HERE READ THE PREVIOUS PART. AND JUMBLE UP IT YOURSELF.
I found a man, a local man in the woods. I was very happy seeing him. I remember I had never been so happy seeing anyone. Told him in all the languages I knew, that I am lost, but he didn’t understand the words, though he understood what I wanted to say, and took me with himself. He owned a rickety house; there were other houses as well. It was a small hamlet deep inside the Himalayan woods. I found that place surprisingly beautiful in a brutal horribly uncomfortable sort of way. Few people there understood my language, and they talked and talked and I thought they will serve the dinner soon, but dinner never came, and they all went to sleep. I had peanuts in my bag but eating it alone was so not right. I too slept; cold and hungry; like they sleep every day.
Probably you all must have heard this thing quite a lot of time; “look at all those who aren’t privileged like you, people who don’t have food, who don’t have shelter, who don’t have loving parents, and thank the god that you have almost everything you need.” It’s not a cliché; we all really never thank God for what he has given us, and whine for what he hasn’t. Those people in the rickety huts taught me, happiness can be found in smallest of things. Sometimes as small as the Himalayas.
Next day I woke up with sore throat. Those mountains were more beautiful in the morning than at any other time of the day. Clouds flowing beside you, fog and birds chirping, cliché yet beautiful. A man came to my tent to give me a hot drink, very much grateful to him. They called that drink tea, I didn’t. I was told that they will help me my way out to the highways where I can get a bus, back to manali. After shitting in open (my first experience), I started walking towards the highway with three people and some 25-30 sheep beside me. There was a young girl and his two younger brothers, we walked for hours and talked for hours. Sometimes in sign language, for neither of them were fluent in my language. I shared my peanuts with them. The four of us finished some 2 kg of salted peanuts. Finally I saw the highway, I saw some urban people. They bid me adieu and went their way. This was one heck of an adventure. I will remember these people, their homes and will remember their struggle to survive in the beautiful mountain. Why does everything that’s beautiful, kills? I started being philosophical. Himalayas make people sagacious.
I hitchhiked my way back to my hotel room in Manali. Ate and drank for 2 days, before thought of going on another adventure. I hired a cabbie this time. I wanted to set a camp, one night under the stars, living like primitive men. We started early morning to ‘Nagar’ i.e. south of the Manali. According to him my idea of fun was quiet weird and boring, he proposed to take me to the whorehouse, I refused. We camped near a village called Dudan or Dupan, I don’t exactly remember. Everything was fine until he said, “okay, then I am going back, will come tomorrow to pick you up”
“No. you aren’t going. How would I live alone?”
“There’s no wild animal, you can survive one night easily”
“What about dacoits, cannibals or serial killers”
“There’s none. Besides there’s a village some 6 km from here”
I even offered him some money to stay with me. Now, as awkward as it may sound, I offered a man 2k to spend a night with me. He refused. I once thought of going back to manali with him, but I didn’t. That whole night I stayed wide awake. Listening to the eerie noises even got out of the tent once to contemplate the stars. All in all that night was splendid. I fell asleep at around 3’o clock and woke up at 8. Amazing is the word that comes. That bugger came in the afternoon. That was my last day in the manali, the hotel staff whom I had befriended so well in this 5-6 days, bid me good farewell. Headed back to Shimla where I was supposed to board the train, a couple of days later. An urban environment finally at Shimla, went to a club ate and drank and told my stories to people around. Met a girl called Avantika from Delhi who was quite amazed by my experiences; she was travelling the mountains on her motorcycle (avenger). We spent the next day together roaming around Shimla. Her idea of fun was not camping in the wild, rather it was riding and drinking, I tried it, and I enjoyed it. Avantika if you’re reading this, Thank you. Finally came the parting moment, she dropped me to the railway station. I didn’t know if I would remember her five years down the line, I didn’t know if she would mean anything 10 years later. But right at that moment I knew one thing she and her smile was all I could trade the world for. Waved goodbye and promised to meet at some point of time.
Finally I was back at home, after completing one of the tasks of my bucket list. I was home, knowing there’s place that can make you forget all your problems, there are people who don’t get dinner daily, yet never forget to smile, there is life that needs to be lived. I finally came back home after meeting myself, after getting a bit closer to my soul. And it wasn’t the end, it was the beginning.
Cheers. Till next time.