"I stood there, yet again, on that Manikaran bridge but this time with a different kind of glow on my face and also a different kind of ache in my heart.
I knew precisely in that moment that I had finally found the answer that I'd desperately come looking for."
Last May, I packed my bags and geared for yet another solo trip but with an entirely different objective. This trip was borne out of unrest and hopelessness and confusion. I needed clarity, and what better way to get it than to go on a trip? Right?
Mountains and specifically Himachal has always been my saviour, and something had told me that it would untangle the knots of my soul this time too.
So after some thought, I had zeroed in on Parvati Valley and had gone ahead and booked my tickets to Bhuntar.
I remember how it had been just three days since I'd arrived to Parvati Valley and I was not having a good time. The mountains were failing to cast their magic on me and this was a first. For the first time on a trip, I wasn't eager to explore every hidden nook and corner.
I had spent the night before in Tosh which is an hour's hike away from Barshaini. I spent a night there and it looked beautiful but, didn't feel beautiful at all. I remember looking at millions of stars, bright and shimmering; and not feeling moved by it.
On my way back to Barshaini, I told a fellow traveler that I'd be cutting this trip short. I had come for 15 days but here I was, ready to leave in mere three days. The immense pain and restlessness I felt was making me want to run away.
I was ready to leave, but I had gone there with some questions this time. Questions, answers to which, I had failed to find in the city. I decided to stay for a few more days in hopes that something, those mountains, those pine trees, parvati flowing by or maybe those million stars; something would sort me, fix me, solve me.
But it wasn't the case, at first at least. I felt numb.
From Barshaini, I decided to go to Manikaran and spend a few days there in solitude. Local buses regularly ply between Barshaini and Manikaran. I had boarded one of those and had reached Manikaran in the evening.