This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Read the previous post – Catching reflection of morning rays touching the peak. To read from the beginning, click here.
The thunders gave way to lightning and darker clouds cast shadows on the campsite. They were yet to reach the campsite when it started – Hailstones! Nature is unpredictable – at one point in the morning the sky had no indications of clouds and now it was raining cats and dogs.
As much as Arpit loved rains, he didn’t want hail stones – they began in small sizes; but he knew they would eventually become large enough to cause an impact. They could hear the shrieks of horses and donkeys, caught unaware and without any shelter. The sky went pitch black from bright blue in no time; they had to now find the campsite with the help of voices. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, Arpit saw some sherpas opening the reigns of horses and ran to help the tongue-tied animals. Abhinav went behind him to ensure he was safe and asked Madhu to take the rest towards the tents.
Madhu and others were soon able to navigate their way to the campsite and get into Swami’s tent. Niket was still asleep oblivious to what was happening around. He got up as everyone huddled into the tent – Swami updated Niket with what was going on as Sandesh, Karan, Chris settled down. Madhu closed the netted curtain and tried to locate Arpit and Abhinav in the darkness.
Arpit helped the sherpa take the reigns off horses and Abhinav started doing the same for the donkeys. They ran towards the higher hills, which were probably above the clouds. Soon, Arpit got into a tent and prompted Abhinav to jump in. It was an abandoned tent of kitchen staff – they all must be together in the kitchen tent, thought Abhinav.
They both tried to see the sky through the netted curtain. It was dark. It would take time for the weather to change. They could see lightning on the other end of the mountain. They wondered what will happen if that cloud came towards the campsite.
Hail stones were now falling in the size of small circular spheres, hitting the tents with a thud; making everyone realise they were at mercy of nature! After some time, Arpit and Abhi realise they are alone in the tent and cannot go anywhere else until this madness stops.
‘Are you still stuck where you were four years ago Arpit?’, asks Abhinav. Arpit is red with anger; he doesn’t want to take a walk down the memory lane; he has tried to forget it since long. He checks to see if the hail stones have stopped. They haven’t. Alas! He doesn’t have anywhere to go. He has to be in this tent with Abhi. ‘Lets not get into this right now’, he replies trying to calm himself down.
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