Snow capped mountains, lush green grass, wee little lambs. I had read about these when I was five years old in the book Heidi. I just imagined myself in the snow, making snowmen, having so much fun out in the mountains! But, it was just a dream. A few years later, I just let go of that funny little dream and finally the opportunity did come! One really normal day, my mother asked me a question. ‘Do you want to go to this trek in Himachal Pradesh?’ I was not so interested at that point of time but I kept on asking her about what would be there, what we could do there, what temperature would it be up there and so on. I was getting a bit interested after she had shown me the schedule of the places we would be going to but I just got shocked when she said that she will not be coming to the trek! I was scared but still wanted to take decisions on my own. Finally after a while I said yes and decided to go to the trek.
On the day when we started the trek, we were all getting really nervous. when we started it felt pretty easy but since it was the slope and high altitude, it started feeling much more difficult so we took rest in between for a while. On the first day of the trek, when we were first pitching our tents, all we wanted to do was go into our tents and snuggle into our sleeping bags! We used to start early in the morning and we would walk 6-7 kilometers a day to reach our destination by afternoon. Then we would pitch out tents and settle down and admire the panoramic view of the snow capped mountains around us. In the evening we would make our own bonfire to keep ourselves warm.
One incident that happened in the hotel was that there was a scorpion in our bed! The scorpion was really close to us and i thought it had bit me. Manohar uncle and his crew came with a knife and a lemon squeezer and many more terrifying things with them. On closer examination it was found that a thorn that had pricked me. Thank goodness! They took the thorn out and it did hurt a lot.
The best thing I liked about the trek were the people around me. They were really nice and kind. I could tell them anything I want whenever I would want. Manohar uncle would wake us up with tea saying, “Chidiya! gudiya! utho! chai peelo!” and in the night he would come to our tents to give us hot chocolate.
Priya aunty would help us whenever possible whatever the matter was and was really kind to us. Kavya, one of the trekkers, made us feel that she was a family member and we could tell her anything. Zohra was a really great leader. She would always be busy with her plans and would really take care of us.
Radha aunty had given us a speech about the ‘Women of the Mahabharata’ which was very interesting. There was another speech by Bhavana about Tigers. In her talk she mentioned that poachers kill tigers to make money. She told us a lot on tiger conservation. Then Radha aunty told that even the ‘Kshatriyas’ would take the tigers skin and put it on their walls to show their bravery and manliness which sounded so absurd. These speeches made the trek much more interesting and we did learn quite a bit.
This was my first trip with a group of new people, initially we were hesitant to talk and as the days passed by we became friends. On the last day at the railway station everybody in the group was crying and hugging each other, including me. I miss everybody in the group and the hot chocolate in the night and the special ginger tea in the morning.
Photo credits: Priya Venkatesh
Edited by: Poornima Kannan