Both my work and my frustration were at their peak! Following my stint with yoga, my mind was filled with the romantic idea of traveling around the world! I wanted to walk across the scorching desert; float on a lazy river; journey along the road less taken! What can i say? I was a very bored girl with unlimited access to travel blogs! Of all the quixotic ideas that captured my mind during that time, trekking in Himalayas was something that always came on top.
But then the real battle began.
On one side was logic. Continuously trying to talk me out of the insane plan of hiking in some ‘godforsaken’, ‘remote’ and ‘dangerous’ Himalayan mountain. On the other side was heart, driven by the burning desire to experiencing the absolute silence and majesty of the mighty Himalayas.
After a grizzly battle between the two, the heart won.
The moment I made up my mind that I am going to try this out no matter what the consequences, the whole universe opened up. Everything started falling into place. I found a great group with whom I would be trekking. I convinced rather tricked a friend into coming along, who in turn brought some of his friends and before we knew we were a group of nine!
So on a hot sunny day in April I threw on my backpack and caught a flight to Delhi to embark on what was to be the first trek of my life. Kuari pass and Pangarchula trek.
After two beautiful days traveling through Haridwar and Rishikesh we reached Pipalkoti, a small dreamy town which was to be our base for the trek. Like most Himalayan towns, this too was truly blessed with panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas, lush green meadows to die for and gurgling bickering water streams hurriedly gushing to meet its river! We spent the day acclimatizing to the altitude and playing Kabbadi with the village kids. That day we let loose the child in us. We laughed with the kids, we invented makeshift games, we cheated to win the game and we argued when we were caught cheating! That one evening we were no longer engineers, doctors or managers… that one moment were no different from the children. The same heart beat in all of us.
The next day we started on our trek. Now the movie actors make treks look so glamorous. Different set of clothes for all days, perfectly dressed hair, makeup, trimmed beard and always almost always a brimming love story in the background. But alas, the reality couldn’t be further away from this!
The first two days of our trek was a surreal blur. All I remember is the logical side of my brain shouting “you are going to die! I told you this is a stupid idea! Now you can’t reach the top, neither can you go back! You are so going to die!” The fact that my feet had decided that very moment to rebel against me making them work overtime didn’t help! The only thing that kept me going was that my backpack was already sent to the camp site with the mules and I was rather attached to it!
On the third day, we were to go till a certain point of Kuari pass as a preparatory trek for Pangarchulla peak and make our way back to base camp. We were barely half way there when suddenly I felt something on my nose. It was cold. It was wet. Damn! I thought. Is it going to rain now? I looked up. It took me a full one minute … a real slow one minute to realize that it was not rain.
It was Snow.
There are some experiences that can never be described in words. Looking up at the sky and watching a single glistering snow flake humbly gliding down from the heaven lazily making its way through the cold Himalayan air to settle on your eyelash is one of them. I felt like time and space didn’t matter anymore. Everything stopped. It was my first snowfall.
We had to turn around to escape the sudden torrent of snow and wind that had engulfed us. But as we made our way back to our camp, I had tears in my eyes. In that one moment the logic in my head stopped and my heart smiled…”I told you it will be worth it”. It was the closest I had felt to the presence of God. We tend to look for god everywhere. We look but we don’t see. Watching the Ganges making its way down from the mountains was God. The twinkle and hopes in the eyes of the kids in Pipalkoti was God. The clouds parting way to let the sun shine through after the heavy snowfall was God.
As I made my way back home I knew in my heart that I would probably never be able to truly get back home. Home is where the heart is and I was leaving mine behind. There are some trips that change your life…and there are some other, which change you for life…