This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
As everyone completes their dinner, they move the party outside the dining tent where Dashodh had collected small twigs and pieces of wood for bonfire for their last night with the stars. Ruhi captures the small orange particles rising in the air from the bonfire.
Everyone huddles around to take the warmth from the fire and begin singing various songs. As time passes by, the songs change from yesteryears to current ones, romantic to friendship, festivals to travel and patriotism. The kitchen staff join the bonfire and begin singing Kashmiri folksongs. Nobody understands it, but they encourage them as they dance with the music banging their plates for music.
Seven days later, there was no distinction on the basis of caste, profession or language; everyone had got one with Kashmir’s soul! Every face glowed in the warmth of the fire – their life had changed forever. Darkness helps one ignite light within, for everyone shines during sunlight, it is the night that distinguishes.
As time passes, Tarun begins the DJ session and plays party songs aloud on speakers. Everyone starts dancing in the circle. Songs hit newer lows as Honey Singh begins singing. Niket then plays the peppy gujarati anthem – Sanedo – a song which is played in every gujarati function – be it diwali, holi, navratri or even success parties. He explains what everyone is expected to do as music progresses. They all sit down waiting for the cue from Niket, and spring together to dance again the moment Niket gives the cue. It’s super fun.
After the DJ session, most of the trekkers head back towards their sleeping bags, exhausted and happy. Rest linger around to take in the final warmth the bonfire has to offer. They sit down around the fire, Ruhi asks everyone to share what was their best moment during the trek.
She goes first – her best moment was when the Army jawan offered her hot water with a huge smile at Gadsar Army Camp. Prachi’s best moment was when Rajiv proposed her. Rajiv’s best moment was the one where she said yes. Tarun’s happiest moment was sliding down Nichnai Pass. Karthik’s moment was the first sight of Kishansar lake. Madhu’s happy moment was watching the wild horses sprinting the enormous green meadows. Niket was happiest when he reached the campsite on Day 1. Swami’s favourite moment was watching Harmukh peak. Arpit’s happy moment was dancing alone under star studded sky. He winks at Ruhi and they smile at their private joke. Abhinav’s happy moment was when they all jumped into the chilling water together. Kanishka’s happy moments were everytime she managed to wash her hair during the trek. Divyah’s happy moment was Dashodh motivating her to continue walking ahead.
As night progresses ahead, everyone walks back towards their tents. Just seven days into this lovely place and it felt home. Leaving it tomorrow is going to be difficult task. Arpit requests Madhu to stay with Niket and Swami for the night for Abhi and he have a lot of things to catch up on.
Arpit and Abhi sit together outside their tent in complete darkness, observing the milky way. It is beautiful. They talk the night away underneath the starry sky.
END OF PART SEVEN
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