“Mountains always have answers”..
Read this quote somewhere, and now I realise that how much this resonates with my journey.
Failures makes you contemplate things you never had thought about. CA Final, 13 attempts, 13 failed attempts, made me question my existence. And what I did, I packed my bags and went to the mountains.
On a fine may evening, got to know about a trip to Kasol by FinSocial team and without giving a thought about anything, I paid and booked a seat. Next thing, I remember is I was on my very first trip to Parvati Valley, among the mountains with Parvati River flowing in its all might.
Parvati Valley didn’t gave me answers I was looking for. Came July, results were out and I was looking at another failure which further broke me down. I needed to get out and Sangla trip by Kutumb (a venture of a very good friend) came to my rescue. And then the Parashar Lake (thanks to Kutumb, for accommodating me at the last moment).
3 trips to mountains and I was still not satisfied. Being a laid back traveller, I need my own time to become one with the surroundings, become one with nature itself to look within. And all this led to my first solo trip (of sorts) to Spiti Valley.
No planning, nothing. Just packed my bags, hopped onto a bus to Manali, and I was off on a experience of lifetime.
Spiti taught me many things. It taught me Life is in little unplanned things, that you can’t plan Life as most plans fail.
The initial plan was to directly travel to Kaza (the entry point to Spiti Valley), but a breakdown midway and that plan went haywire. Stayed back in Manali for a day, roamed around Old Manali,did River Rafting in Beas River and had a hell of a day, all unplanned.
Spiti taught me that Life is in Journey, not the destination. Life breaks you down every moment so that you jump back stronger than ever.
ज़िंदगी सफ़र है, सफ़र में ही ज़िंदगी है ।।
Manali to Kaza, the journey through most breathtaking views of the Rohtang Pass, the Kunzum Pass and snow covered peaks of Himalayas. The journey that broke me down so hard that I thought about quitting and coming back, the journey that made me realise my worth, my strengths.
Another change in original plan was on cards. Initially thought about exploring the whole Spiti Valley on foot by trekking approx. 40 kms spread around 4 days. But the harsh dry weather, the shortness of breath and sparse oxygen pockets made me rethink over everything. And the best thing I did at that point, rented a Royal Enfield Bullet to explore the valley. Riding a Bullet on mountains was always a dream and I had been planning to do the same for so long and this unplanned trip just made me live it.
Spiti taught me that how small a man I am, those huge mountains made me realise that I worry over nothing. That even Sunsets are beautiful as there is always a hope for a new beginning.
Riding my way through Key Monastery, Kibber Village (the last inhabited village on Indo-Tibet border), Langza (the fossil village) and the breathtaking Komic Village at 15050 feet was an achievement itself in sorts. And sunset at 15050 feet was an icing on the cake. Sitting alone among mountains on all sides, with sun setting down behind the snow-clad peaks, makes you connect with your inner-self. Yes, I got my answer, something that requires to be worked upon. Yes, I have an answer – ख़ानाबदोशी।।
And Spiti taught me that Life is short, you never know which turn would be the end for you, that Life is to be lived in each moment.
With sun going down, visibility reducing to just few metres and the headlights being the only available source of light, the back journey from Komic to Kaza literally threw us off-guard, with a fellow rider missing a curve just by inches. That near-death experience of a very close friend did shook me up to core, which made me go off-balance and I, too missed that curve just by an inch, but we still had a long way back to make to our homestays and the willpower to continue with the journey made me bow down to that friend.
Finally, Spiti taught me that you may miss few things during a journey but you can always make it up by making same journey again, but differently.
Yeah, I missed few things on my trip to Spiti Valley, be it spending a night at Komic Village or Tabo or Dhankar Village, exploring Pin Valley and the amazing Chandertaal Trek, but I made a promise to myself while returning back, that I’ll be back soon to this place and that time with no expectations or plans.
रूह छोड़ आया हूँ अपनी मैं वहां
जल्द लौटूंगा उसे तलाशने को ।।..
And, not to forget, a heartfelt thanks to my fellow travellers: Sadhna and Sahil. You guys made this journey special. Thank you guys for everything. This trip will always remain close to my heart for many reasons.
Signing off with a couplet that simply concludes my journey:
तू भी गुम है
मैं भी गुम हूँ
चलो दोनो मिलकर इक नई राह खोजते हैं
निकल ही जायेंगे साथ चलते चलते किसी ना किसी मोड़ पर
तब तलक एक मुख्तलिफ मुस्तक़्बिल का सोचते हैं ।।