It was one of those boring days where we had no clue how to make most of the coming weekend. Moreover, since I was in my final semester each day seemed like a weekend. Roaming in the hostel, lazing around in the bed in loose clothes, once in a while working on the project was the commonplace. Just about in time, my roommate got a call from a friend proposing a trek. The one word that can actually make me jump off my bed is ‘trekking’. I am not the most athletic person you’d have met, and I have a quirky phobia for running, but somehow I just love the idea of putting on my sports shoes and conquering the peak of a mountain.
|Fort remains: The Final Top|
Well of course, it wasn't a mountain per se. It was one of those many hills around Vellore, which I saw from the windows of my hostel room and wished to set foot on someday. And yes, now was the time. I took out my dusty, neglected Reeboks from the closet, cleaned them, picked up the right clothes and was all set for the next day. I still remember, I couldn't really sleep that night. I was unable to contain my excitement. I had been on treks twice before, but they weren't really adventurous, so I thought probably this could be it, just as it’s said third time’s the charm.
So we got up pretty early the next day, had a light breakfast, and left for the place where we were supposed to meet the rest of the guys. There were six of us. Before reaching the starting point of the trek, we had to walk through the meandering roads of a village. The local people around looked at us like we were some terrorists trying to infest their humble abode and while some seemed hospitable but the multitude of such welcoming people seemed less (you can’t really blame them). Anyway we finally reached the point where we had to set foot on the hill.
|Stairway to heaven|
The place looked quiet and serene. As we started climbing, we realized there were all kinds of people within us. One of my friends was pretty nimble, looked delicate but seemed sturdy and was moving quickly up there. Then there was my other friend who looked delicate and acted delicate and took baby steps. And then, I was a complete different species, a deer at one instance and tortoise at the other. Some were over the top enthusiastic. And rest of them were quite routine, walking up the hill the way it should be.The rugged terrain, slippery gravel, shortness of breath, noises of creepy reptiles and insects, nothing could really tarnish the drive to reach up there, our destination. And all that echoed my mind was “it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n’ roll”.
|The city seen as one from the peak|
Finally when we reached the ‘peak’, I could feel Dil Chahta Hai scenes flashing before my eyes, with the background music as its title song, played by a friend on his posh phone. The whole city could be viewed as one, something never witnessed before. The motley collection of gaudily painted buildings seemed like Lego houses, lightly visible through the layers of mists and fog. The final top had some remains of fort like figures. It seemed like a place where one could seek salvation, by simply sitting there and pondering over life and indulging in some hard core introspection. Amidst the jibber-jabber and our nonsensical photo shoots, I did steal some moments of solitude.
|A moment of Solitude|
Everything around looked at peace something unlikely to my mental condition then. I needed to know, what had made me so irritable and intolerant and why my mind and actions weren't in sync. Unfortunately, I couldn't seek answer to those priceless questions. However, this close encounter with nature, surrounded by amazing company, great music and funny photo sessions rejuvenated me. After exploring that area for over an hour, it was time to bid adieu to the epic top.
Not anticipating the toughness of climbing down, we realized the journey down the hill was much more tiring and difficult, as compared to the one that led us up. Sliding through the steep patches, bruising our bodies, jumping and climbing brought the dormant kid within us back in action. Following the trail, our self-determined landmarks like the ‘Bodhi’ tree and the White Shiv ling were our hopes toward being on the right path. Finally reaching back to where it all started it did feel like it was worth it. After our five hours’ endeavour, we had to suffice our hunger, so we went to a small dhaba which served extremely satiable vegetarian food. We had butter Rotis, Daal Makhani, Palak Paneer and probably the most delicious Kheer I have ever had in my life. When we were back in the hostel we realized that all of us were suffering from acute body ache. But at the end of the day when you know you had a good day, the feeling overshadows every other pain.