This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
They exit the tent together, with joy on their faces. Ruhi watches Arpit smile freely for the first time on the trek and is happy for him. He overcame his fears and took action to make things right with Abhinav. As they move towards the lake, Arpit exchanges a quick wave a gratitude with Ruhi.
Gangabal lake shines with exuberance. The sunrays warm their bodies as they walk on the edge of the lake. Everyone is around the lake, doing various things. Couples are occupying various boulders around to have some private talks. Kanishka is contemplating whether she should shampoo her hair in the chilled waters. Shobana, Tarun and Karthik are getting a photo-session done by pro photographer Sandesh. Pawan is helping Sandesh with his lens bag. Chris and Sara are shooting the landscape for their travel blog. Dr Sudip and Dr. Karan are talking to Raunak about things to check while buying mediclaim policy. Nikita and Siddharth are going through their trek documentation filling in any missing information. Ravi is sitting by the lake reading Tuesdays with Morrie.
As they walk on the edges, a crazy idea enters Arpit’s mind. ‘Guys, lets jump into the lake! I don’t want to go back home thinking that I should have jumped in. I’m done with having regrets. Carpe Diem!’ Niket and Swami laugh at the suggestion, they think Arpit is joking. ‘Don’t tell me you are even considering this stupid idea!,’ Swami asks Madhu. In no time, Arpit removes his shoes and warm clothes and enters the lake. As chilled water makes contact with his legs, he shouts in agony and excitement. Turning around, he asks who is going to join him.
Abhinav joins him in his madness – afterall, they always do things together. As they keep going deeper in the lake, their bodies go numb, but they’ve seized the day! Madhu and Niket join them soon. Swami decides not to enter the lake. Excited, Niket splashes water on Swami, maintaining his peppy smile, Swami is left with no choice but to join in the madness. He forgets his grudge for Niket the moment he starts having fun with everyone. As everyone enter the chilled waters, they realise the importance of the sunrays giving them some amount of warmth. Sandesh clicks some candid shots as they play for five minutes in the lake.
Arpit feels the bath in the sacred lake of Gangabal has washed all his sins. He takes a dip inside the water and arises as a new man! This is the day he gets freedom from his inhibitions and fears. He now knows what he wants to do in life. He’ll remember this day for years to come – August 15, 2015 – the day he got independence, like Mother India.
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