I sometimes feel, it is imperative to feel confident from within so that others have confidence in you – making way for a desired getaway. An extended weekend came through amidst a very hectic work schedule; it was literally like a refreshing breath of silver linings. Also, this extended weekend had Holi nestled in it and I wanted to make the most of it. I stumbled upon a trip to Kasol with a bunch of unknown travelers. Something felt damn right about this whole ‘solo’ group trip. I wanted to go, and after lots of fights with my folks and hours of convincing, I finally made it happen.
Day 1: The first day was like a movie script- everything that you can dream of, went wrong! I started losing faith in this solo expedition; and my excitement levels started stooping low. The cab took too much time, bus got delayed and eventually broke down in the middle of nowhere. We were literally ‘Be-Bus’. People created much-resented chaos and drama over seats; a smaller bus arrived finally. Phew. Amidst all this, we made friends with a few fellow-passengers; played a game or two of UNO, savored upon some ice-cream and guess what, India won the match!
Night 1 to Day 2: We finally embarked upon our journey; many hurdles passed by like never-ending traffic jams; nonetheless, what didn’t go down was the fun quotient. We rode in a mini-truck from Bhuntar to Kasol, standing like cattle; but oh boy, was it fun! We sang, laughed, breathed in fresh air and it was nothing short of life-changing. I found my happiness in this chaos. What a beautiful mess indeed. I watched how the colour of the sky changed with the setting sun; I felt the wind turn blue with every fall in the temperature. We reached Kasol, after 24 hours. The journey was worth the struggle.
Night 2: We parked our luggage at the hotel and rushed to the marketplace to hunt some food. It was pretty late and shops were shutting down; but we did manage to find some sumptuous red and white pastas! Our hungry tummies were satiated and so were our minds. Back to the hotel, we relished upon the soulful view of snow-caped peaks resting in peace; oh the aspirations; I wanted to breathe in all the beauty and bask in its glory.
Day 3: I woke up in heaven. The beauty of the view was unmatchable. All of my aching bones were rejuvenated. The next plan was to trek to Malana. We reached the trek point and started trekking slowly (baby steps; one step at a time). It got a little sunny and we got a little sweatier. As we reached Malana, we were taking by surprise with hoardings screaming right at your face ‘INR 2500 fine if you touch any stones’. Well, ok then! Never mind, we started walking in the bylanes; the melted ice made the narrow lanes dirty. We finally reached Dragon Café to indulge in mouth-watering Maggie and yummy Nutella pancakes! Sheer delight for the taste-bud. The view from this place was phenomenal; I was so close to the mountains. Their magnificent character spoke to me with just dexterity, as if the mountains were reading my mind. The serenity and beauty was too much to consume. After sending sometime here, we headed back to Kasol. That night we savored upon great food, coffee and Oreo shakes with oodles of ice-cream and finding the spot of laser light.. We slept happy.
Day 4: The fourth day started with exploring Kasol markets. We took a short trek to the mountain garden of the hotel, played with Charlie (the furry and super-adorable mountain German Shephard), and we patiently waited for the taxi before moving on to Tosh. We reached the main entrance of this quaint village before walking uphill with our backpacks on. The view got engrossed in my memory forever; I don’t think I will ever get enough of the beauty of Tosh. The next best thing you could do here is – have a cup of hot honey infused ginger lemon water. As I stood there staring at the mountains, mixed emotions gushed in my mind; it was like the mountains flirted with me, teased me and romanced my senses all at the same time. The interplay of sunshine and moonlight took my breath away. It felt like, the mountains retained a small piece of my soul in their greatness; forever.
Night 4 – Summarizing how I felt in eternal words of William Wordsworth: (Slightly tweaked )
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way
The clouds beside them danced but they
Out-did the tripping clouds in glee
I could not but be gay
in such a jocund company
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances like wind on the hills.
Day 5: The last day seemed like a breakup. I hated parting ways with the mountains and it seemed, the mountains knew exactly how I felt; they tried to hold on to me with their own varied ways; for starters, the weather got gloomier. But as destiny had its way, we did start retracing back to the concrete jungle called Gurgaon (Gurugram currently). On our way back, we decided to halt at Manikaran for a mini-trek. It started raining here and we didn’t let our spirits dampen. We ran on the streets, ate hot samosas and jalebis, and basically made the most of our last leg of the journey. My take away from this trip? I started with a bunch of strangers, who now have become friends for life. Also, India won again! Coincidence much?
P.S- the author of this article, Vidhi Bhargav is an avid traveler, an artist by nature and a visualizer by choice. You can read her blog posts at kutchtobhi.wordpress.com