The mesmerizing sonnet, the enchanting sonata, the beautiful painting, the intricate embroidery, the gigantic sculptures, art is all around us! Art is something as old as the human history and is there in everything we see around. The style of the shoes, someone’s hat, the look of a car and the towering buildings are all designed by someone who could think of it. All of this has happened on a paper, canvass or a digital screen. This is where the children learn how to read and write.
Expressing since centuries
In the previous centuries, before the industrial revolution happened, there was some part of art involved in every family. What was essential for survival and called resourcefulness in those times, is now considered art in hindsight, like pottery. For art to survive it is necessary that it keeps getting transferred to the upcoming cohort. Imagination is an important ingredient of art. In schools, children can get enough exposure towards various art forms. It would allow a child to not only express themselves, but to also imagine a world beyond what exists. It is crucial that people are taught about art at an early age, the uncorrupt mind acts as a perfect canvass for all the creativity and imagination. Everything we see around is because someone imagined it.
The need at schools
The only way to do this successfully is to not start marking children for their creation. Art is not something to be rated and competed against, it would only deter children from pursuing it at a higher age. Schools must understand that children need some time just to imagine and create something without the fear of being derided. It’s also important to recognize which art form gets a child the most excited. We would have no Shakespeare and Mozart if they both were forced to paint. Every child needs enough exposure towards various art form, enough appreciation and enough support from the schools to keep the human mind inquisitive enough, for without that we would have perished long time back!
The intrinsic pleasures and stimulation of the art experience do more than sweeten an individual’s life — They “can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing,” creating the foundation to forge social bonds and community cohesion.
The Indian cow controversy has gained momentum with the BJP Govt. coming into power. Recently state Governments under BJP rule have come up with open statements claiming anyone killing a cow would be hung. Social media has been in a frenzy ever since saying in India rapists can roam freely while someone who kills a cow is likely to be hung or even become a victim of vigilante justice.
There are two sides – One who wants the beef ban and one who doesn’t want it. While both have their own host of reasons, they both miss an important point that would be covered in this article. I was leaning towards the second category on accounts of personal choice and freedom and didn’t understand the logic behind banning it, but then I thought of discussing it with some educated villagers who spend time with these cows. Their viewpoint is going to be the most important and here are the findings that made me utter, ”Holy Cow”.
The first important thing is the relationship between a man and his animal. While BJP propagates Hindutva and cites cow worship over the centuries as the most important reason to ban its consumption, it’s important to realize the reasons for which a cow was or is worshipped in India. This can help clarify.
First of all, Hinduism is not a religion.
There is no religion called Hinduism. There is no pappacy, no religious book saying how a Hindu should behave. Even Gita doesn’t mention the word Hindu anywhere. Hindus came to be known as such geographically. The land between the Himalayas and Indian Ocean came to be known as Hindu. So even an earthworm in India is Hindu, just like you say ‘African elephants’.
Hinduism is devoid of rules and conventions. It grew and evolved without any councils and religious books for masses. Hinduism became a way of the society’s organization in the best possible way and spread by stories. These stories were conveyed through literature filled with moral values. Several traditional practices are continued even today. Some of the practices makes sense. Some don’t. However, Hindus have always worshipped something that makes their life useful. There are numerous examples in History that say how Hindus worshipped tools just because it made life easier and people were dependent on it. For any agricultural society, river source and cattle is essential. River provides water, cattle provides milk and other dairy products, if it’s a cow then can be used to plough the field sometimes and dung can be used either as manure to make the land more fertile or as fuel for combustion. With so many qualities in one animal it is no wonder that cow became a subject of worship by the Hindus. There were other animals providing one or more of these benefits, but the quality of benefits provided by a cow over its entire lifetime was huge. Although goat milk is easier to digest, the quantity produced is lesser than the cow milk and lactation period is also smaller. Cows made a special bondage with the owner and even today they are treated like pets. So if you protest killing of dogs in China for meat consumption now you would understand how Hindus have a concern over beef consumption.
Need for beef ban
For reasons mentioned above the cow owners from the Hindu section definitely have a point, but instead of giving it a religious turn and blowing things heavily into a political drama, let’s understand the actual need for beef ban.
Times have changed and India has lost its huge variety of cattle stock. Just 200 years ago, there used to be over 120 breeds of cattle and today we have only 37. The population of the native breed of cow has substantially reduced and there is a reason behind this. With many cross breeds available today, the native breed produces only one-third of the milk and lacks economic value as per most of the people.
Need for saving the native breed
The native breed of cow although produces a lower quantity of milk, it has the advantage of being native. The milk quality is good and doesn’t get stale at normal room temperatures in India, while milk from the cross breeds gets stale at temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius. The cross breeds succumb to Indian conditions and diseases more easily. So they are queued up for slaughtering so that leather industry can make use of it. Similarly, the native period is sent to the slaughterhouse much earlier to derive economic value out of it, failing to realize it could provide more economic value in the long-term. Indian breed of cow must be preserved and so should be other breeds, to maintain the quality of dairy and for the smooth ecosystem.
Cows also represent a higher evolutionary animal in the ecosystem than chickens or goats. It is a scientific fact that if you consume beef then some part of it remains undigested and present in your body for rest of the life. Indians have had a habit of failing to preserve something that lacks any economic or social value. So attaching a social value is paramount for people to value it, while passing on the understanding of economic value would take some time. Meanwhile India has become the largest exporter of beef and in many border areas like Cooch Behar cows are sent illegally to Bangladesh for consumption (Sending one cow across the border illegally fetches 5k-7k INR in hand). Before the next generation makes a Facebook page ‘Save cows’ and fails to save them, it is the prime responsibility of existing system to put a check on their depleting population. It should however be done in a legal way and attaching political drama and going to the extent of killing people won’t solve anything. It would only make people more reluctant to bow before the law.
‘’A supernatural romance. He’s a Rakshasa, she a hunter. They are natural born enemies, but does that mean they will give up on love”?
I romanticize unconventional love stories more than what is considered healthy. I started reading this book because it looked like an Indian version of the Twilight, sans unnecessary drama. I have known the author because of her previous book ‘Games Girls Play’ that I had seen at my girlfriend’s place.
The book starts with an introduction to the two lead characters, Samrat and Aditi. Samrat is an ‘Asura’ and ‘Aditi’ is a hunter. The first meeting of these two characters happens through an action scene that throws some more light on their backgrounds. The subsequent meetings between the characters have been poignantly described. The author’s choice of words creates a perfect imagery of the object and its atmosphere. Both of them try to avoid each other, but something keeps them drawing close and nature takes over on several occasions. The lusty love-making scene between these two characters is very sensual.
As the characters get to know little more about each other, they realize there is a lot more to be learnt about the other. The fascination only grows. As the story unfolds, it reveals a few more characters with supernatural powers. Some of them have devious plans and eventually Samrat and Aditi have to team up to fight them. They are joined by some of Aditi’s friends against the evil forces.
The rivalry between the hunters and Rakshasas had started thousands of years before. So despite all the current friendship and action one question always lingers in Samrat’s mind, whether Aditi would accept him on knowing that he is a Rakshasa. Samrat wants to tell her the truth, but is too consumed in his fight against the devious plans. Samrat is an Asura but his intentions are not evil. He lives by a moral code and later gets a chance to bare his soul to Aditi.
Aditi is in love with Samrat, but only with the few things she already knows. How would she react on knowing the truth? Can she abandon him directly and risk losing the fight against the evil? How does Samrat feel on knowing Aditi’s dark ancestry?
Crave is a refreshing story that makes you stick till the end. The story has not been overextended and the author deserves full marks for making you admire the characters.
This book is a must-read for the intensity of love, craving and moral dilemmas it has. Moreover, the kindle edition on Amazon costs INR 68 only. Most of us spend more than this on our daily commute. Buying this book has been a very smart investment in the year 2016.
27 Broken Footprints is a narrative weaved around recent popular events dissecting and exploring pressing contemporary issues while raising a few questions – some old, some new – is vigilante form of justice an answer to today’s rapes in India? Where have all our heroes gone? Can a girl from IIT ever be a real woman? Can one really get over the hurt of their first failed love? The darkness of misery – can it lead one to kill? How much does one really pay for fame – acquired and lost? And is forgetting the only way to stay truly happy?
She got in touch with me recently, the writer of this book, asking me if I would like to discuss the book. This post is an excerpt from the conversation. But before we get there, below is the cover of the book.
What all can you see there? Do you see the woman, do you see her tears, do you see the seashore?
Do you see the legs, the four faces and the throned path?
Me: The section Inside Dairy in 27 Broken Footprints starts with the chapter Are IIT girls afraid of dark circles? What prompted you to delve on the beauty quotient of IIT girls? Preeti: It was in my third or fourth year that I wrote this piece. As far as my memory serves me, there were a couple of articles in leading dailies discussing the same topic,and those articles had words like – she’s the man, she males – yes, these were the words used to describe the girls from my college. These articles, discussions about these articles within my own circles and also the general perception regarding iit girls and beauty, prompted me to not just delve, but to write about….write about what I wrote about.
Me: It is a prevalent belief that beauty and intelligence are inversely related. Popular beliefs aside, was the chapter in Are IIT girls afraid of dark circles written on a defensive note? Preeti: No. It is satire. Not defence. In fact, you cannot miss the mockery amongst the words.
Me: What is the section The Other Woman about? Preeti: This is the first chapter that you will come across in 27 Broken Footprints. It is a love-hate-revenge story. The story moves very rapidly in future, past and the present.
I am going to quote directly from the book here –
“As far as stories in this book, The Other Woman, I think makes for a difficult read. It’s about a girl in love and a girl out of love. It’s about her innocence, her faith, her love and her cold-blooded deeply-disturbing revenge.”
This is a teaser of one of the sections from a book that my friend has written. The book is called 27 Broken Footprints and the section is called : Like Me, You are – our fictional reality
A lot of things happen in our times – around us to us to them to him to her to someone you know to someone you don’t know to someone you will never know. It is only those which we choose to care about only those which we care to observe, it is only these which make up our universe. History is always limited to the observer. So is the present. But too many things happen either way. It is up to the observer, it is up to us to choose what we care about.
The Chapter — Like Me, You are – Our Fictional Reality
Setting Office – Cafe – Park – Her House – Park – Subway – Highway
Themes – So much is happening, what will you observe? Work place pressure, obsession with fair skin, bullying in high school, popular kids, objectification of women in advertising/media/movies -_- everywhere, low intellect politicians, social commentary by politicians, education, poverty, legal system, status of women in society, perverted human mentality, social norms, stupid social norms, popular culture, rape, vigilantism, rich vs poor, naivety, children.
She is young, ambitious, thoughtful. She is borderline feminist, not too vocal about her views. She writes about what she feels for strongly though. Her thought process on how she understands the patriarchal society around her is laid bare to the readers. Then something terrible happens to her. And her thoughts change. She writes about that too.
Things you should look our for Her thoughts followed closely by her articles.
The footnotes, yes please pay special attention to them.
Her last article.
If you have any questions/queries then please leave a comment below and she will get back to you. Her book is called 27 Broken Footprints and it comes out next month.
It was the month of Oct 2013 that marked my fourth month in the national capital. I had been a bit disappointed by Delhi in terms of food, people and art it had to offer. I later realized that I could not make judgments about the city unless I had met different people (people not from my college or locality) and covered the entire city. Despite being in an MBA college I had never felt anything close to challenging (except for Decision Making Models, where I had to save my ass after scoring the lowest internals among 180 students). It was during this time that I came across a trekking event organized by my friend Suman. I registered for it because I wanted to escape boredom and not out of any uncontrollable fascination for Mountains. Click on ‘Indrahar Pass Trek‘ to know about the trek in detail.
About Indrahar Pass: Ever been to Dharamshala or Mcleodganj and witnessed those snowcapped mountains? Indrahar Pass is located right there on those mountains at an altitude of 4,342 metres (14,245 ft) above mean sea level and forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts. This high altitude mountain pass is located on the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. The trek gets slightly difficult on the last part when it requires climbing boulders, but the breathtaking views of Mani Mahesh kailash and the Pir Panjal range from the top compensate for these efforts.
Indrahar pass is a very popular trekking route that is usually accessed from Dharamshala or Mcleodganj. Located at an altitude of 4,342 metres (14,245 ft) above mean sea level, it forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh. The Indrahara Pass trek is considered to be a moderate to difficult trek. The trekking trail passes through the popular camping ground of Triund, Laka Got, and Lahesh Caves. Popular camping stops are Triund at 2,842 metres and Lahesh Caves at 3,475 metres. For all the effort required to get to the pass, the spectacular views more than compensate for it. The stunning Dhauladhars of Himalayas form a backdrop of the trail for the most part of the trek.
Flora and Fauna: Wild Goat, Monal, bear (rare), dense forests of Deodar and Rhododendron, alpine flowers on the grassy ridges.
Starting point: Galu Devi temple situated near Dharamkot village is the last motorable location for this trek. This temple can be reached on foot or by hiring a vehicle from Mcleodganj as well as Bhagsu. The trail from Bhagsu is steeper. Bhagsu Nag has its own attractions, including the very famous Bhagsu Nag temple which has existed over 5,100 years. The very famous Shiva café is located near the Bhagsu fall. This is a pretty ordinary waterfall, but the café is a nice place to have hot beverages and a light chat with fellow travellers.
The trek was going to start from Bhagsu Nag near Dharamshala and end at Indrahar Pass. We left on a Friday night and we were expected to return by Tuesday morning.
Day 1- 11th Oct, 2013 (Friday):
I boarded a tempo traveler from Connaught Place in Delhi and saw 12 odd strangers to accompany me. I had met Suman and Geetanjali once at CCD. I happened to meet Sunanda an hour before meeting the other strangers since we both had to board the same metro. I was really excited about spending next few days with these strangers. We left Delhi at 9:30 PM and had our dinner at Sukhdev’s Dhaba in Murthal. The journey was tiring and I had become friends with 3 people by now. The person sitting next to me was Akshay. I was really comfortable in his presence because he spoke fewer words than me.
Day 2-12th Oct, Saturday :
The road was not really good after Chandigarh and I was completely awake for most of the journey. Moreover, a girl’s Whatsapp notifications prevented me from catching even a decent nap. I remember falling asleep around 4 AM. Someone woke me up in the morning. I am not bothered about the time; I get down, brush my teeth and enjoy morning tea at some place called Kinnu. We continue our journey and I prefer to remain awake and not miss the beautiful landscape that had welcomed us with a faint shower.
We reached our hotel at Bhagsu around 11 AM. After refreshment and telling my parents to not expect any communication for the next 3 days, I headed straight for the breakfast where I was joined by 4 more new faces- Harry, Pradeep, Rohit and Gill. We exchanged polite greetings and then I impolitely ate like an animal before its hibernation (I had stopped counting after 6 Paranthas). Porters could not be arranged and so we kept our luggage in the traveler and then started the trek at 1:30 PM with essentials, sleeping bags, etc. I was walking a bit faster relative to others, except those new 4 strangers. I soon realized they were supposed to guide us upto the Indrahara Pass. The entire group of 17 had split into 4 different groups and my group had lost its way initially, but we soon managed to meet other groups at a common point.
I bonded well with Anshul and Akshay, because of cigarettes and camera respectively. I am not a good photographer myself, but I have a decent knowledge of photography. We met other members at the ‘magic café’ which is supposedly the oldest Indian chai shop. I also met a childhood friend who had come from Gurgaon for camping in Triund at the cafe.
The trek got steeper after this point and I wanted to reach the top as early as possible, just because I was enjoying the physical drill. We encountered really beautiful clouds on our way.
I registered the images in my mind while those with a camera clicked some beautiful shots. I increased my speed beyond this point and left everyone behind. I took out my player and selected the ‘metal playlist’. I reached the top at 5:30 PM alone and had the best moment of my life on seeing the mighty Dhauladhars suddenly appearing in front of me.
I saw two people waving hands at me. They were Rohit and Gil. I was the third person to reach at Triund. I went inside a chai shop and played Guitar to kill time. It was almost an hour now and the weather was chilly. There was no sign of other members and these two had gone to make some arrangements for the night and also to help others reach the ridge since it was getting dark. Anshul and Akshay joined me around 6:30 and within next 20 min everyone had arrived. We went to the forest department’s rest house, had bonfire and sips of old monk to combat the cold weather accompanied with rain. I had a good time chatting with strangers and Harry and I became friends the moment he played Led Zeppelin tracks on his mobile. We finished our booze and went inside the rest house for dinner. It’s a bliss to have hot Rajma chawal served at this altitude amidst cold weather. I talked to Prachi (a lawyer) over general lawyers’ stuff and soon everyone was in their sleeping bags.
Day 3- 13th Oct, Sunday:
Sun rose from the mountains and I preferred warmth of my sleeping bag over the scenery. I woke up quite late and still felt sleepy. I tried to freshen up and the chilled water brought my all senses alive, though the areas it touched were momentarily numb. We had our morning tea and decided to click a group photograph.
3 people turned back from Triund thinking that the trek after this would be too demanding. We were 14 now. We started our trek for Laka, which usually takes 2 hours from Triund, to reach the Snow Line café. Suman had a leg cramp and she made the wise decision of not going beyond Laka. Few more people decided to not accompany us any further. I had a good chat with Harry and Pradip just after our lunch. It drizzled for few minutes and then we started our trek to reach the Lahesh caves at Ilaka. It took us around 3.5 hours and we reached the caves before 6 in the evening. At an altitude of 3,475 metres I could not see even the faintest light coming from the town of Dharamshala. It was a full-moon night and the moonlit hills appeared too beautiful to seem real. It was time to meet the Old monk. Harry sings a Pahadi song. I liked the tune and memorised it right there. Altitude sickness had affected 2 people by now and they lay inside the caves. We were then joined by the other members. The night was harsh. I could not sleep the entire night. There was snowfall on the mountains and the negative temperature was unbearable, especially because of those chilly winds.
Day 4, 14th Oct (Monday):
Akshay was running a high temperature and Anshul had to board his return bus. They decided to return from Lahesh. Remaining 9 people marched towards their Indrahar Pass. This was the toughest part of the trek. There is no definite route and the path is really steep. One can easily feel effects of altitude when they gasp after every step. Fresh snow had shown after first strenuous hour.
The trek was scary at several points where a slip would mean death on the rocks. It was more dangerous for me considering my sub-grade sports shoes and first trek in the mountains. I was feeling scared and exhausted, I could not walk more. We walked for few more minutes and then Geetanjali decided to return, she was accompanied by Pradeep. This was a tough moment for me, on one side I had a chance to climb this high altitude mountain pass, where I had wanted to be for the last 3 days, on the other side I had a chance to descend comfortably. I wanted to make a choice that differentiated me from all those people like me who visit hill stations and just take a sigh on seeing tall mountains. I shall cherish this decision throughout my life. We were now only 7. You can see two of us climbing those steep rocks.
The trek got the toughest just 200 metres away from destination. I could not move but Harry kept pushing me. I saw that everyone else was struggling. I could see Prachi, the only girl there, moving ahead despite a bad health. I was now all motivated to reach the top. I stopped at a turn for rest and Harry almost dragged me from there in excitement.
Woohoo! We had reached the pass!
We reached there around 1:30 PM. After taking a rest for 20 min, we started moving back to Lahesh. The view from Indrahar on the Chamba side was spectacular.
I was running a high temperature and I asked Harry to consider me as an 85 Kg baggage that couldn’t move on its own. He helped me a lot during the initial steep part. I later discovered a technique of ‘ass climbing’ to descend from the rocks! We started reaching Lahesh by the evening and it was terrifying to see 3 of us missing. Geetanjali, Pradeep and Gill had not made it to the caves yet. The first two did not even intend to reach upto Indrahara. I was too tired to move outside the caves and Harry took my torch and started shouting on mountains for them. I could listen a few other voices, but if I stepped out then I would be the fourth one gone missing. It was completely dark and those 3 arrived by 10 PM. We had hot cup noodles to celebrate their arrival. We were supposed to descend upto Dharamshala the same day, but we could not send a message to Suman since there was no signal. By that time half of McGleodganj knew that 7 people were missing on the hills.
Day 5: 15th Oct, Tuesday:
Next morning Gill’s phone miraculously received a message from Suman and we conveyed her our status. We started descending down with our tired bodies. It was dark before we could reach Dharamkot. We descended the mountain using torch light and I saw Suman waiting for us with cars to take us down. I can’t really tell if this was the best moment of my life or seeing the Dhauladhars for the first time. We all tried to make ourselves look human and then boarded the tempo traveller for Delhi.
Indrahar was the first trek of my life. It had broken me mentally and physically and then rewarded my soul. I could not open my eyes fully. I had a minor frostnip on my nose. I lay my head on the seat of the traveller, looked outside at the moonlit Dhauladhars for one last time and realized that I had done something big as a first time trekker.
Name: Bhrigu Lake Trek
Approx elevation: 4,100 m
Starting Point: Gulaba or Vashisht, near Manali
It was the second week of August in 2014. Independence Day was approaching and I was all excited because of the accompanying weekend. 4 days of vacation is a big thing for an MBA college. This looked like a clear sign of getting away from Delhi and experiencing freedom from the hectic MBA life. I asked my roommate about his plans, but he denied any interest since he had recently come from a trek near Kasol. I asked other guys on my floor and everyone seemed to have their own problems- ranging from monetary constraints to constipation. I was all determined for a trek as visiting a hill station with an ‘all guys’ gang didn’t make any sense to me. Everybody had money for the latter, although both these plans would cost the same. I thought if I failed to convince a single guy for the trek then my purpose of studying marketing would stand defeated. I finally managed to convince the guy next door who was equally bored. Now the problem was to choose the right trek! I rang my friend Pushker who had recently opened a trekking company near Manali. He told me that they were going for an expedition to Bhrigu Lake. I Googled the place and found it to be a high altitude lake located over 14,000 ft.
So finally we are 2 guys in a Volvo owned by ‘Fauji travels’ travelling from Delhi towards Manali. The journey was never ending with several road blockages in the rainy season. For a moment all those worries from our parents’ side seemed reasonable, but then we decided not to think much of it. We finally covered the supposedly 14 hours journey in 24 hours to reach Patli Kuhal, where Pushker had arranged a cab for us to reach Rumsu. Normally people reach Naggar from Patli Kuhal and then take a taxi for Rumsu from there.
The car stops at the entrance of Rumsu village, where I am greeted by the ‘Bicchu ghass’ on my left hand, a dangerous plant that feels like the scorpion’s sting on your skin. We walk in the dark for around 500m and reach the cottage house/resort owned by the company. The cottage is fairly new and the fresh smell of wood was really pleasant. The actual owner of this cottage goes by the name Subhash ji and he made every effort to inflate our belly from his food. Considering we had to start our trek the next morning, we decided to upset Subhash ji instead of our stomachs.
We woke up quite early in the next morning. The cottage looked more beautiful than the night before. I saw beautiful apple orchards in front of my eyes, plucked an apple and bit it with that cracking sound, quite similar to what you might have heard in the Vico Vajradanti advertisement that featured a couple near waterfall.
Meanwhile Pushker explained me the concept behind his company Kailash Rath. The aim of this company is to promote the experience of trekking among Indians. The treks are conducted at really cheap prices and the profit is used to develop the Rumsu village. I liked their approach and I was convinced that they are different from the plethora of money making trekking companies that exist today. Even the walking sticks used during the trek are manufactured by the locals and can be purchased for 300 INR less compared to the market price of 800 INR. The guides available with them are certified and have an experience of over 15 years with the YHAI.
I saw a beautiful view inside as well as outside the cottage. I roam around the area and then decide to take out the borrowed camera from my borrowed bag and click some pictures.
At this point, the comfort of cottage had provided the much needed refreshment from that tiring journey. We have a light breakfast and then board the hired cab to reach Manali. Let me tell you guys something about the Bhrigu Lake.
Bhrigu Lake is a high altitude Himalayan lake located at an elevation of around 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in Kullu district in Himachal Pradesh. It is located to the east of Rohtang Pass and is non-motorable. It can be reached by trekking either from the Vashishth temple, which is famous for its hot water springs, which is close to the town of Manali or from Gulaba village. Actually there is no settlement in Gulaba and is an area of the Pir Panjal mountain range. It is named after Maharishi Bhrigu.
Legend has it that the sage used to meditate near the lake and hence it has been rendered sacred; the locals believe that due to this the lake never freezes completely. You are not allowed to camp at the Bhrigu lake and one must descend few meters to find the suitable ground.
Starting point: The trek for Bhrigu Lake can be approached either from the Gulaba Village or Vashishtha. The path from Vashishtha is steeper, less scenic and has lesser spots for camping. Gulaba is accessible from the highway between Manali and Rohtang Pass.
Trek duration:4-5 hours
We stretch a bit and then start our trek. I have trekked over 14,000 ft altitude before and along the steep trails, but I had never expected the starting portion of the trek itself to be so steep. We kept walking and after an hour we felt completely drained out. We ask the Guide to take a break and open the carton full of snacks and protein bars for us. Right at this moment, we saw some dark clouds passing below us. The guide said we need not worry as they are flowing along a different direction. We pack the carton again and ignore the clouds. We were all charged with the energy and trekked really well for next 30 minutes. There was a lot of greenery around us and the bright flowers were all around.
We paused a bit for clicking beautiful pictures and then saw the clouds taking a 90 degree turn to approach us.
Rains are the last thing one would like to encounter while trekking on a mountain. It derails the speed, demotivates first timers as well as the experienced ones, lowers the temperature by 2-3 degrees in less than an hour and if it makes your bag wet, that would spoil the entire trek for you. There were 4 of us on this trekking expedition, accompanied by 1 guide and 2 porters cum cooks. None of us knew how the exact route looked like since it was a part of an expedition and not an organized trek. When the clouds approached we increased our speed, and then the rains happened. We were running now trying hard to locate a trail beneath those streams of water. We were wearing rain jackets, the bag was waterproof and we had even kept our clothes inside plastic bags before putting them in the bag. Pushker and I didn’t realize that we were much ahead than rest of the people. Within few more minutes we saw our camping spot. The porters arrived immediately and we set our tent. We have our dinner and everyone falls asleep by 10.
Today was going to be a tough day. The first part of the trek involved climbing through a very steep section, visible in this pic.
We have our breakfast followed by the morning tea. The porters were busy in packing the entire stuff and washing dishes. I decided to play Guitar for them.
We start afresh for our journey. The steep climb was exhausting, but what tired us more was the sight of another similar steep section. We climb that too, meet some other Guide on the way and we were directed to a very steep mountain that required us to step on several rocks for climbing it. Assuming it to be the last portion of the trek, we were all determined to cover it. We encountered a few glaciers before climbing it. Once we reach the top, we have this this painful realization that we have come the wrong way. The view was nevertheless breathtakingly beautiful.
We tried descending this mountain, failed on this path and then descended it along the same way we had climbed it. We kept moving and had realized by now that the lake was located behind a huge snow Glacier. We needed to climb a different mountain for this. The effects of high altitude had started showing on one of the guys and he suffered mild headache. We had to get behind this huge glacier.
Every one showed their grit and we climbed this portion. We were welcomed with our first view of the lake and now it required only few minutes for us to reach there.
We trek further and finally reach the lake. I didn’t want to miss the holy dip inside this sacred lake, although I was terrified of the cold water.
We spent few minutes at the lake and then decided to descend towards the route that would take us to Vashistha the next day. Camping is not allowed near the lake, so we descended around 400 metres to reach the spot that looked perfect for camping.
The morning welcomed us with a bright sunlight. We were happy with the way our trek had turned out. Our camp site looked beautiful and couldn’t help myself clicking a pic.
We later started descending towards Vashistha. The trail was quite muddy and I slept almost 10 times during the descent, more so because I was running down since I had to catch a bus the same evening. I could see several flowers on both sides of the trail. Our guide said that we were lucky to be trekking in August and these would not be visible during the latter half of October. We made a quick descent towards Vashishtha and reached down within 3-4 hours. The place is famous for its Vashishtha temple and its natural hot water spring, which is claimed to have healing properties.
In retrospect, we did realize there was a mistake from the guide who misguided us. That made the entire 30 Km trek to be around 60 Km for us, but we got to see a few unexplored sites along the misguided path and that made all the difference to our experience. It’s always better to look at as many beautiful things as you can, get mesmerized more, get to walk more and learn to appreciate nature’s magnificence.
Once my feet touched the grounds of human settlement, the painful realization of living in Delhi struck me. If only I could change certain things, but I will always continue to find some time for myself and keep running to the Himalayas.
PS: For any other info related to this trek you can reach to me on 8826946805 through Whatsapp.
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