Subhajit Das (Bonie)
I will begin this blog with a small story; no maybe more adequately we can say that it was a happy incident. So back last winter, I was trekking all alone through a mountain slope and it was snowing pretty hard. I had my rucksack on my back, which seemed to be gaining weight with each step that I took. I had a poncho which covered me and my rucksack, well it was doing a mediocre job in providing me with any comfort but still it was there for the sake of it. Well you guys must be thinking; oh what tough titties, well yes but I was not much bothered with all these things. If you could see what I was seeing with my own eyes, discomfort is not a thing that first comes to your mind.
It was like I was walking through paradise, as far as I could see as far as my imagination could fathom, everything was covered in a cloud of white snow, mountains after mountains, peaks after peaks everything was covered in white. As I walked on, feathery snow pellets touched my cheeks and the air I inhaled crept deep into my soul. When all these things are happening to you at the same time, there is a strange emotion that erupts inside you, you are not sad, you are not happy but maybe you are satisfied. You don’t think of anything, you don’t yearn for anything, your sense of belongingness becomes insignificant and you start living in that particular moment, you are at peace.
After walking for more than three hours during the span of which I finished four snicker bars while admiring the mountains, a small wooden shack came up. It was a welcome sight none the less. As I entered the shack, six or seven people were crammed around a small fire, which was doing its best to keep everyone warm.
Upon seeing myself covered in snow from head to toe, everyone moved aside a bit and made enough space to for me to squeeze in. it’s amazing how a little warmth can change you, blood came rushing back to my face, I felt more cheerful. An old wrinkled faced smiling aunty brought a cup of hot piping tea for me and we started to chat with each other.
A brief introduction later, I got to know all these random people sitting around the fire were trekkers from all around India, who have come so far into the lap of the mighty Himalayas just to escape the monotonousness of the city life. One of the most interesting gentlemen among this group of strangers was named Aryan. He was a 51-year-old astute man, with the face of a seasoned trekker.
Well growing up, most of us have read these adventure stories, where the lead protagonist is this old, intelligent strong individual who has done these amazing adventures on their own, well Mr. Aryan resembled like one of them. He had a wrinkled face, thick white beard and mustache covered his face, he had a strong jaw line and deep penetrating eyes which showcased how much life this man has seen.
Well, I and Aryan started chatting with each other; he was most interested in knowing where I have come from and what was my purpose of coming to the mountains was. I told him that as a writer by profession I often come to the mountains and don’t roam around in search of a purpose, but come to the mountains so that my life can have a purpose when I return back. He smiled upon listening to these words and told me he did not expect such wise words to come out from such a young individual. Well, I smiled back and said even I did not expect a reply like this to come out of my mouth. Maybe it is the mountains that makes men wiser. We both laughed at this.
Aryan was one of the most interesting individuals that I have ever come across; he had these amazing adventures and was very keen to talk about them. Like once, when he was trekking through this particular secluded trail deep In the Paravati Valley, it started raining heavily. He waited under a makeshift abandoned shelter for more than 4 hours and when the rain finally stopped, he started trekking again.
The sun went down pretty soon and he was still far away from his destination for the day. Seeing no other way and realizing how difficult it would be trek in the night, he decided to pitch his tent beside a big boulder, so that he could be saved from the wind in the night. Upon settling down, he started to feel very lonely and maybe a little bit scared.
So he lit up a small fire and started cooking his meal for the night. Upon finishing his meal, suddenly a furry mountain dog came out of nowhere and settled down beside him. This little angel of a dog remained with him, sitting outside his tent beside the fire, throughout the night and he no more felt lonely and fearful. He slept quite well that night and upon waking up he was not able to find the dog anymore.
Or how while trekking through Nepal, he met a Baba who gave him some mushrooms and how badly he tripped on them. Well, that is a story for another time.
Upon gazing at my watch, I saw it was thirty past three in the evening, realizing I should leave now, I told Aryan so, and he too got up and told me he would accompany me as his trek route is same up till a certain point.
Soon we were out in the snow again but now I had Arayan to trek alongwith. We chatted throughout the trail and he was very keen towards listening about all the places I have been to and exchanged notes about the places we both have been to. After trekking for more than two hours, it was finally time for us to bid our goodbyes; we both were traveling to different places. We shook our hands and soon Aryan was on his way and I continued on my trekking route.
As I saw the figure of Aryan getting smaller and smaller as he climbed down a Mountain slope, a thought came to my mind. “Today I Lost a friend whom probably I will never see again, but maybe just maybe I might have gained a little bit of the enthusiasm of this 51 year old gentleman which I will carry with me in all the future adventure that awaits me.