We had our mid-semester break. I cannot remember the month it was.
I believe Eid-ul-Adha was the following day. And we decided to flee the humid, sticky, and polluted capital.
There are many factual errors in this blog, it has been more than a year, or maybe two (and nobody is discussing weed here).
We boarded the bus from around North part of the city around 5 that morning. Trying to recollect people who came with us, lies we told, things we did, food we ate, cigarettes we smoked, and songs that one of us sang, mars and snicker bets ( I and M had it about J).
We have had a lot of crazy trips when four of us were in college. But, somehow I distinctly remember this one.
I tried sleeping on the bus, the only condition that I had: We are never taking trains (I did once in my life, and almost died). Indian trains have their way of killing you; with the things, you see, and see again, and die, and smell and die; and meet and die.
They were preconditions, they all had conditions. Oh no. Wait, V did not. Instead, I had one for her, that she cannot bring her laptop to this trip. She had brought it along on our previous trip, and it made me cringe. The other conditions by V, M, J are not worth mentioning (but I cannot copy their intellectual property). I sat with M, and she gets sick all the time when we have to travel (makes me sick), but I tried being the nice to her ( the best friend that I am).
We reached MecLeod Gung after I believe 10 hours ( it has been a long long time).
I remember reaching Dharamshala and waiting for the small orange mini-bus. On our way to MecLeod Gunj, it was picturesque and perfect opportunity for V to click pictures, but everybody was too tired to move or do anything. We reached the central market around 7 that morning and had to walk around the city to find the place one of us had booked (well there was too much drama around that too, maybe after 2 more years outside St.Pancras you can pick a copy based on the events).
I remember it was as cold as it is now in London. Windy, cold, freezing. We were glad to breathe the cold wind, and wear mittens, and all the bunny things we had bought along. I and V got a wool cap. I still have it here with me, it is a pink one. V got a turquoise colored cap.
We were happy to see our rooms, I was sharing one with M. We had a balcony overlooking the fir trees and scary gorges.
We changed and went out for breakfast in the ‘Carpedeium’ ( I had written the name of the places, cafes we visited in my journal and am looking at it right now; should have mentioned the name of the place we stayed in).
We went around the city, visiting the Buddhist Monastery, the museum, the waterfall, contemplating life decisions and discussing our lives in the Capital we had left behind. I remember how J had her leopard print shawl loosely draped around her shoulders, in an unnecessary fashion ( the shawl that would save our lives the coming night). We walked around the mountain, ended up in some Tibetan Market ( I have the turquoise ring from this place).
There is story attributed to that day, but clearly, I am no storyteller. It is just somebody had to document this trip, it was me. V documented all the pictures, and now they are in the Archives of Archeological Surveys of MHH.
We woke up early the next morning and had breakfast at ‘Pancakes and Crepes’, where I tried buying the translated copy of The Quran (did not happen). We had packed our backpacks with nothing.
The Triund Trek:
We started our trek with two big rucksacks. I was pretty excited, dancing with all the free electrons I had. After all, I had trekked all my life, courtesy Sir Gabriel and The Mallinson Camps.
I was confident and sure that we will be fine. We the naive souls were the spontaneous kids, which is why we did NOT:
Take a tent along or our sleeping bags
Take food ( although the trek has small stalls selling water, junk, and cigarettes )
Take first aid ( I just had Tylenol, sanitizer, some sheets, jumper, toilet paper, and tampons)
Take a functioning torch
An idea of the distance we were going to cover (zero ideas) on that one
And whatever is essential according to you
After three hours of surviving on water, and five Kashmiri apples, and biscuits. We started getting irritated, losing our patience starting with J ( she got her period on the mountain . Lord !), we had lost our phone signals. M was wearing her stupid flying painted Converse shoes ( slipped a couple of times). I lost my patience when the people trekking ahead of us on this arduous trek started playing all the songs that I disliked. We reached the place where we were supposed to camp for that night. I remember feeling victorious, and then the hailstone hit me. And the temperature fell, it was around -6. We huddled up in the only tea stall on the mountain. It was warm compared to what was happening outside, and we needed shelter. We had some cup noodles, coffee, and chocolate. I hugged J, and we covered ourselves with her shawl.
Soon we realized that we could not go back to the base, and so V and the other friend started looking for some shelter, while I, M, and J prayed to them.
They came back drenched in rain, wet, and cold. They had managed to get us two tents, and I went out to help set those tents. After getting our dinner, we sat in the big tent, grateful for what we had. I sat there with M, the sky looked beautiful. The stars, Himalayas; I was too cold and dead to decide how beautiful everything looked. The others moved out to the other tent, they tried drinking something ( I prayed hoping that it was not methyl alcohol, otherwise I and M would have had to trek back alone ). We tried sleeping on the cold ground, and I regretted pitching the tent on the slope. And we all believed in the power of gravity that night; it was M who suffered the most. She was the base, I was on level one, and then our other friend and J was on level three. I could not move and begged M not to. I probably slept on her bosom ( she told me that the next day). It almost killed me, when she went to pee around 3. I swallowed some Tylenol, hoping it would do something. I believe I was the first to get out from our tent and dragged J with me ( we had our paste and brushes ). We were alive! I tried looking for V and her friend to make sure they had survived the night. They were busy clicking pictures near the frozen lake. After we were done packing our stuff, we decided to run back to the base. Took a Toyota cab, and landed into our rooms. We took turns to shower in V’s shower ( we had checked out from the room). I thanked God for the hot water (which has other story linked to it).
We had brunch at ‘The Four Seasons’, J ordered twice, and then V and our other friend decided to tell us what they had encountered last night when looking for our tents, last night.
That is their story to tell ( they had had an encounter with a person who was possessed by a spirit they believe . Had attacked our other friend ). V was flustered, she always pretends to be the wise one (even the times when she is not ), brave, but M and I could see how scared she looked. She was smart enough not to tell J and M. We probably would have jumped off the cliff.
And then we all started contemplating the events, and charting our beliefs in the supernatural, sipping coffee.
Later, after J was done putting pictures on SnapChat, I shopped for some trinkets ( turquoise bracelet and earrings). They got some post cards, and Tibetan stuff.
A lot happened on this trip, and it has made its way to my personal journal.