Tag Archives: fantastico

Cake cutting at 11,200 feet!

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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The gang quickly changes their wet clothes to avoid getting sick and join others in the dining tent. Sandesh washes his face in the cold water as the sun sets in the backdrop.

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Pic by Sidd Sinroy

It has been a long day for Arpit, but he has a glow on his face, like that of college days. As they all assemble together, Vivian officially declares them to be conquerors of Great Lakes Trek! He has got trek completion certificates for everyone! There’s a loud noise of spoons banging plates and cups to begin the celebration!

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Let the celebrations begin!

The certificates are distributed by lovebirds Prachi and Rajiv on public demand. As various names are called for, the tent goes wild with hoots and claps. It is a celebration of their willingness to push their body and train their mind to stay focused on making it till the end of the trek.

Vivian then announces special categories of certificates to be distributed. The Green Trail certificate is awarded to Nikita for collecting maximum scrap on their way throughout the week and helping to keep the trail green. The inspiring trekker certificate is awarded to Chris and Sara for making a difference by sharing their travel stories. The enthusiastic trekker certificate is awarded to Tarun and Karthik for having fantastico attitude and happy-go-lucky nature. Vivian also appreciates Niket’s journey on the trek and the way he has grown from Day 1 to Day 6.

The kitchen staff enter the tent for the first time together with a surprise cooker cake! This was sheer luxury. Sandesh expresses gratitude to them on behalf of the entire team. He also thanks Vivian and Dashodh for making this trip so awesome! Screams of ‘Shaabash, Shabaash, aage badhte raho. Rukna nahi hai’ echo in the tent as Dashodh waves towards everyone.

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Pics by Sidd Sinroy

The cake is cut and dinner is served along with dessert! As they sit together to have dinner for the last time, they bestow various awards on each other based on public opinion. Kanishka gets the best dressed trekker award. Sandhesh, Ruhi, Abhinav get the official photographers award. Arpit and Ruhi get possible couple award (Niket coins it). Ravi gets the most silent trekker award. Pawan, Madhu and Karan get the energetic front runners award. Dr. Sudip, Shobana, Sahil, Stuti, Nisha and Arjun get first time trekker award.

Kanishka gets hold of Niket for mocking her for the best dressed award. As they sit together discussing various other things, she asks him the story of the final addition to the gang – Swami. Niket laughs as he tries to figure out from where should he begin the story.

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Baa baa, white sheep, have you any wool?

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Madhu and Ruhi are walking behind with the slow group under Dashodh’s able leadership. Divyah, Stuti, Sahil, Dr. Sudip and Raunak are all along.

The view of magnificient Mount Harmukh and two huge lakes at its feet is constantly visible; talk about keeping an eye on the prize! The colour of the lake keeps changing depending on the position of the sun; they keep falling in love with the tranquility of the place – Gangabal lake is considered to be an important lake in Kashmiri Shaivism and many Kashmiri Pandits visit it as a pilgrim place in September to bathe in the ice cold water.

As they proceeded ahead on the muddy path, there were various corners and turns which had steep falls on their side. The road was narrow to allow two people to walk together. Divyah put her foot on a small rock which wasn’t stationary; she slipped and fell down and was saved in time by Raunak. Had it not been for him, she would have slided down the valley like the rock she had misplaced.

Soon, they come across a huge meadow out of nowhere! The mountains are green in colour and engulfed by dark clouds passing by. Wild horses are grazing happily oblivious to their presence. They pause to click some pics – Ruhi’s 55-250 mm lens finally come to some use as she zooms in to click the wild beasts.

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Beautiful landscapes all around!

As they proceed further down the rocky and green meadows, they come across huge flocks of sheep making music through their peculiar sound! Stuti laughs at the thought of having a band of sheep play live music for them in Kashmir. She gets enchanted by the beautiful lazy creatures and asks Sahil to catch one – she wants to try holding a sheep.

Sahil confidently walks towards the sheep imagining it will be an easy task to catch the lazy animal.  The flock hardly notices his approach but swiftly make their move to avoid getting caught. Catching a sheep after all is not at all easy – it requires skill. Sahil learns on the field and changes his strategy to aim for the hind legs of a huge sheep. As he leaps to catch the hind legs, he is kicked hard on his face by the sheep. Catching them from hind legs was a wrong decision. Everyone laughs hard watching Sahil take the fall.

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Catch me if you can!

Excited, Madhu and Raunak join Sahil to catch sheep. They proceed together towards various flocks- but are not able to catch any sheep. Although heavy weighted and lazy,  sheep are agile and can easily make small moves – they have strong hind legs.

Dashodh explains them various things about sheep and how to catch them – they should aim for their face and grab the jaw and direct it upward, at the same time aim for the hind legs. He catches a sheep for Stuti and holds it on his shoulders. Stuti is delighted to hold it, but the sheep is too heavy for her hands. It runs away the moment it is given to Stuti.

Laughing, they move ahead towards Gangabal, they’ll not forget their experience of catching sheep – Stuti will ensure Sahil doesn’t forget it for years to come! It was a million dollar moment.

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Catching a lamb

Dashodh catches a lamb for Stuti – it is extremely cute. ‘Fantastico!’, she exclaims as she caresses it in her arms and passes it to other trekkers. The lamb finally comes to Madhu. He releases her on the ground. She runs in full speed toward the flock. It is the most magical moments of the trek for Madhu – he had surrendered himself completely to live the experience!

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En route Zach Pass

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The campsite wakes up early to the tune of patriotic songs being played by Dashodh on the speakers he had borrowed from Tarun the previous day. As everyone gets into the spirit of Independence Day, they are surprised to find a tempting sweet dish for breakfast!

Dashodh has helped the kitchen staff in preparing kheer along with aloo parathas on the occassion of Independence day. His charm always works and he gets work done, be it from staff members or other trekkers – Dashodh is the go-to guy in case anything is required.

Having the luxury of a sweet dish right in the morning brings a wide smile on everyone’s faces as they dip into the sheer joy of sweetness. The kheer, without doubt, is fantastico!

After completing their breakfast, everyone assembles together for a small flag hoisting ceremony. Tarun and Karthik open the tricolour flag as everyone lines up in front of it to sing the National Anthem. Their proud voices echo in the valley, reverberating in the vast meadows.

Today was the last ascent of their trek – Day 6 from Satsar towards the twin lakes of Nundkul and Gangabal. Tomorrow they would descend down towards Naranag and complete the trek. The distance from Satsar to Gangabal is 9 kilometres, shortest of all days; but the path is one of the most difficult ones – through huge boulders and steep descents.

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They begin the trek crossing the small rivulet near the campsite and start climbing the huge boulders on their route to Zach Pass. Zach pass is the second highest peak in the trek (13,500 feet) and one can see the twin lakes of Nundkul and Gangbal and also seventh lake of Satsar – Kalasar from that height.

As they hop on various boulders, trying to balance their feet after each jump, some hurt themselves in excitement. Arpit is walking with Ruhi, holding her hand throughout the patch of boulders, ensuring she doesn’t fall down. Dashodh is helping Sahil and Stuti as they are not able to find the way on their own. Niket gets acquainted to the patch and manages his way out along with Abhi and Swami. Madhu is far ahead leading other trekkers towards the Zach Pass.

Luckily Vivian had taken a longer but a route with lesser boulders. As they crossed the patch of boulders, they waited for the entire team to come along. In the meanwhile, they tried their hand at rock climbing around under his guidance.

 

They move ahead towards the steep climb ahead to Zach Pass. Niket had learned the hard way its important to maintain a steady pace and breathing rhythm rather than rushing ahead and getting out of breath. He walked breathing in as much oxygen as possible.

The route was very small and tricky. One wrong step and there could be a fall down the valley. Many horses have lost their lives on this path; everyone climbed the mountain with complete assertiveness and care.

They reached lunch point, from where they had to descend towards the beautiful twin lakes. Zach Pass was a ten minute ascend from the lunch point. Niket decided to check it along with Abhinav. After all, it didn’t make sense to miss it for just 20 minute additional walk.

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India, India!!

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

As the twilight melted away, the sun rose in the sky, with its red–orange glow painting the horizon; it brought warmth and hope to the trekkers. It is a new day, a present! As everyone comes out of their tents, they feel nothing but heartfelt gratitude for the morning rays.

Tarun and Karthik collect small stones running up and down the nearby hill. Everyone tries to understand what they are doing as they sip their morning tea and eat breakfast. It is only after thirty minutes that they realise what they are doing – many start walking up towards the hill to join them in their endeavour after completing their breakfast.

Today was Day 5 on the trek – they had to trek from Gadsar to Satsar – a land of seven different coloured lakes! It was a 12 kilometre easy walk on the meadows, barring a few steep ascents in the beginning. They would also meet Army men at Satsar Army checkpost – India’s third line of defence from the LOC before reaching the first lake of Satsar.

As more and more trekkers joined in the euphoria, madness grips the campsite. It was a great idea, why hadn’t anyone thought about it before?

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Tarun gives final touches to his piece of art

The stones were arranged into lines to read out India from the base of the hill. Delhi-ki-kudiyaan were sitting in the basecamp, Ruhi clicking pics of the work-in-progress! Ruhi was feeling alright now, the medicines and care taken by others had worked. Sara was narrating the incident in Russian as Chris was shooting a video in GoPro camera to document the efforts of the trekkers.

Karthik ran down towards his tent, breathing deeply, his lungs could feel the gush of oxygen pouring in. Today was indeed going to be a beautiful day! He removed something from his backpack and started walking uphill towards their new art installation. He opened the tricolour with proper procedure, as taught by his dad and laid it above the stones between all the trekkers.

‘Fantastico’ shouted everyone, now familiar with the lingo of VJTI engineers group! Dashodh walks towards them singing songs on India. He puts his ice hammer right in the center and joins the trekkers as they all sing songs and gear up for group pics!

Ye desh hai veer jawaanon ka 
Albelon ka mastaanon ka
Is desh ka yaaron, 
Is desh ka yaaron kya kahana
Ye desh hai duniyaa ka gahana
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India, India!!

Shouts of India, India!! echoe in the valley. They wave to the Army men of Gadsar checkpost, and salute them for their vigour and courage! As they walk back to the campsite, patriotism fill their thoughts – there is no cynicism in it – just possibilities. Also, the fact that newly-elected Modi government was inclined towards making things work made it hopeful.

As they packed their backpacks for beginning the trek for the day, they look at the beauty of their arrangement in green hill. It could be a point of reference on this route, thought Tarun, delighted by the fact that everyone helped him to make it.

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Arpit gets a date

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – What’s the Matter? To read from the beginning, click here.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It had been one week since the seventh semester had begun. Latika had joined the class in the fourth year as she had shifted to Mumbai with her parents. She was regular in attending class for the entire week; many other boys attended the class to observe her. She wasn’t much comfortable with other girls and used to sit alone even after a week; avoiding boys’ company as well. She was confident and carried herself well – she looked more beautiful as days passed by.

Arpit was observing her, waiting to make his move. Swami kept him updated about whom did she sit with during the lectures and who else were the interested parties. She came to play carrom during the break. Niket was at his place, waiting for some competition. At Arpit’s request, he got up and allowed him to play against Latika.

Latika was quick in her action as well as with her words. She got three whites in the first strike itself – Arpit mistook it to be fluke. She kept attacking the queen from the start, often badgering Arpit by disrupting his arrangements for cover. She played offensive rather than defensive – but Arpit was calm and composed irrespective of her actions. As their hands played against each other, their eyes played for each other. Between a series of flirty sentences exchanged by them, Latika got the queen and won!

Arpit was dumbfounded as he witnessed the winning shot. It was now time for Niket to enter the battle ground and save the reputation of the college – it was time for him to show his four years of efforts in learning the art of the game. She began the game and again removed three whites with precision. Niket couldn’t help but exclaim, ‘Fantastico!’ Her moves were no match to master Niket’s, but Niket enjoyed the match with her. He asked her to join them in the canteen for snacks.

Arpit was happy by the fact Latika had agreed to join them for snacks, but he felt he should have been the one who asked her. As they ordered a plethora of college canteen’s best dishes, Latika feasted along with them, tasting each dish that came along. She had a huge appetite for a girl!

She thanked them for a wonderful match and snacks and proceeded to leave the campus. Arpit followed behind her, trying to think what was he going to tell her. After some mock discussions in his mind, he caught up with Latika and asked her for her number. ‘I thought you’d come up with something better. You can ask me out directly!’ she said plainly, as if it was a normal thing to do.

Every sentence she said made him love her more, ‘Yes I’m asking you out for a date. Would you be interested in that?’ ‘Yes! Why not? Lets go for a movie’ ‘Fantastico! Would you be free tomorrow evening?’ ‘I’m free right now. What’s with everyone using spanish lingo here?’ ‘It’s our college thing! You’ll get used to it. Then lets go for a movie right now.’

Arpit couldn’t believe he got himself a date, that too so fast! All other guys would be jealous of him once they came to know about this! They went to watch the afternoon show of I Hate Luv Storys and later chatted for a while in a local coffee shop. Latika liked Arpit’s personality and self confidence.

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The One Where Time Stood Still

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Abhinav’s Dilemma. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

By 11.30 AM, the weather started changing. Everyone looked out of their tents, observing the dark clouds start moving away. Slowly, sun rays breached through them and provided their warmth on the campsite. The clouds had come far down, forming a ring around the mountain peaks. Fog had covered the surrounding view, making it difficult to see anything other than the campsite. As they waited for the rain to stop, one could hear loud voices from various tents – trying to figure out if everyone was safe. Only one tent remained quiet as hell.

Arpit looked towards the sky, waiting impatiently for the command from their trek leader to get out of their tents. He felt trapped in the tent with Abhinav; Abhi on the other hand realised the amount of discomfort Arpit felt just by being alone with him. He wondered if things would change ever. He wanted to grab Arpit’s shoulders and wake him up to present – he still cared for him and was his best friend. Nothing had changed. But Arpit wasn’t ready to listen; he got a vague sense of satisfaction in acting like a looser.

Finally, the wait ended and sky cleared. Everyone jumped out of their tents and proceeded towards the dining tent; starved. Food was ready and piping hot, a luxury in such conditions. Arpit tried to open the curtain in hurry; but the zip kept getting stuck due to loose threads around. Another impatient try and the zip broke. Abhinav helped him open the curtain; Arpit got out of the tent as quickly as he could; it was as if the tent was haunted by the past he had long tried to bury.

Niket asked Arpit if he was alright, he was starting to get normal now. Ruhi realised there is some tension between Arpit and Abhinav. Madhu asked Abhinav whether they were able to talk. Abhinav replied in negative. After lunch, they decided to rest for a while and later trek to the twin lake Kishansar.

The view out of their dining tent was spell binding. Everything had changed again! As the fog cleared, they could see the mountains had got a fresh coating of snow on them and the air had become chilly.

Kishansar lake was almost the same size and colour as Vishansar lake. Sid and Nikita were documenting each and everything they could jot down, including the altitude and number of steps they had walked everyday. They clicked a lot of photographs – for the first time, the entire team was together at one place. Sandesh was busy clicking pics from various angles, suggesting various poses to them.

Stuti sat on the corner of the lake watching Sahil play cricket with other guys. She opened her diary and made an entry –

‘Kashmir. Dramatic. Grand. Serene. Fantastico. The place where time stands still. John Ruskin must have visited Kashmir to come up with this quote –

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather

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Catching reflection of morning rays touching the peak

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – The mystery of thousand eyes. To read from the beginning, click here.

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By the time he reached the campsite, some of them had woken up. Abhinav, Chris, Sandesh, Karan joined Madhu to trek uphil to catch the reflection of morning rays touching snow-clad peaks. Rest weren’t interested – they were supposed to pass through the same route while going to Kishansar lake and figured they’ll see the lake at that time.

As they walked uphill, Madhu narrated his morning horror story; Abhi couldn’t help but continue laughing till his guts hurt him. Others tried to control their laughter until Abhi started laughing again and everyone joined in. It spread like an epidemic!

Sun was out and sky had started getting lighter in shades; but it was blocked by the huge mountain right behind their campsite – buying them sufficient time to make it to the lake. They could see Swami and Arpit trying to catch up with them – Madhu gestured them to come fast if they didn’t want to miss the first reflection.

They reached the lake on time – the sun was still blocked by the mountains. The lake had some bubbles forming on its surface in various parts due to fish underneath. Also, the winds thundered on the surface creating small ripples. The lake wasn’t still.

Arpit and Swami made it on time and then it happened – The mountain above the lake got illuminated in golden rays, one part at a time, until it shined in the morning light. It was electrifying. As the warmth of the rays touched their skin, they felt gratitude. The rays signified hope – hope that everything will be amazing, hope that they’ll complete the trek safely, hope that they’ll have a story worth telling at the end of their lives.

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Reflection in Vishansar Lake

Inspired by the fantastico view, Swami quoted Robert Frost – ‘There is pleasure in the pathless woods… there is rapture in the lonely shore… there is society where none intrudes, by the high mountains and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but nature more’

 

Dark clouds appeared on the horizon in the spur of a moment and hid the sun behind their vast formations. Dark cloudy skies in the morning isn’t a good sign on a trek; everyone paced towards the campsite to try and get a hint from the trek leader of what was in store for the day.

They could see some discussion going on in the campsite, but couldn’t hear it due to the clouds which had started thundering now. Sandesh ran as fast as he could – he had to reach the tent before the downpour began to protect his DSLR. He had kept the bag in the tent itself. Karan took the DSLR from Sandesh and placed it safely inside his waterproof jacket. Swami panicked; praying it doesn’t rain.

 

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Ascent is nothing, but beginning of descent

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post –The one where everyone moves in together. To read from the beginning, click here.

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‘Have you felt the calm

or the Storm?

Have you listened to the silence

or the echo of the mountains?

Have you felt like you have a long way to go

or nowhere to go?

Have you raced down a mountain

or found your ground at its peak?

Have you stared in disbelief

or jumped with sheer joy?

Have you felt breathless?’

Swami recollects a poem he had once read; He got an answer to that today! Staring into the vast expanse of meadows and mountains – he feels he has everything! There is nothing else that is required. Abhinav’s prod on his shoulders bring him back to the present and they started walking again.

Today, the entire team is walking together; thanks to Dashodh’s efforts. As they walk past the various terrains, the sun plays hide and seek. They take a break for lunch at the foothill of a small mountain they are passing by. It’s going to take them 2 hours to reach Kishansar Lake from here. The puri and bhaji have gone cold; but it still fills the stomach – that’s what is required, more than anything else.

Niket observes Arpit chewing his food along with others; he realises man is an outcome of his surroundings – Arpit would otherwise gobble down his food in Mumbai. Maybe it is the stillness of the mountains, maybe it is the sound of the waterfall, maybe it is the cloud passing by; something today made Arpit calm down and enjoy his meal. He wonders if this journey can help him become friends with Abhi again and prays to God for some miracle to take place.

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After completing lunch, they walk down further towards Kishansar. ‘Ascent is nothing but beginning of descent’, coins Niket. Madhu is not able to hold his excitement of being so close to the lake he saw on the internet. He can visualise the gang sitting by the turquoise blue lake and the snow clad mountain in the backdrop. Walking post lunch increases the time taken to cover similar distances due to fatigue. Hence, it is recommended to cover maximum ground in the morning.

Clouds move above them as they watch the live time lapse. They cover the huge mountains with ease; Arpit recollects – ‘When small things cast huge shadows, sun is about to set!’ It is a great metaphor but also true literally!!

As they are  about to ascend a 25 feet hill, Dashodh warns them they’ll be spellbound. This is the first point from which they can see the lake. From there, they have to walk for thirty more minutes to make it to the campsite. Everyone is excited listening to the news. The fatigue is gone and they are pacing up the incline through any and every possible route. Others have already advanced ahead, only Dashodh’s group has yet to make it.

After ten minutes of steep incline, they see it – together. A speckle of turquoise blue lake amidst parrot green meadows and snow clad rises. It mirrors a thousand suns and shines as it reflects sun’s glory. Any word to describe the view seems futile. Abhinav dares to speak out aloud, ‘Fantastico!’

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The Trek Begins!

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Signing up their lives. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

The day begins as Dashodh beats a plate with a spoon, walking methodically towards each tent in the semi-circle. Dashodh stays in the mountains of Uttarakhand, he loves the mountains and works with Indiahikes as a trek assistant to earn a living; he is 25, married with three kids. As Madhu wakes up, he finds Chris missing – he must have already gone to complete his morning routine. He wakes up Abhinav and they get out of their tents.

Vivian is in the centre, calling everyone to have some hot tea and healthy porridge. People get out of their tents to begin their morning routine. Tarun and Karthik do warm up before having breakfast. After everyone completes having breakfast, Vivian takes the oxymeter readings, explaining why is it important and would be taken every morning.

The weather is fantastico – sunny with pleasant wind. Today they have to trek to Nichnai from Sonmarg via Shekdur i.e an ascent from 8,000 to 11,500 feet and a distance of 9 kilometres. Everyone is excited about the same – brother sister duo Nikita and Sid have decided to document the trail. People get ready, pack up their lunch in their tiffin boxes they are carrying and help trek staff in dismantling the tents.

The tents, cooking equipment, off-loaded backpacks and food material for the week would be packed and mounted on donkeys to be brought to next campsite. The sherpas begin walking with their donkeys once everything is mounted on them, but always reach campsite before any trekkers do – some support staff accompanies them so that they can start pitching the tents and cooking some snacks and soup for the trekkers.

After a group pic and instructions by Vivian on how to ascend, the trek begins! Everything is lush green and serene – backdrop of snow- clad mountain ranges makes Arpit imagine the magnanimity of mother nature. Breathing deeply as he climbs, Niket is thankful he has already offloaded his backpack; he is carrying a small bag for water, food and poncho along with a small bag given by IndiaHikes to collect garbage found on the way.

Everyone is walking in their own small groups – based on their pace. Chris and Sara are walking with good speed, as if taking a walk in a park. As time passes, the distance between various groups keeps increasing. Swami has got speakers and is playing songs as they walk ahead together – Abhinav and Arpit are together but maintaining a safe distance from each other; Swami hopes it stays like that till they complete the trek.

Beauty all around!
Beauty all around!

There is no network available throughout the camping sites – they’ll be able to talk to their families only once they reach Naranag on completing the trek. Rajiv and Prachi walk along holding hands, a bit away from the group; that’s when men realise they are in a relationship and get disappointed!:P

As the sun rises over the horizon, its warmth prods trekkers to keep walking ahead. After forty five minutes of steep ascent, they enter the pine forests.

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Arpit treks Mt Kalsubai

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Shopping for trekking gear. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

It is 12 AM. Arpit is on his way to Dadar Railway Station from home. He has signed up for Kalsubai trek and their bus departs from Dadar East at 12.30 AM. This weekend is going to be challenging, he contemplates; I’ll be able to check my readiness and get used to wearing the high ankle trekking shoes.

He meets the other participants, they are a total of 12. They board the mini bus and head towards Igatpuri from where they’ll be going to Bari village – the base camp for the trek. Its a drive of 5 hours and he immediately pulls his hood on – in order to avoid speaking to others; he’s tired and will soon go to sleep. He checks some articles on Kalsubai – going through facts and pictures and hopes they encounter rain showers as they trek up; else what’s the fun of a monsoon trek!

Arpit wakes up at 4 AM; the noise of antakshari has stopped suddenly. The group of super excited engineering students who played antakshari the entire way till now have moved to ghost stories. He chuckles in his mind as he recalls the same ghost stories he had listened to with his group. Things don’t change much, do they? They reach Bari village at 4.30 AM and the trek leader asks everyone to catch some sleep till breakfast at 7 AM.

After breakfast and a round of introduction, they start the trek. Arpit is excited to test his shoes and paces ahead of the group; later, moving past the trek leader. He takes riskier routes, amazed by the grip of his shoes – pacing up towards the mountain as rain drops start hitting him with force. He isn’t carrying a poncho, he enjoys getting wet in the rains – inhaling the fresh oxygen, listening to his beating heart and absorbing the greenery, he feels incredible.

They reach halfway to the trek. Rain shower has ceased and sun is shining bright creating a rainbow in the sky! The soothing wind whisks through green trees and roars as it crosses flat lands. They click some group pics with the rainbow and move ahead to the summit – it has a temple at the top and a view of various other trekking peaks surrounding it.

The soil has become wet and more slippery, fog has engulfed the view ahead. Arpit climbs the series of ladder – often just able to see a couple of steps ahead of him. He marches ahead with certainty, determined to make it through. By the time they reach the final phase of the climb, drizzle has stopped. But the top is covered by hovering fog. They won’t be able to see anything unless the fog gives way.

The winds storm creating a huge noise. He kneels before the temple and closes his eyes, hands folded – a lot of things are running through his mind; he observes them – unchallenging job, boring routine, loneliness, betrayal by best friend, distanced family, lack of willingness to meet new people, especially women – he wonders how is he living with so many worries. As he keeps kneeling for few more moments, his mind keeps getting clearer – one thought at a time; until all he can think of is the present moment he is in – the blasting winds and the thick layer of fog. He opens his eyes and gets up – he has found calmness after many years; he feels alive! The fog starts moving, allowing them to glimpse various peaks and the huge Igatpuri lake. Everything is covered in different shades of green. It is beautiful beyond imagination. ‘Fantastico!’, he exclaims.

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To view the next post, please click here. To know more Mt Kalsubai trek click here.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.