India, travel

Peace at last

So that’s where you were hiding all this while huh?  All these months of whining and complaining and regretting when all I needed was to get on a plane and fly away from it all for a few days.  What a waste.  Life gets so much easier when the truth finally sinks in.  When you finally find hope.  When you have something pleasant and beautiful to look forward to.  Like the vacation we just got back from.  Uttaranchal.  Such a beautiful place with such simple, honest, beautiful people.  Now I know that rural India is where the true beauty of India lies.  Oh, the wonders 10 days of beauty, peace, no internet and the realization that I-am-no-whiner-but-just-someone-who-is-made-for-small-towns can do!!!

On the other hand, small towns sure do throw some challenges at you.   For instance, Ka and I spent the first 3 days of our trip convinced that we were in a bouncy castle with wheels thanks to horrible roads (i.e., wherever roads happened to exist), and Mr. M’s well-intentioned planning which had us driving on the worst roads of the region for more than 12 hours!!!  In fact we were pleasantly surprised and relieved when we got out of the vehicle at our destination and discovered that we had actually been in a car all that while… a real car!  Let’s look at the bright side of it all.  At least now we know how long a round trip to hell takes.  About 13 hours including a 1 hour lunch break.  Had to be that, coz where else would you be surrounded by breath-taking views of snow-covered peaks, gushing turquoise rivers tumbling over rocks and pebbles, beautiful valleys and blue skies while stuck in a bouncy castle with wheels, unable to enjoy it all, rushing away trying to reach someplace in good time?  Ka spent most of the driving time curled up in her seat, complaining of stomach ache and smelling camphor (which is supposed to help with travel sickness (thank you amma for the invaluable tip)) and the remaining time wowing at the beauty that lay stretched out right outside her window.  I spent most of the driving time dreading the inevitable back pain and knee pain that I knew were in store for me.  Mr. M spent most of the driving time reading the map and navigating, making sure we didn’t miss a single crappy road in the whole region 🙂 What that fateful drive did to him was so traumatizing that he spent the rest of his vacation hunting down every last  bottle of palatable beer he could lay his hands on which, in those parts of the country, happens to be harder to find than dinosaur fossils.  But in the end, it was so totally worth it (not just the beer-hunting but the whole entire trip…every single bit of it).  We had a wonderful time and this was definitely one of the best trips I have ever taken.

Here’s a snapshot of Panchachuli from Khalia top.  A 7 km steep uphill trek that, I am proud to say, 7-year-old Ka did effortlessly with few short breaks.   I, on the other hand, slowed down everybody including Mr. M (who has amazing stamina).  I was scared as hell, owing to my crippling fear of heights which, as embarrassing as it was, had me holding on to a rock and weeping like a baby.  But then, as Mr. Nelson Mandela said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is  not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” And conquer I did.  I pressed on (with a lot of help from Mr.M and Gopal (our guide)) and eventually we made it in 3 hours.  We decided against going for the last kilometer which would have taken us to open green meadows as Ka wasn’t feeling quite up to it, Mr. M was taken a little ill and my knees were swollen and killing me.   Anyway, the trek was totally worth it and if not for my irrational fear, I would do it over and over again…

Here are a few more pictures from our trip…

The Arun Clan enjoying Gori Nadi
Sunrise at Nanda Devi and Nanda Devi East
Gori Nadi (White River)
Pebble Picker

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