This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
Hugs. Shouts. Jumps. Selfies. Happiness.
Post that, everyone huddles up in a local cafe shop around Vivian as he congratulates everyone on completing Kashmir Great Lakes Trek! There is euphoria in the air and passers by can feel it as they observe the peppy faces of new group of trekkers who’ve completed the trek.
Vivian and Dashodh open the t shirt box and gift everyone ‘I’m a High Altitude Trekker’ t Shirt which has been included in their trek fees. Everyone is pleasantly surprised by the memorabilia. They wear the t shirts and click pics.
Dashodh notes down name and contact number of various trekkers in his small notebook along with their birthdays. He makes it a point to call friends on birthdays through the local STD booth in his village!
After bidding goodbye to the kitchen staff and trek leaders, they proceed to board the bus to the city of gardens and lakes – Srinagar. It is 2 PM and they’ll be reaching Srinagar by 5 PM.
As they board the bus, calls are made to family members, confirming they’re alive and have successfully completed the trek. Everyone is exhausted, but they want to shout out to the world about their accomplishment! Luckily, network isn’t strong enough to support mobile data. Rendered jobless by connectivity, everyone goes to sleep as the bus passes through well-built roads amidst beautiful flower meadows on both sides.
Pawan is too excited to check what all has happened in a week and tries to desperately get some network to check his whatsapp messages. He finally gives in to his tiredness and goes to sleep.
Srinagar, 5 PM
The bus drops them at Srinagar. Chris and Sara are doing a home-stay with a local family through AirBnb. They won’t be joining the batch for the party. Everyone bids farewell to them and exchange contact details. The batch breaks into various parts – they proceed towards the hotels they’ve made their reservations in and decide to meet in the evening for celebrations over food, music and booze! Different people are allotted various responsibilities to implement the plan.
Delhi team hasn’t made any reservations. On Arpit’s request, they join the gang and book rooms in the same hotel (Hotel Retreat) Swami has made arrangements for the gang. Ruhi is excited to be staying in the same hotel as Arpit’s. This decision bought them more time to spend together! She starts dreaming about spending the evening with Arpit. Divyah pinches her back to reality.
As the majority of trekkers check into Hotel Retreat, they decide to have a soirée in the dining hall there. The owner is more than happy to rent it out – August is not a great season for business in Srinagar.
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