This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
It is 11 AM. Niket has reached Srinagar airport from Delhi. He waits for flights from Mumbai and next flight from Delhi to arrive. He talks to his parents and Siddhi informing them he has reached Srinagar. He calls up the new number Swami whatsapped yesterday night to check on him – he is in Dal Lake, watching the beauty of house boats and floating markets – they’ve got fresh vegetables, variety of flowers and chunk jewellery. Swami will be reaching the pick up point – TRC at 2 pm from where they’ll head to the base camp in Sonmarg. He moves towards the conveyor belt where their luggage is going to arrive on – identifying other people who are also carrying backpacks – That’s how he meets people coming to trek from Delhi – Ruhi, Divyah, Kanishka and Pawan.
After an hour or so, Indigo 6E from Delhi lands. Soon, he sees Madhu and Abhinav chatting animatedly, walking towards the luggage pick up area along with some other people. Seeing Abhinav after four years makes him speechless; he is still the same – athletic build, warm smile and walking with a sense of exuberance! He rushes towards Abhinav, giving him a tight hug. Sometimes, language is a poor communicator; actions say much more. Niket and Madhu hug each other too. They all proceed towards conveyor belt no. 3 to collect their luggage. Madhu is walking along with other people also coming on the trek from Bangalore – Tarun, Karthik, Shobana, Sandesh and Raunak.
After some time, flight from Mumbai lands. Arpit calls up Niket and rushes towards conveyor belt 3 to meet the gang. He hugs Madhu and Niket calling them swear words! He walks further towards Abhinav and extends a hand to shake hands. Abhi is more than happy to do the same; it’s a great start to a trip. ‘Fantastico!’ he mutters slowly.
Arpit collects his luggage from conveyor belt no. 2. As they move towards the exit, they meet the trekkers from Mumbai-Pune – Nikita, Siddharth, Ravi, Prachi, Rajiv, Dr. Sudip, Dr. Karan, Arjun and Nisha! It is going to be an amazing experience getting to know so many people from different parts of the country! They all move ahead towards the parking lot; where the cars would be ready to drive them to their destination.
Sandesh has already removed his Nikon D5500 and is clicking photographs of the airport and of people interacting with each other. They meet the co-ordinator of cars, he mentions cars will be there in half hour, they are a group of 27 people for the trek, 5 have already arrived previously to Srinagar and have to be picked up at TRC point.
Everyone makes the best use of time and introduce themselves to each other.
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