Day one and two: Chandrashila Chopta Trek. Jai Ganga Maiyya Ki !
We boarded the overnight train from Jaipur to Haridwar. Three women, Shruti, Shweta and me, two of us who had never stepped out minus our husbands and all three of us, first-time trekkers. We were super excited and nervous. "I have a bad back, I wonder if I will be able to climb," said Shruti.
"Of course you will be able to, we shall all climb. Just relax."
We were all consoling each other on the outside but inside our minds, we were very nervous.
We slept, correction, we just stretched our back and closed our eyes as the train rumbled. There was this family,the loudest, I have ever come across in
my entire life. They screamed their lungs out until they got off the train at 3 a.m. " Dadi ko sambhalo." “Arey airport aa gaya!" " Arey plane dekha”"Maza aa gaya yaar!".
We tried sleeping after they left but were unable to.
The morning was beautiful.Groggy, but beautiful. We brushed our teeth and tried to look a little less tired. Everyone opened their dubbas one by one. We happily ate our karela ki sabji and paranthas, the only vegetable that would survive in this 45-degree temperature and Sondesh,loved it. It was so soft, it melted in our mouth.
Two aunties sat opposite us. Age 60 +, siblings.One with dyed jet black hair talked non-stop and the other with scanty silver hair, had an amazing capacity to keep quiet. Both wore cotton salwar kameez and sat with their feet up on the seats.On the side , on the small berths , was a couple.One aunty ji in a blue nightie and rubber slippers and one uncle ji, wearing a a tight red t-shirt over his mota pet which he scratched continuously. His heels were completely cracked and so were the sides of his feet. After a while, we got talking.
" Hamne 18 counties travel kari hai,aur ab ham charon dhaam ki yaatra karenge."
Our eyes popped out of their sockets, one by one.
"Bhaiya aap kahan se hain? Aap itna travel karte hain, toh aapka kaam kaun sambhalta ha?" I inquired. Bloody one day out of my office and my sales dip.
"Ham toh Nibhahera se hain,beta hai na voh kaam..."
Before he could finish, Blue Nightie Aunty butted in "Ab yeh mujhe samay dete hain."
We smiled. How foolish of us to imagine in our silly heads that they were just two insignificant people sitting across us. The best part was yet to come.
The Blue Nightie Aunty requested us to google the prices for Char Dham ki yatra by helicopter.
Shruti googled and said "Aunty yeh toh mehanga hai, about two lakhs,fir bhi aap number likhiye."
Before she could even finish speaking, The Red t-shirt uncle ji dialled that number
" Han ji,book kar dijiye.Ham kal subah milte hain."
Three of us exchanged glances. Never, ever judge anyone by their appearance, we all learnt our first lesson.
And the Jet Black hair aunty ji in front of us, she came from a family of doctors and surprise! Surprise! She was a lawyer.
"Hamari family mein sab safed coat pehnte hai, aur mein kala coat."
Our lips were sealed and our minds boggled. Thankfully, we arrived at Haridwar.
We tried booking a cab.No Uber, no Ola. Phir ab? That was the big question.
We got duped the minute we arrived. " Madam,auto lenge?"
Soon we were surrounded by auto rickshaw drivers.
"Nahi bhaiya,nahi chaiye." We shooed them all away.
" Madam kahan jana hai?"
Before, I could say go away he said " Yahan koi taxi nahi hain, auto hi hain."
"Damn! said Shruti."Means, no air conditioner. Chal ya Komal."
"Madam", he continued, " Arey golden Tulip ke liye toh koi taxi 600 rupiye legi,
ham kewal 300 rupiye lenge.Door hai bahut,highway pe hai."
Like idiots we agreed to pay 300 rupees, to ride in one dhad dhad auto to cover a distance of only eight kilometres. By the time we realized, it was too late.
Lesson number two ”Never get perturbed and take hasty decisions. Google, think, relax then decide."
After a twenty minutes drive we arrived at our hotel. The Golden Tulip. Oh ! God! The building was depleted, the paint was discoloured and worn out. We went inside.
The lobby was ummm .. bearable. We were escorted to our room through empty passageways.
" Yahan koi occupancy nahi hai kya?"
"Hain, na madam", pat came the reply.
Then why can't we see anyone? I wondered.
Lesson number three.
"Never, never trust fancy pictures on the internet and blindly trust brands."
The room was nice, thank God. We settled in, had our lunch in the restaurant and slept peacefully.
We woke up at 5.30 p.m. We quickly had tea, got dressed and took one Vikram to Har ki pauri. The driver charged us ten rupees for one person. We giggled, das rupiye for each passenger, how cool is that? Feeling mighty happy with ourselves, at least one right decision we took today, we sat down happily gazing at the sights of the city.
Soon we saw a huge statue of Shiv ji, it was larger than life. We bowed our head in reverence. On the other side of the bridge we were crossing we saw another statue, in the middle of the river, much smaller in comparison, of a goddess. I am assuming it was that of Parvati ji. But, why so small ? How unfair? Such a huge statue of Shiv ji and such a small statue of Parvati ji, only because she is a woman.I felt so sorry for her that I wanted to go hug her. Inequality exists even at the abode of Gods.
We soon reached Har ki Pauri. It was buzzing with activity. Known as the seat of Hinduism, we could see a vast sea of humans. We pushed our way through the steps and reached the riverside. Devotees sat there with offerings in their hands. It was an amazing experience. From one end you could hear someone speaking in Bengali, someone speaking in Gujarati from the other. We saw a couple from down south,another family seemed so typically Bihari. It was a congregation of Indians withrepresentation from every single community, with only one agenda, to pray to the holy Ganges. The water was very cold. The chanting of the mantras had started. We could see no pandits or lamps yet though. So we decided to take a dip in the river. Shruti went in first,then Shweta. I kept warning them " You will fall ill, don't do this.How will you trek?"
The two of them were having so much fun that soon I gave into temptation and stepped into the water. We loved every minute of it as we giggled and posed for pictures.
Har Har Gange ! The crowds chanted in unison. "Ganga maiyaa ki Jai". We stepped out. The Aarti was about to begin.
Shruti asked a couple sitting next to her. " Aap kahan se?"
He replied " Himalaya se."
We laughed until our sides hurt.
"Ganga ji ke baare mein nahi pooch rahi, aap kahan se aaye hain?"
"Jharkhand se” He replied.
People started lighting the wicks of their earthen lamps and then floating them on the river atop the tiny boats made of leaves and flowers. We floated ours too, seeking the blessings of Ganga ji. One by one people started leaving."Aarti ho gayi ?" we enquired.
"Aur kya " they replied.
We just did not come to know, when it started and ended. Dazed and soaking wet we sat there for another few minutes.
A few aunty ji's came down the steps, 55 plus women, well seemed like that.
They began to strip. I sat there shocked.
They did not remove their lower garments, thank God! They jumped in the river with nothing but their petticoats. The angrez women at. Anjuna beach in Goa was no match for these desi women.
One aunty ji, stepped out of the river, wiped herself dry. After some time as she was struggling to wear her clothes on her moist body she looked at me and said " Arey tum log ghagra lugdi kyu nahi pehente?
Yeh kaise kapde pehne hai.?"
Her breast was still popping out of her half worn blouse.
I looked at my track pant and t-shirt and replied.
"Aunty ji aise hi theek hain" I smiled, completed the sentence in my mind, kam se kam dhake toh hue hain.
To find a place to change was a challenge. We debated over going to a hotel and paying for a room for an hour or finding a sulabh shochalaya. Thank God for Modi ji at least we have toilets all over the country. Soon we found a four wall tin enclosure with tiny holes in it and a broken gate. We lifted the gate and put it in front of the enclosure each time we stepped into change as the other stood to guard it. Happy and hungry,we walked through an overcrowded market to Har Ganga Haveli, a classy and beautiful boutique hotel. We stepped in the restaurant, the smell of the food filling our senses. By the side of the restaurant, there was a temple,outside which two musicians sat on the floor and sang some heavenly bhajans. We filled up our plates and ate to our heart's content. The food was extremely tasty. Loved the imli ki chatni, aloo dum and the karela crispies.
As if this was not enough, they served us green tea on a small little sit out by the river. We couldn't have asked for more. The girls, of course, complained about why did we not stay here instead of that deserted Golden Tulip Hotel. The hotel even had a small little private ghat, you could take a dip in the Ganges there. We tipped the staff generously and walked back to the auto stand. We found a Jhintaak Vikram with Chinese neon lights and loud music. Tamma Tamma lodge, we all sang loudly as this discotheque on wheels dropped us back to our hotel. We reached our hotel and checked our phones. Gosh ! There were seven missed calls, out of which five from the same number. I called back; it was our trek guide Mohan on the other line. He told us to be ready at sharp 7.a.m the next morning. He would pick us up from our hotel itself. In the itinerary, it was written that we need to collect at the Haridwar railway station. "Ok , thank you,"I said, and disconnected the call.
"Balle! Balle! girls .You can sleep for extra half an hour tomorrow morning,
they will pick us up from the hotel itself."I announced.
Someone once said," No school can teach you what life can". We sure learnt quite a few lessons that day and fell in love with life all over again. Har Har Gange! Jai Ganga Maiyan Ki!
Chandrashila Chopta Trek: Day 3 The power of the humble Paraunthi.
We woke up the next day, our hearts brimming with excitement. We had a decent breakfast at the hotel restaurant, cleared our bills and waited patiently for Mohan to arrive. He did arrive at 7.30 a.m and was surprised to see three of us."Aap teen hain?" He inquired, surprised.
"Aapko kya hua? Teen jano ka payment kiya hamne?" I replied equally surprised. He checked his list once again. I only have Shruti ji and Komal ji in the list.
We walked to the Scorpio parked outside, leaving him to sort this out. He made a few phone calls and came and sat on the seat at the rear end."Chaliye ,dekhte hain." He said with a tone of finality.
We found one girl with an absolutely bored and tired expression sitting inside the car.
"Hi! I am Shruti".She tried to start a conversation.
"Hi, I am Akshara." The girl replied, most disinterested and closed her eyes again.
I looked at Shruti, with a bad back and smiled, she shrugged her shoulders. Suddenly, we realized the car did not have an air conditioner.
"Komal mar jaayenge", Shruti with a bad back, wanted to jump off the car.
"Arey madam,pahadon ki gadiyon mein A.C nahi hote".
The driver offered an explanation. Suddenly Akshara put her head on Shruti's shoulder and also all her weight on her. Shruti with a bad back had lost it by then. I turned and smiled, she gave me a now what to do look, and I gave her an All the best babes, look.
As we covered a few kilometres, I saw the roadside vendors selling unusually big and red guavas. The starved Rajasthani in me just had to eat them.We stopped to pick up some more trekkers, I quickly went to buy the Guavas.
"Kitne ka hai bhaiya?"
"Dhai sau rupiye ka ek kilo."
I freaked out. "Bhaiya aap badam bech rahe ho ya amrood."
He just did not bother replying. He ignored me.I shot one dirty look at him.
He looked away.
I looked around, thank God no one was around to watch this royal ignore. Ab toh khana hi hai, I made up my mind. One amrood cost me a 100 rupees.
I got it cut in four slices and came back to the car. One Gentleman with his two children, one teenage daughter and a ten year old son had joined us. They were not looking too happy sitting at the back. We shared the pieces of amrood among ourselves and gave one to that snobbish Akshara too and completely ignored the party at the back.
We covered another few kilometres, and I kept wondering where did I go wrong since I was the one who made all the bookings and stuff. Oh ! God , I finally remembered , GIO had sent us a link to register ourselves. I had filled my form and had forgotten to fill Shweta's. I did not say a word. Now that all was settled how did it matter, what I did or did not do, but soon I realized I was wrong. The Doctor saab's son,at the back, kept puking after short intervals... The driver pulled up every now and then so that the child could get off and puke in peace. Doctor saab got very upset. He told Mohan. "Teen mahine pehle maine yeh trek book kiya,aur tumne mujhe peeche baitha diya."
The rest of the trip was a happy one. The snobbish Akshara became a friend after we insisted she eats an aloo ki paraunthi with us. She kept saying No! No! but ate two huge paraunthis to the last bite, and also had a cup of tea at a small little eatery we stopped en route. We reached out to her heart through the power of the humble paraunthi."I was hungry and very tired",she explained later with a small little sorry.
Doctor saab's son had also settled down after a while.
The drive was beautiful,inside the car,outside it was hot. Stop ! Stop! Stop! Shouted Shruti so loudly and so suddenly that she scared the daylights out of the driver.
"Kya hua madam?" He asked as he screeched his breaks.
"Silver beach hai ,dekho dekho !" We all scrambled out. The sand by the river was actually like silver glitter. Ok ,so not completely silver but white sand mixed with
loads of silver glitter.
We rolled up our tracks,dipped our feet in the river and got pictures clicked. We couldn't stay long though,it was terribly hot and Mohan was not too happy about us wasting another half an hour.
After a seven hour drive, we reached the lodge in Kund. It was beautiful. The path was lined with flowers. The dining hall had multicolored lights. After a brief reception,where they served us water and some tea,they handed us the keys to our cottages.The cottages were beautiful,the middle of nowhere,surrounded by greens, by the side of a gushing river, enveloped by cool breeze"Mein toh yahin reh sakti hoon saat din."
This was from Shruti ,with a bad back again.If you are wondering, why don't I ever mention Shweta. Well ! She was the cow of our group, gentle, peaceful, quiet and a vegetarian. I am a vegetarian too, but most certainly lack all of the above qualities.
We ate dinner, it again exceeded our expectation. Loved the hot siwaiyon ki kheer. We were rounded up and given instructions for tomorrow. After one last round of continuous chatting ,women never get tired of it, we slept, too tired to move.Lessons we learnt:
Silence is golden.
Never forget to register for a trek, even if you have paid for it.
The way to some woman's heart is through their stomach.
Every action has a reaction. If someone ignores you, you ignore others too.
Day four- Chandrashila Chopta Trek : The case of Zaalim ghas.
We reached the dining area at sharp 6.30 a.m as instructed. We had breakfast and walked to the Scorpio. We drove for about forty five minutes and then from a particular spot started trekking. They had given us packed lunch, which we carried in our backpacks. They made us walk through dense forests, temples and villages. Some of the sights were so stunning; I don't think I will ever forget them.
A tree dressed as a bride, it was this really tall tree sans any leaves. A creeper coiled around its trunk and once it reached the top, it fell down like 10 strings of stars.It was even bent from the top, like a sharmati hui dulhan sitaron ki chunar odhe hue.
We noticed a tall, broad well built tree bending towards another much smaller, thinner tree. The thinner tree had scanty growth on the side facing the big tree and a lot of green leaves and branches on the other side. It was a good looking, big built man proposing to his lady love and she saying..Chal Hat !
The mountain,the path on which we were walking and valley below , all were green and tranquil. One could only hear the sounds of nature,pani ki kal kal ,pattiyon ki
sarsarahat , bhanware ki gunjan,chidyon ki chechahat,bas meloon tak aseem shanti.
Jeevan ki apadhapi mein ,kavita hi mujhse rooth gayi. I hadn't written anything for almost three months and here poetry was flowing out of me.
The butterflies flew ahead of us as we walked.
Yellow, orange and purple. It was enchanting, almost dreamy.
The only thing that bothered us was the bichhu ghas.It was all over the place.
We kept walking until I and Shweta felt this stinging sensation on our arms.
"Bhabhi mujhe kuch chubh raha hai, shayad keede ne kat khaya."
Instinctively I removed my backpack and took out the aloe vera gel . We applied it all over and within minutes we were fine. Soon Akshara caught up with us .
She enlightened us about this bichhu ghaas.
The ghaas was all over the place, it kept stinging but all thanks to Baba Ramdev's
Aleo Vera Gel, we were fine. I rechristened the ghaas as Zaalim Ghas. A bichhu bites only once and then disappears but this ghas kept stinging us again and again.
Shruti with a bad back, well she did not have a bad back anymore.
She was leading the trek.
She walked with Mohan our guide, right in front and madam Akshara was right at the back with Arvind , guide no.2.
Akshara was getting too much attention from the staff at GIO , from the time she landed.
"Kuch toh chakkar hai Shweta,"
Shweta replied " Hmmm, bhabhi even I noticed."
We visited the winter seat of Baba Tungnath ji and two other temples en route.
We even met a sadhu baba who offered us tea and Prasad.
We got pictures clicked with farmer women at the fields. One villager came running after us after we walked a few steps further. " Madam please hamien bhi pictures de dijiye. Mera Bluetooth on hai, " the man was technologically savvy. He followed us till the time all the pictures were transferred to his phone.
We came back downhill at around 5 in the evening.It was still hot. We boarded the Scorpio once again and drove another two hours before we reached the base camp in Chalkot.
We walked a few 100 metres downhill again, what we saw was mind blowing. There was this huge chunk of plain grassland.
There were three rows of tents.
Shruti's first reaction was "This place can be compared to any camping destination abroad."
"I am falling in love with India ,all over again."
I announced as I stood there spellbound.
"Wow, Bhabhi ! " came from Shweta.
"Akshara you tell us? Why is everyone giving you all this extra attention?
What is it that you have, which we don't ?"
"I am Nalin Khanduri's bhabhi" explained Akshara, grinning broadly, the owner of GIO.
"Tabhiiiii I was wondering ...." said Shruti. The tabhi stretched so much that it left all of us in peals of laughter.
That's cool, I thought, so good even we will enjoy the benefits.
All three of us hugged Akshara, one by one. We are happy you are with us,
"Uff! Meanness personified in these three women from Jaipur."
We just couldn't stop giggling. The tents were neat and clean. We bathed and rested and had some really tasty hot food.
Shruti and Shweta kept talking till wee hours at night. Shweta and I lay in bed twisting and turning.
We were so tired, we did not sleep a wink. I just slept with my eyes closed and a smile on my lips.This was too beautiful to be true and affordable. That was the best part, the prices of these packages are a steal, you can keep coming back for more.
India is a beautiful country. What you see and experience during trekking , you can never experience anything closer to that when you do road trips. Bad backs, weak knees are more in your mind than in your body. The mountains have this kind of magical effect on you,that you forget all ailments and just walk. It's better to wear full sleeves shirts or t-shirts; it saves you from the Zaalim merciless ghas and the effect of the bright sun on your skin. And finally, Akshara or no Akshara the people of GIO are all extremely sweet people. The minute they pick you up they take you under their fold,you can enjoy every minute without a care in this world.
Life is too short and too beautiful to be spent staring at our computer screens all day,fussing over target sheets, presentations, sale closure meetings, aa jee lien zara !
Day Five. The ultimate challengeWe woke up the next day absolutely groggy.Doctor saab wished us an enthusiastic Good Morning.
I smiled without answering. "Why do you look so unhappy?"
"We didn't sleep the whole night."
"Take muscle relaxers from me tonight."
We dressed up quickly ,ate,picked our lunch, got into the Scorpio and after a drive of forty minutes,reached our destination. It was a paved path,leading to the Tunganath temple.
We kept walking up hill. After about two and a half hours it just became very tough to continue walking. It just didn't seem to end. Each time we saw a flag fluttering we thought ,wow we have arrived only to realize we still have some more distance to cover.
After a while , it became a mind game.We kept telling ourselves,we can do it.
We just cannot give up.We kept setting goals for ourselves,short and achievable.
We shall walk up to the huge tree, up till the bridge, up till the flag..so on and so forth.
I met a sadhu baba from U.P. Ramnath ji . He kept giving me gyaan about the aghori babas , I am writing about them in my next book, I understood some of it ,some I did not. He suddenly shouted " Jai shiv Shambho! ". Someone walking much ahead of us replied " Jai Shiv Shambho!" . It was a very interesting conversation.
He was an author too, unpublished though. Hindustan ke Chowdhary was the title of his book.
We soon caught up with his chela Hariram and I wished him adieu.
He called me Jaipur ke mataji..it was so funny, on second thoughts, cute.
We reached the temple by lunch time. It was an amazing feeling. I couldn't believe I managed to reach here on foot ,not on horseback.
The temple was decorated with strings of flowers to welcome the Lord,as he had arrived here a few days back. The temple had a small dark sanctorum,so unlike the temples in the plains. They are usually huge and very well lit. We offered our prayers and some thirty clicks later we started walking again to peak Chandrashila. It took quite a while to reach there because by then our energies were totally sapped. It was scary to look down.
I met a gentleman with silver grey curly shoulder length hair,he looked like a rock star.
" Sir how old are you?"
"I stopped counting after I turned forty!"
"Wow ! you sure are an inspiration!"
He smiled. " Age is just a number, madam."
I suddenly felt energized.
He sure left me thinking.I have never felt as wonderful as I feel now at forty-four. They say the forties are the new twenties. I hope I live it up every year.
I was on seventh heaven that day. I sang "Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai" all the way up. I laughed so much that Shweta asked, " Why are you behaving like this, are you drunk.?"
I fell down twice, and both the times I kept laughing. Now it was Arvind's chance to comment, "Maine toh pehla insaan dekha hai jo hasta hai,
phir girta hai aur phir hasta hai. "
We just kept pushing ourselves till the time we reached the peak. It was an out of the world feeling,aaj mein upar ,aasman neeche...I felt I could achieve anything in my life now. Everyone was congratulating and hugging each other.
We did another round of posing and getting victorious pictures clicked.
Mohan as always announced after 15 min. "Chaliye,chaliye mausam kharaab hone wala hai." The clouds sure were overcast and grey. We started the descent.
I didn't enjoy it much because it wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. We had to walk back carefully and with a lot of concentration. It felt like ages ,after we reached where the Scorpio was waiting.
We climbed into it and heaved a sigh of relief.It was almost six in the evening. For the first time in the entire trip, I was quiet. We reached the camping site and started walking downhill towards our tents. I fell down once again because by then both my hands and legs were shaking. I laughed once again , of course till then everyone had given up on me.
" Bhabhi will you just stop it" Shweta was angry now. "Lag jaayegi". Arvind helped me to get back on my feet and just wouldn't let go off my hand. Reminded me of my son. He left me in my tent with a request," Ab please aap bahar mat aana" I couldn't stop smiling.
There was something in the air that evening. It had rained a little and the skyline was painted grey and black. I wrote a poetry.Loved every minute of being there and
gazing at the moonlit night. The night was ethereal.
Chaand ka noor pahadon mein jo faila, aisa pehle kabhi na dekha,
Behti nadi ka idhlana aur khilkhilana, jaise kisi haseena ka itrana.
Chandini se nahayi hui voh raat jaise kisi deewane chitrakar ki khoobsurat chtirakari
Tez chalti hawaien ,mithi si ,thandi si, mehketi hui ,apne aagosh mein sametti hui.
Jhoomte hue ped ,apni hi mauj mein,apni hi zuban mein batiyayte, khush lag rahe the,
Jugnoo chokidari kar rahe the,lalten leke poore jangal mein ghoom rahe the.
Din so raha tha,raat jaag rahi thi, baadal aur barsaat luka shupi khel rahe the, in sab ke beech, naram ghaas pe,in chamkati vadion mein ,char dost baithe the.
Itni khoobsurati ke ehsaas se lab sil gaye the,man
harshit tha,pulkit tha,
kaash samay tham jaata,is raat ka ant hamara naseeb tha !
Subah jagi aur raat soyi toh socha,laut ke aayenge ham phir yahan
Yeh raat phir aayegi,yeh naseeb phir layega hamien yahan !
We popped a muscle relaxer each, all thanks to the doctor sahab, curled up in our sleeping bags and slept peacefully.
Lesson we learnt ,
Just one and the most powerful yet . Nothing is impossible!
Chandrashila Chopta Trek : Last day. Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani !
We trekked once again to Deoria Taal. After peaking Chandrashila the climb to the taal was a breeze.
Once we reached up there, the sight sure was out of fairy tale book. The water was clear and pristine. The reflection of the surrounding trees and the mountains fell on the clear water, it created a mirror image of the same.
We sat there for a while, had lunch there, also danced on Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwani.
We made a video clip of the dance, of course, Arvind did the honors of recording it for us. It was amazing fun.
We saw a tunnel made of lush green trees hugging each other from two separate sides. The dry leaves covered the floor. The breeze was cool. You could not see an
iota of the blue sky. I discovered it as I went to pee. It was the most beautiful loo I have ever visited. I remember how in Singapore we had visited a property which had a clear glass loo on its rooftop. It was made of toughened glass I guess. You could look down and see vehicles crossing the road. It was quite an experience. But the beauty of this natural loo beat everything man made hollow. I have never seen so many shades of green in my entire life,it was beautiful to just stand there and watch, like a feast to the eyes.
We touched base at around five and drove back to the lodge in Kund. Shruti had forgotten her bad back and now wanted to go for river rafting. She was very scared of the water.
"I want to conquer all my fears now, please let's just go for rafting. So the next morning on her insistence we went for river rafting. They girls loved it. I wasn't too excited because I had done this earlier in Corbett. We jumped into the river to check if the lifeguards were working. Now that sure was exciting. We had lunch, changed our clothes and then drove back to our hotel in Haridwar.
We went back to Har ki paudi and decided to not have the regular food, instead, we chose to try the street food. Even that was fun, we savoured pedas,dahi bada,aloo ki chaat,mixed veg pakode with some tangy chatni and finally some kulfi with falooda.
At night I asked the girls " Come on now, please tell me what according to each one of you was the highlight of the trip?'. Akshara was not there with us by then.She had taken the evening train to Delhi.
Each one of us more or less shared the same sentiment. We were alone and did exactly what we felt like without a care in this world. It was a liberating feeling.
On our way back , we took a cab from Delhi to Jaipur. Shruti peeped out of the window and saw the Aravali mountain range, that’s all we have in Rajasthan.
“Such small mountains !” She exclaimed. “ Yeh toh ham aise hi chad jaayenge!”
We came back home with a whole lot of wonderful memories and a lot of infection which we contracted from each other. Akshara's fiery spirit,
Shruti's positivity, she said Life is beautiful every fifteen minutes and Shweta's capacity to love unconditionally.
As for me, they said Komal your laughter is infectious.
Hope you enjoyed reading. There can be nothing more beautiful than travelling. It's more of an attitude and less a question of affordability.
So open your laptops, research and book your tickets to the destination you have been wanting to go to for a long long time. Kal ho na ho