This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
Dashodh leads the slow group towards a huge glacier right next to the campsite. They have to climb it to catch a normal route on the mountain. The sun is pleasant and shining brightly. As they begin walking on the narrow routes of the mountain, it more so seems like a walk in the park after four days in the trek! Everyone now knows their body better, their pace, weaknesses and comfort zones.
Other trekkers join them soon, following the navigation by Vivian. Today is a comparatively relaxed day and everyone is walking in much delight, taking detours to watch flowers of various colours here and there.
On their side is a huge mountain which rises high in the sky. ‘It looks the wall from Game of Thrones, only more greener,’ comments Ravi, an avid Game of Thrones fan. He gets approval from the other avid fans (majorly, all engineers; they are shocked Ravi watches Game of Thrones – some now realise accountants can be cool too!)
As they walk towards Satsar, they reach a point where Vivian asks everyone to stop. They can see a snow clad mountain behind, which is a part of Pakistan. This is the closest point on the trek to the Indo-Pak border. The proximity to Pakistan is shocking – Shobana feels pride in being on the other side of the fence. They unfurl the Tricolour once again at that point.
Pawan watches anxiously towards the border – his grandfather had escaped Karachi and made his way to Delhi after Independence along with his entire family. They had a huge mansion in Karachi and one of the wealthy industrialists there. Money helped them reach safely to India. His grandfather started his business from scratch in Delhi at the age of 40. His dad joined him after completing his graduation. They would often share stories about the mansion and the huge playing area with Pawan; he wondered if it was for real or was just a fantasy.
They proceed ahead and reach a small pond descending down the mountains. They put down their bags and sleep in exhaustion at the lunch point. Their legs are aching; the pain of four days of trek slowly getting to them.
The cool breeze carries moisture today; they should expect rains today or tomorrow, concludes Vivian. As they begin to eat their packed lunches, they are disturbed by a huge sound of footsteps hitting the ground hard. They look around the find where the sound is coming from – Sandesh points towards the top of the mountain from where a herd of wild horses gallop down towards the pond. Those asleep are up now, paying close attention to the wild beauties.
They jump into the small pond, playing in the cool water; carressing each other. They drink water and get out of the pond; drying themselves. Prachi is touched by their unconditional love; they convey so many emotions without any language! Little does she know she has a big surprise waiting for her.
The wild horses sprint back towards the mountains with speed, disappearing into nothingness
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