened to a trek leader that chilled me to my spine. Usually a trek leader would sleep in the tent with his team, the guide and the sweeper and this particular one was in his tent and saw his team member waking up in the middle of the night and getting out, after an hour or so, he would come back and sleep and again wake up and get out.
The trek lead even asked him if all was ok and he would grunt a Yes and again the same thing kept repeating. Until early in the morning, the guy was not in the tent. So the trek leader goes to the Dining tent to check out as to where is this man? To his shock he sees this guy sleeping with the rest of the staff, equally surprised and says ‘ Sir, mein to poori raat yahi pe soya tha, aapke tent mein aaya hi nahin!(But Sir, I never came to your tent last night, I slept here the whole night with the others!) I don’t know about others but it shivered me to my spine..
It was time to call it a night so we all went up and I noticed Nirvi being nervous and shaking a bit. I kept ribbing Nirvi, so is it really Pooja in that room or is it someone else?? Poor Nirvi was shaking up and saying Please don’t say that! Pooja asked us how it was. We didn’t tell her much except that yup some stories were pretty scary. The girls even asked if Aakash could join in with us.
That night was something else because I came to know each one of us carry pain and trauma in different ways. Pooja related an incident, the horrific Kamla Mills Fire that injured and killed people in December 2017 and yes she was one of the survivors and lost three of her friends..
Imagine what she must have gone through, that pain, she was still going through her own healing process and Nirvi and Akaash insisted her to come on this trek to get away for a bit.. Facing death is not easy and facing loss of your dear ones is a void that can never be filled..
And let me be clear, the only reason I am writing it here is because she had the courage to tell this to the team on the last day of the trek. Believe me, if she hadn’t told it that day to everyone, I would have kept it between us. I knew then and there, Pooja was something else, a determined independent courageous gal who was still going through that pain, that loss and it took guts to say it,to face it and still standing solid.
Nirvi and I also had a deep conversation that night, her spirituality ,her leaning towards Yoga and what it meant to her. She had a calming energy about her and I could sense her energy strongly, she was very intuitive and highly aware of her surroundings.
She said that something happened inside her, a sensation, a knotting up inside when she heard stories of paranormal. I saw tears from her eyes of which she had no control and she told me that when she heard my experience, she felt that. Maybe she was a medium, maybe she was gifted that way but she didn’t want it, didn’t want to be one. Maybe she wasn’t ready for it yet.
It was late night, well according to Mountain time it was and honestly I had this urge to go out and knock or scratch one of the doors of the dorms and scare my folks 🙂 But yeah, those stories kept coming back and I didn’t want to take a chance encountering one so I stayed put and kept chatting with Nirvi until we all drifted off to sleep..
So much happened since we came to Jiskun and so much more to go.. a long way to go..