The dust was yet to settle after my recent trip back from home. Having brought my sleeping bag and rucksack with me this time from home, I was sure to make a trip that involves the mentioned items.
I had this craving for the mountains, that’s been there since a long time this year, you know the urge, the need to be there, in the mountains. Hills are good, but they’re cute when it comes to the mighty Himalayas. Believe me, I was fed up of the “thrilling treks”(short day walk on a hill where the most dangerous thing that can happen to you is that you forget to wake up for the walk in the first place). No, I wanted a real trip, with the Himalayas around me, and over me. General consensus was it was too cold to go anywhere in the mountains, stay at home, build a fire or something. And of course, since I always listen to what the crowd say, going to the mountains was apparently out of the question.
So I went to the mountains. Found 2 friends who’re “crazy” enough for me, booked a cheap flight, and set my sights on Rishikesh. Few facts about Rishikesh, it’s a small town nestled in the Gharwal Himalayas(Lesser Himalayas), with the famous Ganga river flowing by it’s side. Himalayas and Ganga, 2 old produces of Mother Nature in India, at the same place. For people getting bored, it’s a also a town where you can freely smoke a lot of top quality weed, buy chilims, smoke with the sadhus and whatnot. Pretty fun stuff.
Apparently Rishikesh was this religious, pilgrimage place where one goes to reflect on one’s life, take a dip in the Ganges, walk the path to temples in Kedarnath, Badrinath, etc. So if you’re looking for a serene place, to sit and contemplate on say, “who came first? chicken or the egg?” or you want a quiet place to ponder on how to build a time machine, this was it. This was the place.
River Rafting(Cold brings a whole new meaning)
Since the river water was freezing cold, and it was obvious that one should not expose oneself to these torturous temperatures, we had, obviously, signed up for the river rafting. This was a 16km ride through a few not dangerous, but exciting rapids ending at Rishikesh town. After the basic instructions, we set off. I must say, I was feeling quite like the proud sailor in Titanic, when the ship first sailed. I was thinking, “Give me a rapid, and I’ll show you how to tame it!!”. The first rapid hit us, and that sailor feeling was back again, not when the ship sailed, but when the ship sank. The wave hit me, I steadied, gave a grin to the others, a “It’s OK bro I got this” look, got hit again, yelled for help this time, which others mistook it for another grin. After the third hit, I was faintly croaking, I guess the cold had frozen my throat. My friend was, as per repeated instructions, paddling continously. I thought I’d tell him, paddling was fine, but it’s a little aimless to paddle through air, but hey, who’s listening. Later on he said he didn’t have time to see the difference between air and water. I can’t blame him, when the next and biggest rapid hit us, I wanted to hit the instructor with the paddle, to make him stop this torture. Cold water can do funny stuff with your head.
The rafting also included a cliff jump, where you…well…do a cliff jump. We did that too, all of us, I mean what better way to warm up from the freezing cold than to jump back into the cold water again? At that point I guess if I was set on fire, roasted over a slow oven and then thrown into a furnace, I would still remark on how a little breezy the furnace was. It was that cold. Apart from a brief incident where friend 2, to whom the cold had got to him worst, tried shoving the tea seller off from his seat in order to keep his hands on the boiling kettle, the rafting trip continued peacefully.
Let’s not forget the dive..
I do have to mention the diving from the cliff though. Friend 1 went first, landed on his chest that he says still pains sometimes, poor fellow, he didn’t know diving. Here let me tell you, I was the alpha, the head honcho, the Godfather of diving and swimming, to whom people ask for help and I ask only for their friendship in return and all that. My dive was perfect, the landing perfect, the cold even more perfect. I tried shouting out in joy, realized the cold had made me forget my alphabet, so did a hoarse cry that sounded mostly like gargling, and swam to the shore. Friend 2 did one of the finest acrobatics in his dive. I tell you, even if he had cut off all his limbs and thrown them off the cliff and then dived in at the same time, it still wouldn’t have been funnier than this. I still think about it and laugh sometimes. Nevertheless, we all made it through, limbs attached and all.
And that concluded my weekend in the Himalayas. From there the trip ended to the door of my flat. I must have been a spectacle for the guards in my society, what with a rucksack and tent on me, cold and tired. One politely asked if I had gone home.
In a way, I guess I had….