21 Days Past 2020... 


Last sunset of 2020

Photo of 21 Days Past 2020... by Somya Rakshit

That moment when the dense fog hiding the mountains moved like a curtain of some great show presenting the Everest family. That's how the year 2020 started for me. Love at first sight with the highest mountain in the world. This year, I also stood closest to Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest in the world; it felt like meeting an old friend as my first acquaintance with the mountain happened in 2018. Talking about all these peaks makes me laugh now because I was once acrophobic. Nausea used to hit me while trying to look down from the heights. But this year, I was flying over the snow-capped mountains. I paid for a 15-20 mins ride to the paragliding company, and my pilot took me around for 45 mins; I am sure he didn't know what a mess I was. He believed I am a regular. What a funny thing! When we were descending, he said, 'next time, we will go farther.' I guess he meant the highest peak, which we crossed on our fly.

I am not acrophobic anymore. I don't fear death either. Neither mine nor my closed ones. Because the year gifted me both kinds of experience; Losing dear ones and losing myself. I was the fortunate one because I survived.

I survived to feel the incredible energy that existed somewhere in the Himalayas of the Garhwal region. On 28th October, my mom and I were trekking to one of the Char dams, Kedarnath. For everything I had learned in the last three years of traveling solo, the most significant one is everything happens for a purpose. Yet, I was hesitant about this one. That evening as soon as we approached the temple, I received a phone call. It was from one of my dream companies offering me a role. I was numb. I didn't have much to do. I stared at the Kedar peak that stood right in front of me, then gently, a cool breeze from heaven kissed my face. Within a few minutes, the pilgrims around started chanting 'Har Har Mahadev' loudly, the energy of which got dissolved in the wind I broke down. While trying to gaze away from the crowd, I noticed my mom crying. With tears in our eyes, we looked at each other and smiled. I knew that the Universe was celebrating. I could see the dots of my last four months' journey connecting splendidly. Every little thing started making absolute sense. It was the strongest I have felt in my life. From there on, something in me changed forever.

Twenty-five years back, somewhere in the mountains, I had my first cry. And today, I am writing this letter from my little place in the mountains. Until early this year, it was one of my biggest dreams to live in the hills away from the chaos. In the latter half, when all of us were dealing with COVID, my dream came true.

A few hours more before the world bids goodbye to you. I haven't been so excited and emotional at the same time for any year.

And I am sure the world feels the same. You were a year of evolution.

In the flashback, 2020, you were everything I would have never pictured. You were:

The strength that I could never possess.

A discomfort I would never face.

A laugh that couldn't be bigger enough.

I am beholden that you turned out to be so beautiful in the end.

So much so that stepping into the next one makes me nervous.

2020, you were the magic that all of us saw, but only a few of us felt.

And as we say, all is well that ends well. I am going to give you the best departure from the place where we built our little home. Remember, this was the same place where we started together without a home.

Thank you, 2020!! I will look at these mighty mountains and cherish you always.

P.S - I wrote this on the last night of 2020. It took me 21 days to finally have enough courage to post this one!

Where it all started...

Photo of The Other Space, Jogiwara Road, Sudher, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Somya Rakshit