(Linking up with my very first post for #Friday Reflections on Write Tribe hosted by Sanch and Corinne. I am writing on the prompt – ‘If you could do something that you have never done before, what would it be? Why do you want to do it?’
This was my first real trek and I think my journey actually answered the question!)
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………-(This was chosen as a featured post for #FridayReflections🙂
That morning as I sat by the window, biting into my sandwich and sipping hot tea, I was suddenly taken back in time to a chilly morning many years ago.
It was October. We were in a remote little village called Rimbik, bordering Darjeeling. Facing the Himalayas, we stood, surrounded by an imposing range of hills full of conifers, in the Singalila National Park in West Bengal. Having started the descent from 12, 700 feet, we were a small group of people, returning from a very picturesque place called Sandakphu. It was nothing short of a dream come true, to have climbed the Sandakphu peak and witnessed the stunning views of the Himalayas, the evening before. The sight of the four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, seen from its’ summit was thrilling beyond belief and we felt a strange sense of accomplishment.
Our minds, as much as our cameras, had captured some exceptionally beautiful images. The magnolias and the rhododendrons were a treat to behold. The chirping birds, the pine forests, the bamboo forests and the whole picturesque surroundings made it even more memorable. The weather was not constant at all – one minute it was bright and clear, but the very next, it would get super foggy, only to clear up by dusk and lo and behold, right there before us, was the most glorious sunset ever seen. The clouds floated by, with not a care in the world, and so were we, lost in the beauty of the majestic mountains!
Our lives seemed petty, before the awe-inspiring sight in front of us as we headed down, with sore knees, back to the base camp.
My fellow trekkers were all on a mission of sorts. Having quit our respective jobs and with definite ambitions to explore the unknown, all of us seemed to be on a pilgrimage — only that this had nothing to do with religion. It was more of a quest, to know oneself. As Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.”
And this is what we must have all been looking for, on that trek — each trying to find the answers to the questions plaguing us. The trek we were on, gave us an unparalleled opportunity to rummage through and then, question, critique and weigh out every idea from the depths of our consciousness, at an unhurried pace and in perfect harmony with nature. (How I wish I could go back in time once again!)
Over the three days of trekking, I remember how often we had moments of absolute quiet, when we sat on the edge of a cliff, gazing into the vast expanse ahead of us and thinking our own thoughts. One was busy scribbling into the log book, the other staring into rapturous admiration at the mighty soaring Kanchenjunga. The other two were busy reading, when not taking photographs and generally looking lost, as if the object he was looking for, lay there, hidden in the midst of the unknown. One thing was certain. For all of us, the trek was deeply metaphorical. The journey was mostly inwards. We all had our own battles to fight. There was no reason to break the perfect silence which surrounded us. And we seemed to be in perfect harmony with nature. The sound of silence surrounded us everywhere.
Perhaps, the reason for suddenly remembering all that, so many years later, sitting in the comfort of my warm sunlit home, was in recalling what might have been going on in our minds that day. I guess it had to do with us being young and full of adventure, of willing to risk it all and take on a gamble. With time, the biggest casualty for all of us has been this sense of adventure, hardened as it were, by living life and seeing the world in a different light.
The memory of that morning in Rimbik, is still fresh today. I can almost see myself seated on a wooden bench, having hot tea and biscuits by a roadside tea stall with my friends. I remember the feeling of being free. It was wonderful traveling alone, with my thoughts unbridled, unhindered, to help me make sense of where I was heading to, in life — and where I wanted to be.
As time passes, of the many things that have come and gone in our lives, travel has been a constant. I have enjoyed every journey taken. And, almost every trip has taught me, in a unique way, how much there is to discover, every time we set foot outside our comfort zone.
That is precisely why we need to push ourselves out into the unknown every now and then.
That’s the only way to grow I think.
Wow, what a beautifully written and powerful story, Esha! I felt like I was right there with you, looking back, and looking beyond — and I wish I really was there! Well deserved Friday Reflections award! 🙂
Thank you so much Wendy, for your warm words of appreciation! I’m glad my post struck a chord in you and so happy you left some inspiring words for me here. Meant a lot to me, so thanks again!!
You carried me with you by your descriptions, Esha. I can sense that it was a defining moment for you and one that you will dip into time and again and draw something from. Beautiful, beautiful.
So glad it touched a chord in you, Corinne! My life and my sensibilities are an amalgam of all my travel experiences and I’m blessed to have this chance to share them here. I draw my sustenance from them, actually!
I have never travelled alone or with another set of travellers. Not that I want to do that but experiencing the world in all forms – food, mountains, rivers, lakes, peaks, sunsets and sunrise to name a few is what I would like to accomplish in this life.
You’re right, Parul…experiencing the world is in itself a very fulfilling though intangible experience that gives a very different kind of joy in this world. The mind can live on in those moments of discoveries forever, drawing sustenance for the rest of one’s life!
Enjoyed your Himalayan adventure. Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is definitely one way to grow.
Thank you!! Yes, it has been so for me Suzy!