Once we reached the site and found our bus, we paid him Rs.2200 for the sightseeing and wished him good luck. “Wapas aayenge toh call karna sir,” (When you visit again, do give me a call) he said. “Of course, we will,” Abhijit and I smiled in sync.We submitted our suitcase to the bus helper and went to a nearby hotel to use the washroom. While walking back to the bus, we could feel the temperature drop vigorously. “Check what’s the temperature now,” I said. Abhijit replied, “-3 degree Celsius." “No wonder, I am quivering,” I said.We hopped on the bus just in time for it to depart. As the engine started and the helper asked if everyone has boarded, I looked at the Beas river. Although it was dark, the whizzing sound of its currents justified its mighty presence. I closed my eyes and reminisced this wonderful trip we had. My heart was laden with grief and I wanted to stay more, but isn’t all good things meant to come to an end?
When I stepped my feet on the road, my shoe got covered in mud. I reckoned that it must have rained the previous night. The weather was pleasant and the cold still felt bearable. Soon, we were surrounded by screaming drivers who asked us the name of our hotel. We were unsure if they’d be aware of a hostel, so we told them about Manu Temple – the landmark.As Indians and especially as two Bengalis from Kolkata, we couldn’t give up our awesome bargaining skills. Hence, we convinced a driver to drop us at our hostel in Rs.300. He had initially demanded Rs.400. Score!
Day 2: ManaliWe reached Manali Bus depot at around 9:30 AM. Tired, hungry and desperate for a restroom, we had to rent out our room in Vashist, 3 KMS from Manali and spend a night there. We had one day to relax and energize for our trek, before we could check into YHAI base camp named "15 Miles Base Camp" roughly 13 KMS from Manali.