This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Madhu wakes up due to Chris’s snoring. He checks his watch – It’s 5.00 AM. He feels guilty for having an eight hour long sleep; yesterday’s walk was indeed taxing. Now that he is awake, he removes his bag of toiletries and heads towards the washroom. Dawn will come after thirty minutes and the entire campsite will be alive with voices. He likes the peace of the morning. The sky is cloudy and winds are chilling as compared to yesterday.
Madhu wears his floaters and proceeds to attend his morning call; humming some music along. He looks around to check if anyone is awake yet; he is the only soul awake to walk in darkness towards the dug pit with baby wipes in his kit! Kitchen staff also seem to have taken a well-deserved break; they are yet to begin preparations for breakfast. Today (Day 3) is a free day, they can roam around and trek to the nearby lake called Kishansar. Kishansar and Vishansar are twin lakes and can be seen together on the day they advance towards Gadsar Pass (Day 4).
Madhu takes a wrong turn and starts walking away from the camp. Unaware of his mistake; he starts pacing on the route – the pressure suddenly gets to him. He is worried as he isn’t able to locate the washroom and decides to defecate in the open. He finds a muddy patch and digs a hole in it and covers the area with various rocks. As he completes the process and fills the pit, he sees a thousand red eyes staring at him! He tries to recollect which all types of animals have pigment of tapetum lucidum which reflects their eyes as red in the night (as seen on discovery channel). All he can now think of is wild dogs!
The thought of wild dogs waiting to catch their prey sends a chill down his spine. He starts sweating in 5 degree celcius temperature wondering whether his nature’s call was going to be the last one. After some moments of anxiety, he is able to put on his thinking hat and analyse the situation. He realises they cannot be wild dogs as they are way too many in number – wild dogs hunt in packs of 4-6. Also, they haven’t attacked him; so they are most probably herbivores.
Intrigued, he decides to go ahead to see which are these animals. As he walks towards them, suddenly a pair of blue eyes starts pacing towards him barking all the way. Madhu runs towards the campsite like Milkha Singh; after-all it is a matter of life or death for him. As he crosses a distance, the animal stops following him.
It is not until dawn, that he can unravel the mystery of thousand red eyes. He bursts out laughing when he sees what he should have seen in the first place, had he been carrying a torch! They were flock of sheep!!! Soon, he was able to see an old sherpa walk towards him with a sheepdog. He seemed irritated, must have woken up due to the barking of the sheepdog. Concerned, he had taken a tour to check the well-being of his flock of sheep and walked towards Madhu to give him a warning.
Madhu was relieved with the fact that what he thought wasn’t true! He now could recollect the episode on discovery channel – Sheepdogs in Himalaya tend to reflect blue colour in the night and sheep reflect red. He felt gratitude that nothing untoward happened; although he had done all research to know there are no wild animals on the trek trail – it didn’t seem true when he saw the red eyes staring at him. He walked back towards his tent to wake up Abhinav. He wanted to catch the first rays hit Vishansar lake.
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