“The adventure is not in getting somewhere, it's the on-the-way experience. It is not the expected; it's the surprise.” - Ruskin Bond
As I close my eyes, I'm still on the zigzag paths and the sound of the streams keep dancing over my head creating a diagonal between imagination and experience. The hide and seek between the sun and the clouds announced a perfect greeting for the 7-hr. trek.
"JD, पटकन चालत रहा, लवकर चालवा, अंधेरा होने से पहले हमें पहुंचना होगा।" His words were the perfect capsules of inspiration during the trek amidst the terrains of Andharban. He was not a macho guy nor did he have a proper trek attire. Simple Slippers, a jeans, a long raincoat and a stick in hand - these made our guide, Sudha Morbe. The man from Pimpri village (the base village of the trek).
When he was en-route his village from a shack, we got hold of him. And 1000 bucks made him agree to lead our group of 11 into the forest. Short tales, life experiences, dance stories (after he gets drunk), made our journey eventful. With just a piece of bread and tea in between, he traversed with agility. He feared none but dark, that made him walk fast through the streams, rocks, mud, bushes. While we kept falling behind, his voice made us march forward.
There were paths where none intrudes, but the pleasure lied in the pathless woods,the steamed maggi after a rain-drenched stretch, the sudden slips of the fellow travellers, the pit stops for a quick breather and the unending verses of the restless guide. The journey that started under the light of excitement, traversed the dark terrains to fill the hearts with the contentment of wilderness.