When you work as a customer care executive, you take more than a hundred calls where you have to deal with irate customers all day. When you follow this routine six days a week, the weekend isn't long enough for you to recover. That was all forgotten about on this one particular weekend where our company decided to take our whole team on a camping trip to Rishikesh.
On February 7 the only thing on all our minds was for the day to end so we could get ready for one of the best weekend that was to come for a really long time. In the evening two buses were ready to take a team of around fifty from our office at Gurgaon to Rishikesh. We were divided into two groups. You could feel the excitement right from the time we stepped foot inside the bus. After making a stop at a restaurant for dinner, we began our journey. The energy level of everybody in the bus was as high as ever. This trip was going to be around 9 hours so we should have saved some of the energy for the long day that we had ahead of us but everybody in the bus, except the drivers, were going crazy singing and goofing around. Since it was pretty dark outside we didn't realize that we have passed a couple is towns on the way. When dawn hit, we had reached Rishikesh and that's when I saw that I'm in the presence of the most beautiful scene I've ever witnessed. The sun wasn't fully out yet, we were driving down a valley. The sun rising, the hills, clouds, trees, a river...I'm a kid from the city so these scenes are ones I've only seen in movies, never in real life and here I was in middle of all that just admiring Mother Nature’s beauty. Forget words, not even pictures can do justice to the beauty of that sight.
A couple of minutes later we reached our designated camp. Our tents were set right at the banks of the river. After unpacking, we were greeted by the locals and the tourist guides who told us about the location, the rules, precautions to be taken and our schedule for the day. Right after that breakfast was served. The first part of our schedule was river rafting. This was my first time ever and was very excited. I love water sports and I couldn't wait to get started. There was a training session first with the life guards explaining different skills that we would have to use in the water and then the team was divided with into a group of around seven of us in each boat once we got our safety jackets on.
The one word that I'm never going to forget after this trip is "rapids", which is the turbulence and increase in speed caused due to the elevation of the water level. Once we cross them, the river gets calm and we're allowed to jump in the river, provided we stay by the boat. It was as if I just waiting for a signal, so i jumped as soon as the life guard said go. This was the coldest thing I've ever felt in my life! I was told that this this river is cold even during summers and this was still the end of winter. I would feel the effects of that cold for the rest of the trip but I loved every minute of it.
Lunch was served after rafting. Many in the group were tired so they decided to take a nap after lunch but me and a couple of others we only rejuvenated after swimming in that freezing river. There's no way we were going to sleep so we decided to carry on with the trekking that was a part of the schedule. We climbed hills and walked through forests. We also saw plantation in a couple of areas. It felt great to be around friends away from work, just living in the moment. By the time we came back to our camp, it was late evening. Some of the guys were setting up a campfire while the rest entertained each other singing and dancing while we waited for dinner to be served.
After dinner, we all went to our tents to sleep. The next morning most of us woke up with sore backs and colds but nobody was complaining. After breakfast, we packed our belongings and headed back to our buses after bidding farewell to the locals and thanking them for their hospitality. The way back home was felt much longer because at this point everybody was exhausted However on the positive side we got to see the landmarks and other beautiful towns like Haridwar that we weren't able to see when we were travelling during the night.
We were trying to soak up every little thing that would bring a smile to our face because all good things come to an end and we all knew that the next day it's back to that same old routine, back to "how may I help you?" This is an experience that I'll cherish forever and I want to thank all my friends who made that trip memorable.
To everybody else who is reading this, whether you're into adventure sports, looking forward to an adventure or even simply looking for a opportunity to distance yourself from your busy lives, Rishikesh is the place where you need to be.