A Letter to the Mountains
"Perspective & Life Stories"
A Letter to the Mountains
Growing up I was never much fond of you, how could I be, going to mountains on those once in a while family trips meant boring never-ending rides, and being someone who experienced motion sickness so frequently, puking or feeling pukish the entire way was such a disgusting feeling.
And then in Dec’18, when I saw you on my Kareri Lake Trek, it all changed, as to how I agreed to go there is still a mystery to me, I guess I have two beautiful souls to thank for that (Anmol and Advik). After all the numerous health problems I was going through, if these two hadn’t pushed me so much, I think I would have never gone and experienced that life-changing trip (literally) after which I fell in love with traveling, trekking, and you, of course. It is like I can divide my life into two phases, one before the trip and this another life that I am living after it. It was like being reborn.
When I saw you on the Kareri Lake Trek, surrounded by snow-clad trees, it was like Christmas, how I imagined Christmas to be all those years growing up. And when I saw you, I mean when I really saw you, it was like I was looking at you for the very first time, and it was indeed if we can call it, love at first sight.
I precisely remember that incident and that moment when I knew we are going to be forever.
I was about to reach the final point of the trek, the Kareri Lake, and just minutes before, I lost my balance on a steep climb. As I was about to fall, I held onto a tiny, thin shred of a plant. I was so scared; I looked back and knew the fall would be so severe that I wouldn’t survive. Before I could get too overwhelmed by my negative thoughts, I called out to the person ahead of me, Jatin and he came and helped me out. I was so scared after that, shit scared and out of my wits. We reached and joined everyone and I took a corner and just sat there, absorbing what just happened. This was my first incident out in the wild, and this moment was probably going to be a make or break. It was going to decide if I will ever trek again, and recalling my fear at that time, I would say the possibility was very bleak.
Fast forward and we were leaving, everyone got ahead and I was too scared to even move. As the local guide called out to me, and I started moving, I took such little steps as if I was a 2-year-old. I was so scared, and I didn’t know what to do about it or who to tell. I had come with a big group of people, half of whom I had never met before, and the other half I didn’t know up-close. As I was trying really hard to move, keeping one step after another, the local guide called out on me and said ‘Aise kaise chalega, aise chaloge toh waapis hi nahi phchoge kabhi, hota nahi hai toh aate kyu ho’ (If you move at this speed, you will never reach back, if you can’t trek, then why do guys even come).
I read somewhere we all have two lives, the second one begins when we realize we only have one. I don’t know what clicked in me at that moment, I don’t know what happened. I just crossed everyone and started running. And yes, I mean running. I was running, sliding, and I was living. The fear was gone. I ran ahead and then stopped for 20-25 minutes to stargaze, giving them enough time to find me, and then repeated this on a loop, on and on and on until we reached back to our campsite. This was the moment that changed everything. Maybe there was an equal possibility of me taking his words to my heart, getting even more scared, and never trekking again, maybe, but guess we will never know that now.
I fell in love with you at that moment. I trusted you, and I trust you so much, that no matter how many times I slip and fall, I know nothing would happen to me, because you won’t let anything happen to me. And to be honest, it wouldn’t be so bad, dying in your arms though, I can’t think of a better place to take my last breath, not that I have any intention of dying for let’s say for maybe another 70-80 odd years. I have to see all of you and spend so much more time with you.
And then there was no stopping me. One after the another, I went to treks, I started solo traveling, and I even ended up seeing my first snowfall. Yes, my first snowfall. After Kareri Lake, I went to my next trek, Kedarkantha. Witnessing the snow-clad mountains on the trek, it was like falling in love with mountains and nature all over again.
I remember the near-death experience I had there (yes, I have a lot of those, I guess). As I was sliding down snow-clad mountains, I lost my balance. Even after knowing that I might actually end up falling into a big downfall, I was not scared (they say love is blind now, don’t they?), and then you sent an angel there to save me and there I was up again, this time not even scared, just living in the moment. Sliding down limitlessly from one mountain to the next, ending up falling asleep in your arms in the middle of nowhere at a height of 12000 ft, witnessing my first ever and such a beautiful snowfall, lying there in the cold snow taking in the warmth that you provided me and whatnot.
Snow, stars, snowfall, lush green trees, breeze, the sound of waterfalls, clear water, hiking, trekking, at times even silence, rush, seclusion, thrill, the list of the joys that you give to me and that I have fallen in love with, is just endless. And it’s not just nature, I think you have shaped a lot of things in my life. My never give up attitude, my belief that I can do anything and everything, my willingness, my passion, I always knew these things were there within, but you make them real, you make me confident, you make me work on my fears, you push me to be better, it is to reach you and climb those endless peaks that I got the motivation to work on my fitness again. You drive me, and a lot of things in my life and you have played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am today, and I know you will continue to do so.
I have drenched in rain for 12-12 straight hours while trekking on you, without complaining, rather quite happily, I have climbed you when I knew I had no strength left in my body, I have believed in you even when I had stopped believing in myself.
And, this is just the beginning, of my journey, my story with you, our love story, might as well be a struggle story. Just like every love story, it has its ups and downs, (more like you have ups and downs here) and it’s not going to be easy, but it is so going to be worth it.