This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
The descent begins at 7 AM with tonnes of energy and little bit of sadness. As everyone proceeds towards the makeshift logs on the shallow river, Swami looks around the mighty snow clad mountain and the lake, trying to imprint the memories.
As he observes friends around him, he realises how the trek has changed everyone’s lives for better. He looks ahead at Arpit and Abhinav walking along. Niket’s low-on-humour joke brings a wide smile on their radiant faces. Prachi and Rajiv are walking together holding hands. Ruhi has fallen for Arpit, and so has Arpit; he needs to realise it though. As he observes himself, he realises he has transformed too – he has learned to live in the moment – taking one thing at a time!!
As they walk further, Swami lets the pent up emotions find their way – the music echoes in the valley.
Hum rahe ya na rahe kal Kal yaad aayenge yeh pal Pal, yeh hain pyaar ke pal Chal, aa mere sang chal Chal, soche kya Chhoti si hai zindagi Kal mil jaaye to hogi khushnaseebi Hum rahe ya na rahe, yaad aayenge yeh pal
The words touch the heartstrings of the trekkers who have assembled around him and stare at him with inquisitiveness. Swami lets his feelings surface, without controlling it as he lets the tears of happiness fall down – it is the first time he has cried in years – He feels accepted again! Abhinav hugs him and they proceed ahead singing songs on friendship.
Ruhi catches up with Arpit and asks him how did things go the previous day. ‘It was difficult. But once it was done, it was a relief – I felt I got back those four years I had lost; I felt light and myself.’ ‘That’s great. And what else?,’ Ruhi impatiently asks him if there is anything else, cutting him short. ‘And what? I got Abhinav back, that’s basically the long and short end of the story!!’ Arpit smiles as he waits for Ruhi to say something as she walks beside her dumbfounded. He is waiting for the right moment to convey his feelings for her.
Meanwhile, Chris and Sara are walking quite ahead along with Bangalore and Delhi gang. They are planning to go to Varanasi via road. They have decided to try hitch hiking in India – it’s safe and it’ll save money to continue their journey further without stopping by somewhere to work. They get suggestions from Kanishka about how to go around in Delhi. She invites them to crash in her couch when they reach Delhi.
Tarun and Sandesh join into the discussion and they decide to meet for dinner in Delhi about a week from now. Before a plan ends, planning for the next journey always begins! That’s how we’re programmed – to live into the future. It has its cons too – not being able to live in the present, wonders Karthik.
The short meadow walk is now over and the trail leads them to the forest with huge pine trees. This is the last point from where the snow clad top of Mt Harmukh can be seen. They take a break to catch up with other trekkers walking behind and play rapid fire antakshari.
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