So much of snow and no fight? The notorious of the gentle personalities had stepped out, as we threw heaps of snow at each other. All of us were bathed in snow. Pure unadulterated happiness!
It was January 26 th. We stood in attention for the national anthem as we waived the flag. The colours of orange, white and green filled the atmosphere with pride. I realized the efforts of our soldiers at Siachen and in the Himalayan border range and was humbled.
Our guides decided to camp at Hotong the next day, which was barely a few kilometres away from Tibb. Another, quaint lakeside camp. Slurping the maggi and sipping Kahwa in the dense snowfall was an absolutely different experience for a foodie who loves the Mumbai rains and enjoys it with hot tea and Bhajiya. It was now snowing heavily. It could match the density of the rains in Sahyadri.
We headed back to our first camp on the January 27 th. The chadar had changed its formations drastically and we could barely recognize the Tsomo camp. The continuous snowfall had changed the geography of the river and the hills and made our walk a little easy
We reached Bakula Baav (Bakula Cave) where a Rinpoche once meditated. It was considered a holy place. Here our guide and the porter team tied a twig from the coniferous tree of Juniper or the holy plant of shukpa.
'Ki Ki so so Lhargyalo', they recited in unison. 'Victory to the Gods' it meant as they wished for our good health and we smiled in humility.
Striding in the snow had our stomachs growling.Our team served us lunch at Shingra Korma- the same place where we had lunch on the 2 nd day of the trek. I reminisced this as place of sturdy rocks by the river bed; it now had more than 3ft snow covered.
As we reached our first camp- Shingra Yogma at 5 pm in the evening realization dawned upon us. It was our last day on the pristine chadar.
Every person in the tent had an altogether different perspective of the tent. Welcomed by bright sunlight we walked by the river, with hills and valleys crafted by the ever flowing breeze. Slipping and sliding we saw the ice opaque and transparent. The deadly temperature which made survival a task for any living being , the ravens had mastered the code who soared high above the sky. Every element in the nature was modest and still stood out its individual characteristic.
That evening, I went uphill and sat gazing. I saw wide stretch of the gorge, comforting and welcoming every snowflake that fell. The vast fuzzy sky that overlooked the valley seemed to be meditating in its wildest form. Nature wasn't calm, but in its extremist form was stunning. She hugged me with all delight.
While we were all set to leave an impromptu Brijesh decided to take a plunge in the river. Sameer and Pranjal followed. The men swam heroically all the way wide.
When Ruta convinced Brijesh, telling him it was once in a lifetime, I succumbed to temptations. Without taking the effort to go back to the tent and change, I took off the layers, placed it on my rucksack and took a plunge in the river!
STRIKINGLY cold mineral water. Every inch of my body shivered. Once out my, feet fell numb. I waited a minute before I could go back to the tent and change. Parag and Ruta, now tempted, were getting ready for the world's most natural spa.
We set our foot back on the road. After ascending the same patch, our never ending walk began. A landslide on the road made us walk an extended 15 kilometre, which we had covered in the bus Warm at first and cold late, tiring and enticing at the same time. I remember meeting a babbler on the way. She accompanied me half a kilometre jolly well singing. I sang along.
As we turned our stride with the valley each walking at its pace, the witty nature scheduled a meeting with ourselves. We met a different person that day. The sight of the bus was an indication that the trek was now officially over. The picturesque view on the way back made every note of music echo. We hummed along.
.. As my roommates walked in, reality struck. I was back in the room,The magical tour was over, but the spell wasn't.
The silences that day conveyed that it was but for the strategy of this spell bounding snow dessert to have me stay back. The genie did exist, my wish was granted.
As we boarded our flight in bright daylight on the 1 st of Feb, to return to the pandemonium of the metropolitan, mixed emotions bottled up. The journey mattered, not the destination ????
And if these souls didn't accompany, the journey for sure would have been incomplete. Leading Parag dada, Humble Ruta, and Joyous Mughdha, Smiling Shashi and Happy Rahul, Supportive Jyoti and Guruji -Sameer,Inspiring Vishu and Notorious Pranjal, Creative Brijesh and the one who because of whom I love travelling- the congenial Mario sir .
This post was originally published on Miss Explorer.