As we descended our way and came closer to the campsite, I observed that our euphoria was over, the entire cycle of emotions we went through was complete and we were left with exhaustion, just pure exhaustion. It was around 10.30 am, faster descent time than the time Nishant had expected.
They were expecting a turnaround time of 11 am- 11,30 am. Well none of us reacted to it, reaching faster, slower how did it matter. We were still shell shocked and numb at the same time.
Chandra and Mahesh smilingly congratulated each one of us. It takes a lot of strength to do that, when all your team mates come back with stories and emotions of the summit. I was glad to see Chandra smiling, she was determined to do Pangarchulla again, not rushing into it as a reaction to what happened to her. But she said she would plan well, take out time one day. Mahesh was calm as usual, cracking jokes and let me tell you, he is one of the funniest guys around! Only after a couple of days did we know he has a fantastic sense of humour and really witty! Ditto with his friend Shiva who would offer one liners quietly.
And Shiva reminded me so much of my pal, my closest buddy Bhima, for those of you who have read my previous treks all these years. You know him, He was the one I would trek/backpack with all the time. We had really crazy adventures, from getting lost to tumbling down a mountain to landing in the middle of nowhere and making the most of it, I mean so many!
So seeing Shiva walk exactly like Bhima made me smile, hands in his pockets as if he was going for a stroll! And Bala’s voice exactly sounded like Bhima again! So you see Bhim, I felt your presence in some way or the other!
The whole day went in resting up, chatting up, and our tents getting hot to pleasant to hot, we kept oscillating from dining tent to our tents. We were exhausted but the body still hadn’t calmed down from the adrenalin rush.
We huddled for dinner with our Aussie boy singing songs in his beautiful voice and Pritish reciting the poems he wrote. A 23 year old and such sensitivity to those around him and what he experienced.
The next day we were set to get back to the base camp- Tapovan. I remember sipping chai and looking far and beyond into the mountains. No random thoughts, nothing the mind was like a clear blank slate, wiped of baggage, burden, emotions, attachments. Did I feel nostalgia? That I will be going away? Not really, for I remembered Uttamji’s words, the mountains will always be there, in me, within me. It was pure and simple.
As we trekked down, descending, passing by the mountains, through the forest, almost everyone was reflective, quiet, some were joking laughing, others were talking to Nishant, the guides, we were like ‘musafirs’ travelling nomads, whoever was in the front, chat up then move along in silence.
I was mostly silent and listening in, replying when anyone asked something, that’s how I always am. . Being with the myself on the last day of the trek is something I look forward to. Honestly no thoughts but a beautiful emptiness exists inside. To be in that void, and not to have to chatter away and keep the mind silent is a privilege and I grab every opportunity I can get when it happens.
I end it here and I know it’s a short blog this time, it’s only because I want to share lots of pics of the team along with the beautiful pictures clicked by my teammates. So enjoy each and every one of it 💕
Again a big thank you to Pritish who generously shared other pics besides summit pics and you can see his brilliance, to Vijay who clicked candid pics of his team mates to my mate Paul who clicked the beautiful morning sunrise at the camp and the campsite as we did our final circle of gratitude, to Aussie boy and to John Nishchal❤️
To be continued of course 😊
PHOTO CREDIT – PRITISH BHANUSHALI