We reached our hotel room, packed our stuff, and took a bus to next town – Manali. Our stay in Manali was for two days. We could see the mesmerising views from the bus on our way up. Our mood was already set up in rhythm with nature and we were now expecting nothing beforehand. The only thing we decided to do was to reach Manali and take some proper rest during night as we were tired of the snow fight and walks in Shimla and the driver told us it would be midnight by the time we reached there. We sat quietly, lost in the beauty of nature, constantly gazing from the window. Travelling in the hills during night is another experience. En route to Manali was the time when I could feel my inner self calming down to such an extent that I never wanted to get out of that feeling ever again. I could see tiny dots of light dazzling on a distant end scattered over a hill. The best part is you could see the lights in the shape of the hill and that too top to bottom, left to right all over the hill which made it look more beautiful. Beneath the road I could hear the splashing and gushing of the river water. It struck my ears like a soft music and the sparkling lights had set the exact tone of my mind which I needed at that moment. The uncomfortable seats of the bus were of no more concern. The time passed and finally we reached Manali. It was -5 degree Celsius that night. We took a cab to our guest house.
When we reached the guest house, we were greeted by the owner couple, and they informed us of the bonfire being done in front of our room. We wanted to reach our room as soon as possible as it was very chilly out there. We were little excited about the bonfire but actually we wanted to sleep off for the series of events planned out for the next day but we never expected what happened next.
We had to climb down series of stairs, passing through a very big garden to reach the room. Out there we saw a huge terrace and a group of 5 people sitting there trying to keep the fire alive, in front of our door. They invited us and offered us some wine. The group was from Thailand, they looked extremely innocent and were very polite. We expected the party to continue not for more than an hour. P.S – This happened on Christmas night. It was almost 1 A.M. – 26th December. Initially we had issues communicating with each other as their accent was a lot different. It was rather difficult to understand what they were saying. After some time we got along with the language barrier. Me and a friend while three from their side were left for the night. Once we were comfortable speaking, we talked about ourselves, hobbies, passion and travelling experiences. Meanwhile they left no stone unturned to make us memorise their names. I still remember their name as NOT, WITHIE, A-GUN. We talked for about an hour about the places we have had visited and the blissful memories from there. While talking we couldn’t even realise how much we were under the influence of wine. We started playing small games meanwhile I enjoyed the night, probably the best bonfire of my life. Besides us talking, singing and dancing there was only a distinct sound of gushing river in the valley. On the other side we could see the tiny dots of light on the hill in front of us. We taught each other our languages. I still remember few Thai words, but when we tried to teach them Hindi, we were literally surprised to know that they already knew few songs – all thanks to Shahruk Khan. What came as a surprise even more was that the lady A-GUN was pursuing a course in Indian classical dance and later all of us danced and sung together Hindi songs - Sharukh Khan movie songs. The blaze of the bonfire lit up the night and the wine helped us enjoy the life to its full, nothing less. It would be fair saying that their knowledge in Hindi did impress me and left me tongue-tied. Our celebration continued till 4 A.M. and then we bid good byes and slept off the night.