The Floating Thoughts brings you a seven-episode series on a trek to Kedarkantha peak in the Himalayas. Take this journey with Neil as he wanders into the lap of nature with fifteen other strangers. Witness him to create unforgettable memories and to forge everlasting bonds while he journeys towards his true calling.
a Himalayan Trek Series
Episode #1: The IDIOTIC Passion
PRESENTED BY ROY & DEE KAY
“Sir Coffee!” the lady attendant placed a cup of sizzling black coffee on my desk.
I always like my coffee to be steaming such that the moment I sip it, I could feel a pang of burning sensation on the tip of my tongue. The momentarily stinging pain makes me feel human in the mechanically driven corporate life. It makes me aware that I also have a sensation other than the eternal resentment towards the unending race for churning money. It gives me pleasure to punish myself for investing the major chunk of my day in securing someone else’s future while mine peeks at me helplessly from the screen of my cell phone wallpaper. The wallpaper that had found its home on the screen of my mobile for the last couple of years.
“Neil, why do you never change your wallpaper?” picking up my cellphone, Misha launched her usual question at me, that somehow sounded more of a sarcastic remark.
“I am too lazy to do that. Plus, who cares? Right!” I tried to hide my real feelings behind the sips of my hot coffee.
“Or! You are too scared to accept the change?” Misha winked at me before getting back to munching her chocolate Brownie.
She had been in my life for a decade now and sometimes her one-liners tell me a lot about myself than what I could ever confront about me.
“Btw Neil! I love the wallpaper.” She flashed her captivating smile giving me a room to breathe and calm my senses. She knew perfectly how sometimes being too introspective can turn you into a pessimist.
I sipped the black coffee, smiling to myself as I retreated to the present world from my memories. Unlocking my mobile phone, I stared at that wallpaper while Misha’s voice echoed in my heart. Indeed, I was afraid of change. It is easy to wander within the known territories of the mind but is quite intimidating to meander in the unknown realms of the heart. When you accept what your heart seeks, you become an instrument of change, deluging in a plethora of new emotions and experiences. It is like waking up from the ignorant black and white world to the colorful kaleidoscope of capabilities. Misha knew how to transit through these changes, transforming into a better person at each rung. She knew how to listen to her heart and follow it. Only if I could have learned it from her, that wallpaper would have been a reality for me.
Yet all I did was to shelter my frustration under a safe refuge of sips of hot coffee while the bold letters written on the wallpaper tantalized me, reminding and provoking me with the memories to seek the acceptance.
I felt a nudge on my shoulder as the person sitting beside me woke me up from my stupor only to make me realize the yells of the person calling me. The bald brawny man presiding the meeting howled my name for the third time. All of a sudden, I was the point of focus of my boss and of all the members present in the meeting.
“Neil! What is your opinion?” He knew perfectly that I was not listening as I could decipher a sly smirk on his face.
I started to grapple with the sheets in front of me to get a look at what was being discussed. My stammers turned worse. I was caught point blank in the middle of a mass-humiliation. I was lost as always.
“Son!” watching me struggle, he calmly uttered gathering all the softness in his voice.
“I have no use of your fuckin body but only that mind. So, get it the fuck back from wherever it is wandering”
I could only nod to the condescending tone of the boss and gawking eyes of my colleagues.
How could I tell them that with every passing day I get a bit more lost…
lost towards my passion or lost from reality.
With my head hanging down, I kept gazing at the cell phone screen and those bold letters written on the wallpaper absorbed my embarrassment within itself with utmost care…I looked at it as the letters refracted from the screen through a teardrop.
“When Lost, Turn to Mountains”
Though the corporate humdrum has rendered my life mundane in entirety, at the same time it has provided me a comfortable corner of my existence. A corner wherein there is a surplus of money and limitless work to keep myself deviated from my “IDIOTIC” passion. Yep IDITIOC is what it was termed when I suggested it to my colleagues.
Have you ever looked at your reflection in the mirror to stare deep into your own eyes?
Well, some fool in his self-help book had mentioned it as one of the ways to peek into one’s soul. When I read it for the first time, I found it extremely silly and in the next second found myself giving it a try. It was so strange that in that foolish act of staring in my eyes, I found the courage to accept the need to mention about my passion to my peers.
In the smoke-filled hall of the weekend house party, alcohol was the perfect replacement of water or so to say the best and only ingredient of courage.
Taking a long drag of the hookah, I fell back on the couch and closed my eyes. All I could see was the whitishness of the snow and feel the iciness of the wind pacifying my agitated mind. The cacophony of the complicated questions seemed to slowly fade away as I inhaled the cool gusts within me. It was sheer peace. And all I needed was peace to find me.
“Neil! Your turn”, one of my colleagues, high on inebriation of the nicotine passed the hose of the hookah towards me. It was my turn to tell the group what I wanted to do in my life in the game of “I want…”
Till that moment, I had already heard some of them about their wants…
some for a lavish life, some for a beautiful wife, some for a loving boyfriend, some were confused between Merc and Benz and some were just stuck with Fucks.
I became the center of attention for the moment.
“Neil…come on…speak up your heart!”
I didn’t know what got into me. I had never accepted it until then not even in front of Misha and yet there I was high on my passions.
“I want to become one hell of a Story-Teller. I want to wander in the wilderness. I want to bring stories never ever imagined or heard or felt. I will make everyone feel the emotions through my words….and…” I dragged my slurpy intoxicated voice and ended with…
“and…I will start by finding first MY-story…in the Mountains…”
There was a pin drop silence for a moment. Everyone gazed at me with their flared eyes. It was as if time had been paused for a moment. Then in the next instant, everyone burst with an uncontrolled feat of laughter.
“What will you do of this job?” someone from the back of the group asked
“True…these just sound good in Instagram stories.”
“Such an Idiotic passion.” one of the girls rolled her eyes while giving her expert review.
and thus, my passion got branded as The Idiotic Passion that night.
The last sip of my hot-turned-cold coffee drew me back to my office cubicle. I looked at that wallpaper on my cell phone before getting back to my work. A huge snow-capped peak glistened under the bright scintillating sun, making me feel frigidness of the snow as well as the heat of the scorching sun, both at the same time. Imaging myself as standing at the summit, I closed my eyes for few seconds to let the cool windy gusts laden with sweltering snow particles to caress my face. It was just like living my entrapped desire in a vivid memory when a spree of the laughter surmounting my Idiotic passion hauled me back to my desk, marring my passion as Idiotic and taking me back into my cage.
Was it really IDIOTIC?
Maybe a little or maybe a lot. I know to accept it would be to accept my flaws but who can be comfortable in talking about their weaknesses. I have always averted from looking at them. To be honest, I have shut the door on them as I fear accepting their presence would shred my small comfortable bubble world into pieces. But it is also true that closing eyes on my insecurities won’t make them disappear. And maybe that is the reason, I went for this mountain wallpaper for the last couple of years. Staring at the words written on it, made me keep myself linked to a figment of an imaginary world where I didn’t fear accepting my flaws.
What are my flaws?
None different than what a normal person has. Fear of breaking the wheel of predetermined life. Scared of living on my terms based on what makes me happy. For the starters, it’s not money rather peace.
Yes! Peace for my raging soul that screams at me to follow my passion. It is so considerate that even if I am not able to follow it, it just asks me to spare a few moments to at least think about it; a few minutes of full attention to it. Yet I am either too occupied with my present work projects or too tired post-work hours that the only thing I prefer doing is taking a nap and procrastinating my attention for my passion for some later day.
…and THAT DAY till date never came.
I should be ashamed of writing this but I don’t. Maybe there is no shame for a naked person who stands in the crowd of all nudes.
I don’t demean those who love being workaholic or for those who like the normal usual routine of life. I have the rather utmost respect for them for their passion resides in the societal conventional mode of living. They are aware of it and have been gladly following it.
For a person like me who dares to accept their non-synchronicity from the aforementioned life, a general stigma is being passed on by one and all. The branding is that everyone nowadays wants to be a photographer, traveler or blogger. For us, passion has become the most misused word and we throw it at everyone to sound like a cool dude. In reality, I neither have any intention to be that cool person nor have any reason to be one.
I just wish to find myself. I just want to be not lost anymore. I just desire to find peace and calmness at heart and mountains were the antidote to that handed to me by none other than Misha. She has been the epicenter to this typhoon.
“Mountains have universally been depicted as a place where you get to find the real person who has been hidden not only from the entire world but also from yourself.” Misha flipped through the pages of a traveling magazine before handing it to me.
She liked to have her tryst in her institute libraries and most often than not sneaked me in. Such dates, unfortunately, turned into pedagogy classes for me. For that reason, I preferred our dates at my place, devoid of any interfering knowledge pieces.
“This is some bullshit travel blogger’s fantasies.” I casually brushed through it with no intention to even read a word form of it.
“Shut up Neil and read it. You will thank me later” she winked at me with her smile.
Damn that smile and the wink. It was the worst recipe for my heart. I pulled her closer while her lips left me with fleeting craving caresses.
I read that article the following night, around two years ago, and never even anticipated then, how the coming years would get consumed in the tornado of my inner struggle because of it. It was as if you get a taste of your true identity and then you don’t remain the same anymore since the cravings keep on increasing with an unquenchable thirst.
The article featured how a young mountaineer amidst the hardship in the journey to the summit, was able to find answers to all the questions that his unsettled heart had been troubled with. I was too much drawn to the explicit narration that made me take an imaginary journey along with him. In that ten minutes read of a five-page write-up, I sensed an innate uncanny calmness within myself; something that I had never experienced in the last few years. And so, the mountains popped up as my wallpaper and since then I have been planning every day to gather the courage to go on a trek. Yet the day ends with me only extending it for some time later; just alike to my nature that kept deferring to follow my passions for later.
I have never been to the mountains. Never been on a trek. I did few a college treks but those were more of a pleasure fun group trips focused more towards picnic on the top of a grassy plateau that was not even close to a small hilltop. Moreover, with increasing responsibilities at the workplace, I have been completely inconsistent with my fitness regime and nutritional diets. Seems these are heavy excuses for not going on a trek.
Excuses are our best fake friends. We can’t give them up since in their absence we are again as usual left with no option but to look at our real self in the mirror. That means accepting our flaws and feeling unimportant and insignificant in the human race. So, the cycle repeats and we stick to excuses stronger than ever.
My empty coffee cup looked at me from the desk. My mobile home screen mocked at me once again. My workstation called me as a demanding girlfriend.
Only my heart said to me “It’s okay to let go.”
And as a matter of fact, the universe did present me with an opportunity a week back.
General Shift followed by Night Shift.
Coffee cups marathon.
I was looking after the work at the shop floor when my phone vibrated. I was expecting a follow-up message from my superior about the job-progress in the plant. I listlessly glanced on the message and in the next instant, I was wide awake.
Naman: I have booked a Himalayan Trek.
Wanna join man.
A SOLO TREK?
Naman – the bizarre coincidental friend of mine. I admired his carefree and recluse attitude of enjoying the moment on the go and his fascinations for treks.
Naman: Take your time. U “Thoughtful-Soul”
PS: I’ve already book’d flights.
So, no excuses 4 me & more for u.
C ya bro.
My heart screamed to grab the chance while the mind went as usual on an analytical mode.
The first hurdle is always the worst one and so I could only reply in…
Me: Will let you know buddy.
I was lost in my conundrum confounded with confusions of my recollections when the cell phone started ringing in my hand. I got startled for a moment.
It was from the same person. Naman.
Oh! How so convenient that I got the call, in the midst of my breakdown.
I wanted to cut the call and go back to my cozy safe nest. I knew what was in store for me if I were to pick it up. Yet my body seemed to unfollow my mind and go for the command of the heart and so I clicked the green telephone icon.
“Hey, Buddy! What’s up man…still drooling in your inability to make a decision?” Naman knew exactly what I had been up to since the last week he mentioned about accompanying him on a 5-day trek to the Himalayas.
It was going to be a solo trek with only him being the person I would know in a group of fourteen other strangers. It was the perfect opportunity to do what I had been planning for such a long time with no fear of being judged of my actions and thoughts.
“Hey, Naman. Yes, Yes I will let you know soon buddy?” I stammered all the way trying hard to hide my indecisive thoughts in my voice.
“Dude. Today is the last date to register. So, do yourself a favor and join me.” he wasn’t ready to give up or was he just let me know how pity he felt for me.
I was silent for a moment listening to the opportunity that was closing its window so soon on me. I wanted to say YES but feared to leave my predictable routined-life. I wanted to go yet the excuses shackled me.
In that couple of second’s silence, I felt a sudden strong anger at myself and at my self-pity state. If I was going to be so feeble to take a stand for what I loved to do, how would I stand for my loved ones? No decision is right or wrong. It’s our ability to take that decision in the first place that is more important. The right part would leave us beautiful memories and the wrong part would leave us with invaluable learnings.
The smiles of Misha filled my heart. The motivating spirit of Naman rekindled my passion. The gawking faces of my colleagues and peers gave me more reason to go for it.
I looked at my wallpaper again and saw a guy screaming from the summit of the mountain and at that moment, I could only say YES.
YES, to THE IDIOTIC PASSION.
YES, to THE MOUNTAINS
कुछ खास लम्हों को याद करके आगे बढ़ रहा हूँ मैं|
शहर के उस कर्कश शोर से दूर भागते हुए,
वादियों के मधुर स्वर को तलाश रहा हूँ मैं|
जब कोई पूछे मेरे बारे में तोह कह देना की
सफरनामा लिख रहा हूँ मैं|
to be continued…
Episode-end Poetry taken from the anthology of Safarnama by Akshay Deora
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