“There is no road to freedom – the only roads that have
ever been built are for the purpose of commerce
and government – and yet to truly identify one’s purpose and calling
in life one must make a journey, and possibly quite a long one.
In order to genuinely see things differently and to develop new
ideas and values you must put yourself in circumstances that
you have never been in before; circumstances that give nature
the chance to speak to you. This is no holiday, no luxury cruise,
no paid-for entertainment . It is a journey of self discovery and
understanding and it starts with a deep desire for change in
one’s life and willingness to see and hear”
Arre bhai arjun, aur kitna duur hai ye hanifl centre.
It all started last November when Arjun and I took a drastic career change in our lives and left our perfect jobs, finding a career into Trekking.
Sounds interesting, yeah!!
Well, the first step to all of this was to getting yourself enrolled in a mountaineering course.
Aur jaise har seedha saadha mountaineer krta hai, humne bhi bilkul wahi try kiya. But as usual shani meri kundali par chokri maar kar betha hua tha. And every damn mountaineering institute was filled for almost a year.
I felt heartbroken…as I called every possible mountaineering institute in India and received a BIG NO from the other side.
Interestingly, I was net surfing one day as all of us do in our free times. And I found a blog on mountaineering, it was written by a girl in her 20’s who was pursuing her study in law and living her dream of wandering in the mountains. She mentioned in her blog that apart from all mountaineering institutes which everyone knows of, there is an institute in mussorie which offers a course in trek leading and Wilderness first aid.
And I was like….
Badal pe paon hai
Ya choota gaon hai
Ab toh bhai chal padi
Apni ye nav hai…..
Instantly I started looking at their website and found that the course was scheduled for next month in November and seats were available.
Next thing came very naturally.
“ Jhanvi, can you please lend me some money, I asked with those crocodile tears in my eyes and a puppy like face.
And this is what the reply was.
Now, this kyu is not a normal conversation wala kyu. Listen very carefully and every sister and brother can relate to this kyu.
If ever you have asked for a favor, generally money from your elder sibling. And then you see their face turning red and the eyes bulging out with anger and with a sarcastic tone the Kyu comes out. Then you think and you think until the most ridiculous answer comes to you.
Ummmm… let me think, kyuki mujhe chaiye.
And the story is never ending. Nevertheless, I got the money thanks to my lovely sister. Arjun and I booked our seats and waited for sweet November to come.
Here comes the November and we started our much awaited journey towards my dream “The Hanifl Centre”.
The bus that we boarded from Delhi, left us some 5 kms away from the taxi stand at picture palace, mussorie due to some miscommunication.
No problem, I told arjun.
With our usual heavy backpacks and “I don’t care lets enjoy” wala attitude, we started walking towards Mussorie. After a few kilometers hike, I realized that the bags were quite heavy and the road steep. It was the month of November, we were in mussorie “the queen of hills” & it should have been cold but we were sweating like pigs.
Arre bhai arjun, aur kitna duur hai ye hanifl centre.
Kamar ki tootan ho gayi, Arjun replied.
For all those who are thinking ‘what the hell is tootan’, don’t you worry it’s a word made by my dear friend Arjun, I guess even he doesn’t know the meaning & there will be a lot of similar words coming in next few chapters to enjoy.
With this tootan we somehow reached the taxi stand and booked a taxi for Hanifl centre, landour. Reaching Landour, I felt mesmerized by sheer beauty and calmness of the place. That time I felt what Ruskin bond the famous author must have felt living in those amazing mountains and so close to the nature. It was so quiet and peaceful that you would not be able to leave the place without shedding a tear or two.
Finally, we reached hanifl centre and my dream of getting into trekking was coming true. Going inside I could feel heartbeat incresing & the blood in my veins was running like some wild horse in an open field, entering the premises of that beautiful bungalow with big smile on our face we were welcomed by a handsome Nepali guy named Tensing.
Le bhai arjun, apna Sherpa Tensing Norgay toh yahi mil gya. Ab aaega kuch mzaa. I said!
Arjun gave me a grim smile.
But in reality he knew nothing about mountaineering and was the administrator.
‘Hey, how are you?’
Exhausted, both of us replied.
The course isn’t even started yet, Tensing said with a smile on his face and showed us to our dormitory which we were about to share with 4 other guys.
Yeah, you heard it right.
We were only 6 people in the course. Actually there should have been 10 or 11 but due to last minute cancellations we were the lucky 6.
I remember lying on my bed and a guy entered the room. With a heavy backpack on his shoulders and a weird look on his face he asked the most unexpected question.
Bhai ji, Maine aap ko kahi dekha hai.
Mtlb 2 minute toh mai sochte hi reh gya ki kya mtlb bolu kya.
Acha, I replied.
And arjun came in the room. Aur dono bhaio ne 1 hi nazar mei pehchan liya ki woh garwali hai. And I being a Punjabi got sidelined.
It was 5 in the evening, and the time for dinner.
Bhai, ek baat btao mtlb kon sa bnda sham ke 5 baje dinner krta hai. Hume toh 10 baje fir bhook lag jaegi.
What can I say; the institution has its rules like pratishtha, parampara aur anushasan hahahaha. Just Kidding
So we slept early because next day was our first day. Woke up early around 6 o clock, had our breakfast which was delicious and I can almost guarantee you that no other trekking course will make you eat so much of delicious and healthy food. After that all of us assembled in the training room.
I saw a tall thin man passing by the room, he must be in his late 50’s and exactly resembled Dumbledore, I swear I am not making this up. Later on you will get to know that he was actually like Dumbledore.
Well Akshay da, we called him that out of respect & those who don’t know Da means elder brother in garwal. So akshay da briefed us all about the programme and introduced other faculties that were Gaurav da and titu.
After this small chit chat with our instructors, we got the schedule for our next 16 days. The next 5 days were quite hectic as we learned Basic knots, how to make anchors and few sessions on first aid.
Days were warmer and the nights were very cold.
The evening of our fifth Day was quite crucial because of our ration planning and bag packing was scheduled for the day.
Gaurav da taught us how to pack our bags and our gears with the ration & you won’t believe our bags weight was around 20 to 24 kgs, out of that 10 to 12kgs of weight was of food.
Dekha, I told you the only institute which will make you eat a lottt which made me remember a quote by Akshay da
When in Mountains
Nutrate Nutrate Nutrate
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
That’s how you enjoy Mountains and genuinely it’s true. Packing the bags was fun but all night long there was only 1 thought in my mind that carrying those bags will not be that much fun. Alas the sun rise & we were ready to go deep into the mountains, last minute checks were done by the instructors.
And the journey begins….