This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
It’s 7.30 AM. Dashodh comes up with a plan today – he asks people who are slow to start walking along with him as the rest will begin their journey at 8 AM. Niket runs to join Dashodh’s group – he knows he’ll give the proper navigation and motivate him when he gets stuck. Arpit, Swami, Abhinav and Madhu also join in to be with Niket. Ruhi, Divyah, Shobana contemplate and begin the trek with them. Rajiv and Prachi are also along but they are at a safe distance from others, walking in paradise on earth discussing romantic things. Both of them are branding consultants and work together in a start up in Mumbai.
It is extremely pleasant, the sun isn’t out yet on their backs. Divyah took lessons from yesterday and has applied SPF 500 on the back of her neck too. As it keeps getting hotter people remove their jackets exposing their hands to the harsh sunrays.
They are 30 minutes into the trek and have covered one kilometre already at a comfortable pace. Dashodh exclaims his happiness on their progress – ‘Shaabash, Shabaash! Aage badhte raho’ Niket is breathing comfortably and walking along with the gang; he realises one of the reasons why he kept lagging behind yesterday was all else had a pace faster than him and he tried to match them, eventually draining himself. Soon the other trek members will begin the trek and eventually overtake them. However, there won’t be much distance as they’ve got a head start.
Ruhi starts talking to Niket, sharing her similar experience on Day 1 in Roopkund pass last year. Divyah is looking around for Tarun, wondering which route will he come from. After discussing various issues on psychology and engineering, Ruhi feels comfortable with being along with the gang. Madhu gets intrigued about psychology and asks her various things about child psychology from the cases he has observed in his experiential learning workshops. Arpit is the only one who is silent; trying to deliberately ignore her, she wonders why.
Soon, they enter a patch where there are broken glaciers over a river. It is beautiful. They find a path around the glacier as they climb up towards Nichnai Pass. This is the first time they encounter snow on the trek to tread on! Tarun and Karthik join them up in a jiffy, pacing towards the peak. Tarun slips and slides down the snow ride, enjoying it to the fullest. He halts right in front of Ruhi and Divyah; his eyes filled with enthusiasm. Ruhi decides to discuss Tarun with Divyah once they have some privacy.
Soon they make it to the top of Nichnai Pass at 13,500 feet – the second highest point in the trek and suddenly someone’s cell buzzes! It is Niket’s mom! She has been trying to get in touch with him since the morning. After checking the itinerary print out Niket had left at home, she figures out there are chances of getting signal at Nichnai pass and she goes for it! Niket feels ashamed and walks towards the edge to talk to her – She asks if he is enjoying the trek, informing they have fixed the engagement date as Thursday, 20th August so that his friends can also come along for the ceremony. Niket is more than excited to receive good news!
Everyone lines up to make calls home from Niket’s cellphone. Rest aren’t getting network. Niket suddenly becomes the most popular person on the trek (though it had to do with the previous day more than today). Arjun and Nisha call up home to speak to his mother and their five year old daughter Isha. Her voice brings a huge smile on Nisha’s face followed by tears of guilt.
Everyone reaches Nichnai pass and after clicking some group pics, they prepare themselves for the tricky descend on the other side – they can see small lakes on their way and an endless stretch of meadows filled with flowers as they descend.
To view the next post, please click here.