mountains are calling…I must go

I believe life is like an empty book that has been handed over to you…it carries your name on the top cover and you are the author of it…The way you wish your story be written and told is your sole responsibility. Most of us pick our own quill and ink the white fresh pages, either to blotch them with our recklessness or to embellish them with our prudence. There are some who seek others to write it for them…

But, imagine a case when someone else chooses only to write the first line of your story and leave the portion of the journey till end for you…Moreover, the worst case is when you dislike the header of the story…My dear reader, do not be surprised since this is one of those many situations when life throws a challenge in front of you. It begins your story without your intervention and waits to see whether you complete the story or simply turn the page. In case you gather the courage to pick up the challenge, you start to feel alienated in the antagonizing circumstances, you begin to face your unwarranted trepidation, and you confront the irresolute self of yours that have been hiding in the dark recesses of your mind…

Now, if you ask me how to approach such a plight, the first answer that would pop-up up straightaway in my head would be to tear that page off the book. Can we do it? Yes, surely you can…it is your book…it is your story…it is your life, in fact

However, would you wish to be ensconced in the cozy corner of your palace for your whole life or to fly away from your cozy nest and explore your immense capabilities…learn your mammoth potentials…and complete the story in such a manner that would cherish you till your last breath…

Hello my dear reader, in this blog, I would take you through my story book and give you a glance of one of the snippets, where in the header of my story was already found written by someone else…

I have acrophobia. I fear heights…The mere thought of standing on a high tower and looking down give me shivers. Since childhood, I have evaded the roller coaster and other fanciful skyrocketing rides. Believe me; I used to stand, holding a cup of ice-cream, in a corner and watched my friends enjoying those thrills. Yeah, the word – acrophobia –    was in the incognito mode and remained dormant in my book until the “Trip to Himalayas” – the most important and mandatory module in the training curriculum of Tata Steel.

Thus, the ink had already been spilled and the first line of a chapter in my book was found written: “Mountains are calling and I must go…”

At first, my intrinsic traits kicked off and the usual “NO to heights” was what my mind kept on yelling at me…and I decided to skip the module. So adamant and determined to avoid the trip, I planned a journey of my own where heights won’t haunt me…Yes dear reader, I was about to tear that page from my book…

But then, we all have great friends…too good that they know everything about us right from our conspicuous habits to our obscured weaknesses. I believe, they have some sort of satellite or an antenna, which tunes itself to explore our weakness and compels us to do all absurd and silly stuffs. I was no exception to it. Moreover, as far as I can recall that same year the famous movie,”Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani” released. I suppose you have watched the movie and even loved it. (In case you haven’t…go and watch it right away…and do come back for the rest of story.). You might have even wished to go on such a trek, as is shown in the movie, either to find a Deepika in the random group and be the protagonist of the whole trip or to enjoy the bon fires in the nights and dance in the snow. I do not wish to dishearten you by explicitly stating that the reality is completely different…Neither can you find a Deepika nor can you become the Ranbir…Moreover the trip in nothing comparable to what is depicted in movies. However, it was too late for me to back out since I was lured into the trek, by my friends.

The Tatanagar station wheezed annoyingly, as the group of thirty enthusiastic trekkers roused the sleepy platform, with their murmurs and heavy baggage.  We stood awaiting the Utkal Express that would take us on a thirty-seven long monotonous train journey to Roorkee. The itinerary composed of two segments: first was the rafting and bungee jumping at Rishikesh followed by visit to river Ganges and the holy aarti at Har-ki-pauri in Haridwar… second was the trekking in Himalayas.

The river rafting in Rishikesh began the most unforgettable journey of our life. The raft hit one after the other the eight consecutive rapids in the 16 km long stretch of Ganges route. We held to the ropes, following the instructor’s commands and oaring like madmen.

The giant waves rose each time we bumped into a rapid, engulfing the raft and splashing the icy waters on all over us. The waves seemed to play with us tossing the raft amongst them – a game where in we were caught by the next wave, the moment our raft seemed to topple. The last rapid cautiously carried us to the calmly flowing stream. We jumped into the water and lay on the surface floating, our face towards the greenish blue sky. The ambience was mystical and the peace after those adrenaline shots was overwhelming. The cold pristine water of Ganges gave a soothing effect, connecting us to our latent love for nature.

The evening at Haridwar, made us realize the epitome of holiness of the place. A large number of people joined one another to sing the praises of River Ganges, chanting the Sanskrit slokas. The priests danced with huge fire bowls in their hands and gongs of the teempls rang in order to match the rhythm. The holy chants filled the air at Har-ki-Pauri ghat. The deep-rooted respect and devotion towards the supreme power of nature, seemed to unite one and all. The earthen lights and flowers set to water, drifted downstream, carrying our hopes, wishes and love to the Mother Ganges.

On the last lap of our trip, we faced the fathomless and formidable Himalayas.I could still remember how the cold morning breeze brushed my face as I sat on a rock, sipping hot tea from a steel mug and enjoying the vista of snow-clad mountains that faced me… It was a 10-day camp at Kuflon, in Uttarkashi, at a height of 5000 feet above sea level and temperature of min 5 degree Celsius. We were kept for 5 days in the base camp in order to acclimatize with the weather conditions and become ready for the next 5-day long trek.

A typical day at base camp started with our shivers and reluctance to chilled weather, followed by number of activities, beginning with physical exercise and jogging to rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing and flying fox, throughout the day. Whole group was sub divided into small teams with a mentor, who was a qualified mountaineer and a leader, selected for a day among us. During the nights we sat with our mentors, learning fascinating stories of mountains and the journeys encompassed for the thirst of summit. Soon the aversion transformed into passion…the struggle of many mountaineers became ours motivation…Indeed, the plasticity of the materialistic world was shedding off. I knew it was temporary but even then it gave an inexplicable sense of comfort.

Finally the 5-day trek started and we were ready to climb 11862 ft high Siyari top in the lower Himalayas. With heavy rucksack on the backs, stick in the hands and dream of summit in the eyes, we made our way through the narrow paths, leaving out footprints on the soft mud. We passed by small hills…crossed over the rivulets…took shade under the large tress …danced under the rains…slid on the snow…Never for once did we falter…we took baby steps when tired…we made large strides when filled with vigor…singing and shouting we kept on encouraging one another…

There were instances when the pathway along the edges of mountains and through the ridges…looked so dangerous that one wrong step could have taken us down into the abyss. But it was too late for us to fear since we had already fallen in love with the wilderness…we had promised ourselves to complete our story at the summit. Finally on the fifth and last day of trek, the mountains echoed with our voices…

Mountains do transform us one way or the other…They bring out in you… a conqueror of your fears…a survivor during the adverse situations…and a leader in the challenging positions…

IN short you get to meet a new YOU…whom you have never known…until that moment…Even today, whenever I face tough situations and feel afraid…I just sit back, close my eyes, recall those vivid lively moments…and then a voice inside me echoes:

“Be a conqueror, Be a survivor, Be a leader, Be whatever you may…

Thine is the pain…thine is the glory…Remember always what the mountains did say…”

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7 comments

  1. Very well expressed!

    Loved these two lines in particular :

    ….tear that page off the book
    True, bcoz it’s our book of life & we cannot let others write it for us as we only get to live once.

    ….you get to meet the new you
    Not only we find the new us but sometimes we don’t even know till that moment who we are.

    Keep up the good work….All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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