Mountains overwhelm me. Their colossal beauty, imposing, awe-inspiring and soul-shrivelling all in one tremulous moment. The past week I have been hiking in the Himalayas. The Great Himalyan National Park, Sai Ropa, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, to be geographically accurate. Was the trip nice? Ofcourse it was. What do you expect when a bunch of friends are together on a week long holiday? That too after their exams. Was the trip fun? Yes, bonfires every night, song and dance routines at the drop of a hat...what more could you want?
But as I sat down to write this, I was at a loss of words. Incidents didn't narate themselves. Pranks and jokes didn't move me in any particular way. What was it that sprang up with utmost clarity? The quiet moments of solitude I spent with the air, with the silence, with the green huddles of grass, with the Tirthan river that perpetually splashed its beauty into the days.
gushing waters sang silent memories
ebalming my tiredness
I shrugged as it whispered
a tale to my lone soul
The trek was long and at times awfully tiring (30 km to and fro). But the relief and achievement of reaching Raula (our camping site) was nothing compared to suddenly stumbling upon a stream after walking a stretch in the scorching sun. Quaint rickety brigdes framed gurgling waters, restraining their mirth so skilfuly. Washing your face with glacial waters is refreshingly pleasing. Fatigue and freshness merge into a heady heartbeat.
And then there were the flowers of course.
pools of blood red
shadowed my steps
weaved joy around my weary footprints
brown oak leaves swallowed
the red wine blossoms
feet crushed those martyred souls
into the black sodden earth
The trip was peppered with cranky people grumbling about walking, aching muscles, food, bathrooms, hot water etc. But did any of that matter? When you could get up to the sound of thrushes whistling through pine needles? When you could relish maggi at the local shop with a bunch friends playing chinese whisper? When you could watch the butterflies flitter over apple blossoms, seeming as if the flowers had taken wing?
And to top it all we went rappling and river crossing. Doing things out of the ordinary is always exciting and we certainly had a great deal of fun. The best part of the trip was the electronic sabbatical. No internet, no phone, no TV, no World Cup (let me not get carried away into THAT train of thought). Surprisingly I didn't really miss any of it. Just me, nature and a splatter of friends. Sheer bliss.
Taking a break is worth it. Especially if it entails a walk in the mountains. The air ripples with a magic dust that is hard to shake off. If I listen hard enough, I can still hear the gurgling waters.