Dark silhouettes were what I could see when I got on to the vehicle at Silk board, some
excited, some friendly, but none as nervous as me.
Little did I know that I would be revisiting a Mahabharata myth that night! What followed was a long journey with knitted eyebrows, when I sat thinking, ‘Can I even
trek?” but the vehicle had already started to Kunti Betta base and there was no chance I could get off.
‘You won’t fail’ played on loop for a while until I fell asleep. .
Soon it was the silence. Yes, the silence made me fall in love with Kunti Betta the very first second.
Our first stop was ‘Croc-face’ and it was a trek that was nothing less than splendid. Trudging upwards with an eclectic mix of people and while trying to figure out ‘whom from where’, I slowly found myself enjoying the cold, dark night with a heavy backpack, a bright torch and fun company..
As we trekked further and sat on a rock where everyone shared scary stories, it took me two minutes to realise how far I had come and how much I had surprised myself.
My eyes scanned the lush emerald patches below, the black blanket above and the friends around me – I don’t think I could have asked for more.
Soon, it was time to get down and trek further.
“Step 1, Check,’ I told myself.
Within minutes, I found myself walking amongst wilderness, in between overgrown grass and thorny bushes, slipping and falling time and again on Nature’s lap, yet getting back up because She accepted me gracefully.
The silence (except for the occasional crickets or sometimes my own squeaky voice) was
pure, pristine and almost to the level of scary. Mother Nature’s lull was magnetic, enticing
and so different from the awkward everyday pauses at office.
It was a silence that spoke a thousand words.
I kept walking in the dark, holding Ishan’s hand and mentally ticking off my bucket-list in case the trek turned out to be my last day. I tried to shake off the thorns that stuck to my sweatshirt but they insisted on remaining there. It was probably Nature’s way of telling me that she loves me at my best and worst.
We reached the top of another hill and again I looked around the scene again, munching on snacks and hoping that the fog would clear so that I could see the speckled stars. We were waiting for the sun and the moon to come out for a quiet romance but Nature is a player too, and can cancel a date.
I stayed quiet (something that is very difficult for me to do) and observed the world as I would if I saw it from the underside of a glass-bottomed boat. I felt I was twirling a ball from a lever and didn’t want to let go.
Soon, to start a “campfire’, I helped search for some dried grass, desperately hoping I could smoke some as well, when Ishan looks away but in vain.
The ‘Pandit did find enough and started the campfire with his lighter. “Very original” I thought.
Post campfire, we went to the vertical drop point. I refused to go to the edge and look down but thanks to Vignesh’s motivation and whining (I couldn’t take it anymore), I did. Childhood memories swirled in my brain like a merry-go-round for two seconds. Thirty seconds later, a rush of adrenalin swirled inside. “I will push my ex-es off this” was the very first thought that propped up but when I looked down but the breath-taking view made me realise that nobody is so worth it.
I suddenly felt as light as a silky feather. It looked like Nature was heavy with my tension, responsibilities and fear I was facing right before that. It seemed as though she had taken it all on her while I felt ....weightless.
The world was tiny. I felt like a non-existent flaneur, like a city planner and a Goddess,
looking down like a boss from the top.
A feeling of gratitude to ‘Get beyond Limits’ rushed inside.
The happiness surely cannot be described, after all, how can someone really explain how exhilarated a farmer is when the fresh drops of rain hit his soil or a fisherman’s excitement when he turns the snout of his boat to the great, uncharted waters.
As magnetic as it was to stay right there Ishan and Vignesh took us to ‘Parikrama Point’ and explained the ‘Get Beyond Limits’ element. I would have had to be on crack to try this but the braver ones went on and although I don’t know what the view is from up there, I could see the sense of satisfaction on each one.
Soon we found ourselves on the ‘selfie hill’, freezed time and framed memories before reaching ‘Kunti Kund’.
Climbing down was fairly easier, as easy as it was to get back into the raucous city and get sway into materialism.
Kunti Kund relaxed us all and we all let the serene landscape sink into us before we went to Pandavpura for a scrumptious breakfast. Finally, I fell into a deep slumber, shutting the world off but only open to the sounds of Zeppelin.
As the bus rolled down to Silk Board I looked back one last time only to realise how much I would miss Kunti betta. That day, nature made me feel like I could challenge my limits and not limit my challenges!
I came back home with many thorns on my clothes, scars in my hands and lasting friendships but despite all the skidding and falling (only thrice, in my defence), I managed to finish the trek. Cheers to that!
As told to Ishan ‘Pandit’ Sharma, “No pint of beer in Toit could have ever paralleled this experience.”
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