Have you ever had the clock strike to your birthday while watching one shooting star after another? Raj Doshi talks about his birthday under the stars, his love for aloo paranthas and feeling kinship towards complete ‘bhel’ of strangers on his Roopkund trek.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– Saint Augustine
“Hurry up Raj or we’re going to miss the sunset!” echoed a voice from a distance as we started our uphill trek from the base camp. I smiled and increased my pace to catch up with the gang.
Let me take you back to the very beginning. About roughly 2 years ago, I was on a random net-surfing spree when I stumbled upon an article about a beautiful place named Roopkund, located 5,000 metres above sea level in Chamoli District, Uttarakhand. They mentioned it was not just any lake, but a ‘mystery’ lake. The ice melts in the glacial tarn of Roopkund, releasing hundreds of corpses afloat, thus exposing a mystery that dates back to more than 60 years. It has been discovered only recently. More than the mystery, the journey is beautiful. You start from dense woods, crossing the treeline, trekking above the clouds and finally breaking through the snow to reach to the top! It was both scary and beautiful. By the time I was done reading about Roopkund, I knew exactly where I wanted to go on my next trip.
So, we met on the first day, 16 strangers in all. Three of them from Netherlands, a travel enthusiast from the USA, who was on a world tour, a CA and a lawyer from Bangalore, a graphic designer from Gurgaon, a mariner and his wife, a start-up founder, an MBBS student from Malaysia and a few IT professionals. Now that I think about it, it was a Mumbai special “bhel” of people, in every sense of the word. Each one from a different background, yet we got along like a house on fire, spoke our hearts out, shared stories about our professional and personal lives on the way to the Base Camp at Lohajung.
We settled at our base camp, relaxed a bit and called it a day. Before we knew it, the new day greeted us with numbing cold. We packed our backpacks and braced ourselves for the beautiful journey ahead.