The mighty mountains and a clear river
There is something horrible about coming back from such a wonderful thing. And the feeling of coming back set in as soon as we left Nerak. Though there were three more days of trekking to do, the thought of traversing the same paths left me quietly brooding. My Bombay life came flooding back to me and the thought of it only brought pain. CAP too became quiet. On the way back from Nerak, I trekked away from her and when I landed at the lunch site, I saw a very serious –looking CAP with the porters, heating herself near a fire. As I approached, she told me, her eyes shining, that she had fallen. I was puzzled. I mean, so had I. And then she said, ‘ I fell into the river’. She and Bombay Blue (a fellow trekker) were trekking together and the porters ran across a thin piece of ice. Bombay Blue followed suit. CAP too decided to follow suit but changed her mind midway, leaving her dangling on a piece of very precarious ice. The ice cracked and she fell, drenched in icy cold water to her knees. She held on to the surrounding ice for dear life while the cook ran back to help. Even as she held on, parts of the ice were cracking. Fortunately, the Cook reached her in time and hoisted her up with one quick movement. She was then asked to remove her wet clothes and the porters made a fire immediately. They made her sit by the fire and warmed her up pretty good before starting towards camp.
Perhaps, the incident made her quiet. Once, on the way back, she asked me why we live such commercial lives. I had no answer. Gudiya, who had
come into her own over the last few days, after the first day of debacle, too started thinking about her Bombay life. She had accomplished so much and had proven her abilities to skeptical people around her. The trek became introspective for all of us. But then, to think about one’s life amidst the beauty of the mountains and a river is to lend it a unique charm that it did not erstwhile possess. Suddenly, my life started making sense, not in that it became more meaningful but in that it definitely had the ring of the meaningless and it was crystal clear to me I needed to change. This is what I love about the Himalayas. They give me clarity. They automatically prioritize for me that which I have had trouble prioritizing. The simple might of these mountains and the clear water that flows around them tell me that my life need not be as complicated as I make it out to be. From feeling defeated, I felt invincible.
The trek back was slow. It was deliberate. We savoured every bit of the landscape. We were no longer concerned about our abilities. I spent a lot of the time coming back, on my own. Sometimes, the self is the best company one can have. I watched as the sun set in Tibb and from being hot we were all plunged to freezing temperatures once again, within a matter of minutes. Love happened that night.