It was Sunday morning and normally when I am at home at this time I am busy sniffing out “The Hindu” paper and Times Life section of “The Times of India” newspaper. I find a quiet spot in house and sit with my morning cuppa scanning the paper. But on that day I was standing on top of a mountain with a ceaseless and tranquil view where freezing breeze was kissing my cheeks and was giving warmth at the same time. The view was being shared by Pankaj and he did not miss to inform me about the many such beauties he has had chance to gape at in past yet each time it gave him same amount of pleasure. Soon we had some more trekkers joining us with their stories of night spent in tents.
After having breakfast, we headed towards the snow clad mountains. Me being the person who had never seen snow in her life was extremely excited. I somehow wanted to walk alone, ahead of everyone else, be the first person to encounter snow but none of above took place as I was wearied pretty soon, gasping for breath, pushing myself to walk, taking hands offered by fellow trekkers. I saw acres and acres of snow around me. I was elated, happy and free. We took pictures and jumped in air which exhibited our exhilaration.
Due to heavy snow fall in previous night we decided to trek till summit and return to the same camping site instead of camping on the snow. Therefore we resumed walking till summit then and there and reached heights where we were literally walking on 2-3 feet of snow and it was the perfect dish served by nature, with recipe of beauty, stillness, perilous and love.
Only few days before, I had no idea that I could ever be so comfortable in company of these unknown men and women and that I would count on them when I fall but here I was one with all.
We all reached the height but were still far from the summit and time was 4 o'clock. As per our guide we had to immediately return to our camps in order to not face the darkness while crossing the forest path. But Pankaj (bikat member) saw it on our faces that we are not the chicken ones and that we wanted to reach the summit. So he pushed the time to 4:30 and took commitment with all of us to climb as fast as possible without taking any breath break and photograph break but to climb like this is the last thing we all want to do in life before we kick the bucket.
And so did we. We climbed and climbed, with heavy breath, sweat, pain and desire to reach the summit. Pankaj sang songs, motivated us by yelling each and every second.
Finally, I was there! “This is the summit. This is where I belong. I am happy. I am euphoric. I am in love”- my thoughts at that time.
We all shouted and yelled and took pictures.
The high point- I was being given camera by Piyush to take best click of these men. I wondered at that time, why they were so happy about this photograph but they say it right, don't judge things too soon. These men started taking off their shirts one by one and forgot that they were on top of that fucking freezing mountain. Well it was fun. No more words!
I want to remember that time forever.
We started walking towards the base camp. But after Ankit, dragooned me to slide down instead of walking, I had no way of going back to walking. Me and some more trekkers were happily sliding down those heights, leaving our trails behind. Man it was fun. It was invigorating and childish at the same time.
We crossed the snow clad mountain and forest (which was dense with darkness) with a hanging danger of leopards or fox encounter. But we reached our camps and later in night I remember sitting with fire alone for a very long time. Well may be it was not a very long time but somehow time on mountain stands slit or rather moves slowly. During this process of drying my shoes and sitting with locals I got to know life more closely.
Day 3 and I woke up with happiness and peace again in my heart. This was the day when we would descend from here and start our journey back to our city lifes. I was sad to leave my tent but at the same time I wanted to go back and tell everyone what I had found. We started walking downhill. I am sorry to say but I was intentionally walking very slowly as was not ready to leave yet. unlike always at that time I didn't feel the need to walk fast and ahead of everyone else. All I wanted was to be there for some more time. Probably find a spot and write.
"Slow and steady wins the race" and I could kill the one who wrote this. Even after our our desperate attempts to kill time in slow walk, we reached at the base and started our journey back to Dehradoon.
Of course this is just a view from my lens. Given my experience, as I came with an open and single minded attitude to just enjoy myself for these 3 days , I could not have had a better experience. I got things which were not promised by Bikat and I can not describe those in words.
The story never ends in goodbyes but they are always the beginning of a relationship. I wish you all have the same and even better experience then I have had. I wish that you all find friends and peace and motivation and love. But who knows you might end up finding some more about yourself too. Who knows that in the hard life of mountain you might end up finding YOU.