Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time after Time

There’s something about the Himalayas – once you’ve been there, you keep going back. It starts with a gentle tug at your soul at first and tugs on till the time you are overcome with this mad desire to leave everything just to be among the cold mountains. They say that you can’t go to the Himalayas till the mountains call you – that the journey plans you and not the other way round. For me the real journeys have been the four treks that I have done at high altitude….where you can be with the mountains up close and personal. My fifth call is yet to come and I am sorely missing every aspect of the journey…….

It starts from the time you tell your boss that you Have to take a 20 days break and he gives you the go-ahead. The list of things that needs to be carried is by now printed on your mind and with each passing day you strike off the things that you already have. One week prior to the d-day you write down the important things you need to buy. When you finally take out your backpack and put the first film roll in your camera, you know you are ready to go. The mind makes a quick check on the job, family and friends’ front tying up all loose ends. On the d-day the mind finally shuts itself tight…life in the city is forgotten and the journey takes over.

The journey to meet the rest of the group is done with growing anticipation and excitement. You meet the group and the instant bonhomie of like minded people makes you feel at home among strangers. When you reach the Himalayan destination - the base of your trek you fill in lungful of the fresh mountain air, feel the cold crisp air on your skin and slowly start to feel alive after a long long time. There’s a strange excitement on the first day of the trek. Everybody is quiet and quickly gets ready early in the morning. Initially you love the walk, slowly taking in the beauty around. By lunch you can only feel the tremendous pain in your legs. The second day you hobble on your still paining legs and curse yourself for coming for the trek. By the third day, the pain is still there but you do not feel it any longer and you keep walking…. till the time you reach ‘that’ point…where your heart starts to beat the rhythm of nature and life.

Then you know the reason why you came here and why you choose to come here every year…the peace and quiet, the snow covered mountains at an arm’s distance, the bone cutting cold winds, the mesmerizing silence, the freezing water which opens every nerve cell in your body, the tiny exquisite mountain flower, the bluest sky and the wispy clouds and the echoing calls of the birds high above.

Away from the city you finally realize what real beauty or life is. This is where you rid yourself of the false city skin and get in touch with you…the real you.

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