Chapter 1: Rishikesh


“When you see it happening right in front of you, it's not easy, it's a feeling I would never want to experience again.”

Night.0 : In bus, travelling from Delhi to Rishikesh. I was already tired because I went directly from office to board the bus. As it was my first trip sans family, I was a little nervous and very much excited. I knew that from this morning onwards, my mum and dad would start getting worried and nervous (Single child syndrome I guess)

The ride was bumpy, but okay. We hardly slept. There were 5 of us, all with different aspirations to travel and explore; it was the marking of my very first trip, and with the hope of many more coming ahead.

Day.1 : It was 4 in the morning and I realized that I had taken a small nap by then. I was eagerly waiting to shoot the sunrise. We reached Rishikesh by 6 am. "Finally! We are here.", was all I could think of. The sun was still hiding behind the peaks of the hills surrounding us. We had a cup of tea and headed towards Shivpuri. We had made a booking with the Paddlerzone camping there.

The camp that they were providing us was up in the hills, but we wanted something near the waters. With a little negotiation, they let us stay in one of their camps which was near the stream. Oh, what a view it was from our camp! Jaw dropping. With the hills and trees on both the sides and the stream flowing in the middle, it was a delight!

We headed towards what we had been there for; rafting. The place was full of people wearing their jackets and helmets and the trainers were training them how to raft. We were all set to sail. I was pretty nervous as it was my first. The start was quite good. But then there came the first rapid. Rapids are water flowing in very high speed here and there and sometimes in circular motions. And if you don’t raft well in a rapid, you’re done!! We opted for the 18 km rafting. So there had to be quite a few rapids. The first one was the scariest but after that we were all enjoying it. It was a tiring job, to raft for such a long period. Then came the most dangerous one; 3 rapids back to back. Somehow we crossed all three of them.

But after a few seconds, we saw someone floating from the last rapid, then we saw 2 people, no 3 people! 2 of them were in the correct position as to what was taught by the trainer, if by chance you fall in the river. But one wasn’t. We rushed backwards to help them. 2 of them were saved but one of our guides had to jump into the river to save the third. He was unconscious. A lot of water had already gone into his system. Our guide took him to the side of the river and the other tied our boat to a huge rock. They both started giving him CPR and started rubbing his feet. A lot of people from other rafts had gathered by then. All the guides trying their best of what they could do. At last they had to carry that unconscious man up the hill to a road where the ambulance was called. Our guide came back and just whispered, “nahi bachega”. But then the other guard comforted us by saying he was still breathing and there are a few chances for him to survive. We got our hopes up and started to raft again. There was a point for cliff jumping but I had no courage to go in the waters again. So, we ended up eating Maggi inside our raft and started for the end. At the end point, we met with the sad news of that man. He couldn’t survive.

We reached back to our camp all cleaned up.

“Life is so uncertain. Is it fair? It was nobody’s fault. We all go on trips to have fun and live our lives. But, who could think you might even die while living your life?”

Night.1: The sun was settling down as we sat beside the stream listening to the waters and the birds. What a feeling it was! Birds singing in the tunes of the river. Soon it was dark and we started a bonfire, sang, danced and ate dinner at our campsite. Since it was quite warm inside the camps, we decided to sleep outside, under the sky. It was my first time under the blanket of a million stars and it was breathtakingly beautiful. Stars shinning in the dark, light breeze and so much of peace. What else could you want from life? I popped in my headphones and went to a deep peaceful sleep.

“She looked at the skies full of little dots which she could never saw in her city, the cold but pleasant breeze flowing over her curls, the silence and solace when everybody was deep asleep, she had never felt this way before; peace was letting over the chaos in her mind.”

Day.2 : we woke up early morning to head back to Rishikesh. We went to see the famous Laxman Jhoola, ate delicious Nutella pancakes at the popular ‘German Bakery’ and headed towards Beatles Ashram which apparently not many people know about. This is supposed to be the place where the Beatles used to practice. How cool is that! :D This place was full of graffiti and wall art by different artists. Although now, you can only paint its walls with the permission of the Government of India. After exploring an ashram that huge, we were super tired so we headed towards the very famous ‘Freedom Cafe’ which many of my friends had recommended. It had a pretty chilled out environment with Japanese tables and long mats all over the floor for us to sit and rest. It is situated just along the coast of Ganga so people are even allowed to smoke in there. An evening there would have been awesome, an afternoon wasn't that bad either. We ended up ordering a lot of food and ate up to our rims. While we were waiting for our cab, I even managed to take a small nap :P

Finally, our cab arrived which took us to the bus stand, from where we headed towards our same old city called dilwaalo ki Dilli.