Trek to GOSAIN KUNDA (Lake)

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We started our journey. It was a lovely day; the sun was brightly lit just above the mountains. The air was cool and smelled of leaves, branches and earth. I stretched my arms once again, taking in the sun rays deep through my skin with my eyes closed.

He was right behind me waiting for me to march ahead and out of the gate. He followed me as I just did that. The sun was behind us.

Small town, already full of people looked very fresh with all sorts of activities going on. They seemed unaware of the giant mountains, some green, some blue and some draped in absolute white robes surrounding them. Children, some in ragged clothes, in uniforms, and in arms of their parents seemed happy. From distance, a group of school children came running towards us. I turned around and kept looking at them as they past across us. Somebody yanked me out from my thoughts and I heard a vehicle honking. I smiled in embarrassment and walked quietly. We stopped after seeing a familiar figure approaching towards us. We exchanged our greetings.

We stopped by a store to stuff our bags, to later stuff our tummies.  We synchronized our watches; it was eight in the morning.

Looking towards the mountains ahead of our journey, Rend said, “We are a little behind schedule but we shall make it on time. No haste. No worries.”

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200 meters right from the main road – Dhunche

 

We started our journey from Dhunche of Rasuwa district.

We started walking. I asked, “Rend, are you sure, we can make it in 3 days?”

“Absolutely. Some people make it in two days but since we are not just doing it to get up there, it shall take us 3 good days”.

“You haven’t been there already, have you?”

“No, I haven’t. This is the first time. I’ve all the necessary information details and of course, you guys extracted some last night from the other guys. So, don’t worry too much about it.”

“No, I am not worried. I just wanted to feel prepared,” I said.

“I take it upon my responsibility to safely take you both up there and bring you down.” Rend smiled and added, “ by the way, it’s Lukla that I went to last time.”

We started our journey uphill. We went through a lush hill that had variety of vegetation, giving off a pleasant smell that would keep you sniffing the whole journey. Next to the foot trail flowed a brook; pristine yet colorful; silent yet euphonious. I couldn’t resist but stopped time for a while to appreciate the beauty.

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To help you keep on track 🙂

We approached a bridge and the team ahead was busy taking pictures. Who would not love to capture the scenic beauty if not be there for a good span of time. In the middle of the bridge, Rend started taking pictures; he was trying to capture as much as possible. He directed camera towards my direction and I could not stop but smiled at the camera. After leaving the bridge behind, came a steep hill, steeper this time. We packed our loose items and started hiking seriously. The sun was already up in the sky making it a scorching trail for us to walk.

As we moved ahead, the journey quietly unfolded variations of the nature; the road was getting steeper and it was getting difficult for us to walk without panting. Every now and then we would look at each other’s face but would not say a word and would walk quietly. The distance between us was in status quo as we could not speed up our walking. It went on; finally I muttered to ask about the nearest stop. Rend signaled with a finger; locating his finger, squinting, through the rays of the sun, I could make out a small cottage. That small cottage became our destination until we reached it.

Loosening the straps and letting it free fall to the nearest post, I could feel a cool drop of sweat wasted down my spine. I was drenched in sweat. Seeing the cottage right in front, my feet had deceived me and would not take a step ahead. I threw myself on the bench. Rend was already inside the cottage and Momo followed him. No sooner had he stepped on the cottage door, he came out and sat next to me. Still breathing heavily, I could not lift my head to acknowledge his gesture. “Are you okay”, he said handing me a bottle of water.

“Don’t drink all at once”.

I nodded and looked at his face. His rosy cheeks had smile stretched wide to his ears. He signaled again with his broad set of eyes, and I took the bottle from his hand.

“Let’s go in”, he said lifting my bag pack.

Taking the bag from his hands, I said – “no, I need to throw something out of this bag, first”.

I started unzipping the bag. He came closer, “you are gonna need all the stuff, so don’t”.

We kinda started pulling the bag. “I can’t walk any further with this weight”.

“I will carry the bag”, he said with persuasive eyes, “now let’s go in and eat something”.

Reluctantly, I moved along with him, “you are kidding, right? You don’t have to do that; by the way it’s too heavy for anyone. You are going to regret it”.

He didn’t say a word.

The table was already set with 3 bowls of noodles.

I cannot let him carry my bag. I will quietly leave some clothes down here …’

“Eat. Don’t think too much about it. I shall charge you for it”.

‘I hate you. How do you read my mind?’ I wanted to say but I thought better of it.

Seeing Rend’s expression, I explained the situation to him.

He also expressed it would be wise to leave some of the clothes down here.

He immediately added, “am gonna carry that bag and will charge you for it, isn’t that okay”.

Stopping his hand half way holding spoon full of noodles, Rend added, “go for it now;……..well am hungry so let me eat in peace”.


 

As we moved ahead, the journey quietly unfolded variations of the nature; the rhododendrons kept changing the colors and so did our faces, esp cheeks.

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Rhododendron-national flower of Nepal. On this journey, I saw their colors getting lighter with the altitude.

 

Deurali

After two hours of walking, we reached Deurali. The only house, only restaurant in the area. We ate whatever was in the kitchen.

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Deurali

We started our journey again. Next stop was Dhimsa.

The trek was so tiring; no plain straight trails but all steep, uphill and twisted. However, the scenery and the surrounding kept pushing us ahead.

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We stopped here for a while. Our next stop was Singompa.

When we reached Singompa, it was already 6 in the evening. We had plans to stop for the night at Thoranglapaty but the weather seemed transient here. We were not sure whether to continue or stop. I suggested stopping here for the night whereas Rend wanted to continue to Thoranglapaty, and Momo was fine with anything. Therefore, we decided to eat something and check on the weather till then.

In one corner of the tea house, there were woolen caps, gloves and mittens. Rend started trying on the gloves and I helped him with the color.

As the tea was boiling, I went outside, and it had started raining already. I called them outside and the hailstorm had already started.

We started looking for a place to stay and got one modest lodge. There were 5 or 6 lodges in this area. Luckily, we got rooms. They started enjoying fermented buckwheat drink. In a while, a lady served us garlic soup and bread for dinner. After dinner, we went to bed. It was so cold that the bed felt as if the bedsheets were spread taking them right out of the spinner, I couldn’t sleep the whole night.

Next morning, I looked out the window and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought I was in a whole different place. It had snowed the whole night and the place looked unrecognizable covered in white blanket.

It was 7 in the morning, we started climbing uphill. The trail was trecherous and it felt wise not having made that journey at night. But the scenic view was heavenly, to die for. We clicked so many pictures. Rend informed that China was located right behind the northern mountains.

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Thoranglapaty

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Thoranglapaty

Walking continuously, for two hours, Thoranglapathy came into view. There were barely 3 or 4 restaurants. We ate breakfast and clicked few pictures. The sun was very bright and I put on some sunblock and my hat. I advised them to use some but they mocked me.

 

 

We continued our journey again. We walked and walked. There came a point, as I think of it now, we didn’t talk at all. It was steep and all covered in snow with a very narrow space left to walk. More, due to the day light the snow had started to melt and the trail was getting muddier. It felt like walking  on a ledge; one slip and down to nowhere.

 

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Right after crossing this giant stoney path, came a frozen lake into view
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Distant view: Bhairab Kunda (Lake)

Gosainkunda

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Gosainkunda (Lake) 4700m

Gosainkunda (4,00m – 4,700m) is located in Lantang National Park in Rasuwa district. This Lake remains frozen for almost 6 months in winter. Trishuli river flows down from the womb of this lake. Very few people trek to this area in comparison to Lantang area as its very steep and takes only 3 days, whereas the latter is less steep and takes more time. En route to Gosainkunda is a stop point called Lauribina which literally means ‘without stick’, meaning its legit vertical that it cannot be crossed without the support of a stick.

This lake also has deep religious value to Hindus who visit this place as a pilgrimage. This area has 108 lakes. (Info from wikipedia)

Ps, if you plan this trek, don’t forget to carry hat and sunblock or you will end up with roasted faces like my friends did.

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BLUES

…. And I fell in love with Blues

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Source: Internet

Like most of the people out there, I am also a music lover. I started listening to music since I was in school. My parents would not let me, as they believed, it was bad influence. So, what happened? Well, the obvious, I used to enjoy music in their absence.

My friend had Walkman (perhaps most of you don’t even know what that is), a gift from her sister. When we were in school, we used to listen to it. There used to be some boring classes, then the Walkman came to our rescue. We used to wrap scarf around our head, so that it would conceal the earphones plugged to our ears coming from the Walkman.

During high school, we were given tons and tons of homework. And my only best friend, music, used to accompany me all night long to complete it.

However, I never cared about the genre of the music. They were all pure music to me. Until, a friend came into my life to show me the BLUES among all.

He used to constantly recommend me songs; songs of different genre, different singers and era. More, he used to ask me how I liked those songs. I used to listen to all of them. However, I used to be so freaking busy with work that sometimes I couldn’t manage time to listen to them. So, whenever, he used to ask me, I used to nod saying that the song was good. He would get me there. So, he had his way of making me listen to it. He would either email me links to those songs or would write them down in sticky notes. He pasted those stickies on my laptop, sometimes inside my drawer with a chocolate. I listened to all of them and we used to discuss them together. This session became a therapy to my hustled life.

I listened to Beth Hart (his favorite) and instantly fell in love with her. Caught out in the rain, I’ll take care of you, I would rather go blind are a few from the long list. I remember, he once told me, blues from a female voice is something that creates euphoric sensation.

But then he also sent me Buddy Guy – What kind of woman is this, Oscar Benton – Bensonhurst Blues, Soulmate – Set me free, and the list goes on.

I started exploring on my own and found Etta James (big OMG). She rocked my life with her blues. BB King, Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse and the list goes on again.

Blues uplifted the real blues. I listen to them all the time. There was a time when I could not sleep and blues played in my ears like sleeping tablets. I still am exploring 🙂

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Good morning call. August 29, 2017

 

My phone rang, ‘passionate from miles away’, I answered. The person at the other end said, “good morning”. I hung up. It rang again and I declined. My eyes closed, my thoughts empty, inhaling deeply, I felt my heart swell up; a warmth in the left of my chest. I didn’t know one could feel something like that. Was it real or was it something my super brain made me feel, I don’t know. It lasted for couple of seconds and vanished, perhaps acclimatized.

A voice, I hadn’t heard in years, or at least it felt that way. To be real, it had been couple of months. Why did he call me? Perhaps, it got pressed. But, twice? I needed fresh air, I went to the porch, still holding the cellphone in my hand and that voice swirling in my ears, creating euphoric sensations. I tried to shake that feeling off, then it brought back all the crazy moments, sweeping me off my feet. I went inside, abandoning those vibes. I realized they were invincible, following me around like teeny tiny particles that you sweep out to watch them gently settle down again, and like water vapor that hits your face as you try to blow it away. I remembered, how only a few days earlier I had wanted to congratulate on hearing the news and yet I hung up. I had genuinely wanted to wish him luck and yet I didn’t utter a word. Perhaps, god has weird way of listening to me. It took me an hour of fiddling around to finally make that call.

I unlocked my cellphone, went to call logs. Damn! I dropped my cellphone. Picking it up, I quickly checked the logs again, fearing the number might have vaporized. Bingo! Still there. I pressed a symbol and the smart phone did its magic.

“Hello”

“Hello”

“How are you?”

“Am good, how are you?”

Without answering me, he said, “sorry, I dared to call you earlier”.

I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t see his face as he was saying this to me which made it difficult for me to comprehend his emotions. “It’s okay. So,  ..”.

Before I could finish, he added, “but you didn’t answer my call, were you busy?”.

“Mmmm, yea, I was”, I said completely unaware of my surrounding.

“Sorry about that; what are you doing by the way?”.

“Am getting some documents printed”.

“And where are you right now?”

“Where am supposed to be. And where exactly are you?”, I asked in a funny manner trying to loosen up the tension.

“Office”.

“You are still there”, I remarked, surprised.

“Of course, where else would I be”, he replied, immediately deeming where I was going with that remark.

“I thought you had left already”.

“Yes, I kind of have”, in a dumbfounded manner, he continued, “how the hell do you know?”.

“Well, I just know”.

“Oh, my god! You have got spies tailing me”.

“I’ve got spies all over. Spies, who keep me informed without me having to ask them”, I said looking around me.

“Okay, I have resigned. But then there’s so much work, they are not letting me go until next month”.

“Oh, I see. But you need to prioritize and this is more important. The first time I heard that you left, I was surprised and when I knew for what purpose, I was so so happy. You know I’ve always wanted you to pursue your dream”.

“I know but there’s still so much left to do, they won’t let me move without getting this done. I haven’t been able to give time to my own thing”. He continued, “between all this, I keep listening to all those songs, and I missed you that I dared to call you”.

I smiled.

“You know, like the time, we first met, I have some new recruits coming over and I missed you”.

“Are they for the assignment?”

“Yes.” After a pause, he asked “I wanna see you, can we meet?”.134

August 25, 2017

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He is leaving. I don’t know when and where but I got informed that he is leaving. I know exactly why he’s leaving because this is what I wanted for him and what he wanted for himself. I am very happy for him that he is finally leaving to do what he should have done a long time ago. I am so happy that I want to cup his face in my palms and plant a proud-ful kiss on his forehead; look into his eyes forever. I want to tell him again that he deserves it and that he should not look back. He has a very powerful persona. How he has painted himself is the exact opposite of what he is inwardly. People think he is the carefree, restless and reckless person. And that he is, but there is more to him than that. He is amazing human; he is the most sweet and considerate person. His sweetness had me at hello.

Unfortunately, I cannot talk to him nor can I see him. We neither exchanged emails nor discussed any other mode of communication. Even if we meet somehow, he may not be happy with me because, he wanted the same thing for me as well. I still remember, how he had appreciated my work and had inspired me to stretch for more. He told me things about me that I didn’t know or was aware of. He had shown me my strengths and weaknesses. He dug out what I had buried within me; he had made me write again. I started writing poems again. And that’s what I had done to him. He had started writing poems again. He had once shared that all that he wrote got effaced when his computer had crashed. He hadn’t written anything in years and I had lulled him to write. He wouldn’t write one unless I wrote one to him.

He had discussed my possibilities that I didn’t think I ever could achieve but I wanted to believe in it and live in it for a while as he discussed all that with me. Whatever great things he had said or made me realize, I felt the exact same thing for him and wanted him to realize those possibilities. I told him that he deserved much better than what he had settled with back then. I put into work everything that I had in me to encourage him to free himself of the job he was doing. He had agreed and so had I. But I had also told him that it was almost impossible for me. He had immediately offered his hand to help me with all the lengthy and tiring processes. We had concocted so much together, for a while I had started living in it.

Immediately after that I moved away from there, as that was the right thing to do then. Our communication thinned to no communication at all. Neither I did anything to contact him nor he did coz that’s what we had tacitly agreed to. Today, I heard that he left and is leaving soon. I know he must what to tell me this but he will not. Now, I’ve found out about it and want to congratulate him. But he knows that I wouldn’t.

People come into our lives for a reason and some for a season and some forever, I had told him.

August 18, Cab

Today, was not a very big day but a busy day for me, and of course, like always, a fun day. A friend of mine had invited me over and a couple of other friends for lunch. We talked, laughed, clicked pictures, danced and ate. I must mention the food was awesome; she is a great cook and did great job. I ate a lot, so, I made plans to add few more minutes to my exercise routine for tomorrow. Though I wanted to stay a little longer,I was bound to leave as I had a long to-do list. I had to buy corn bread and then go to super market to buy some stuffs for my sister that she had texted me, and then finally drop it on the way home. So, I bid my farewell to all the friends.

I called for a cab and asked him to take me to those places. The cab stopped by a bakery, unfortunately, they had run out of corn bread so, we headed to the supermart. I picked up all the stuffs like, hand sanitizer, lip balm, kiwi, tissue etc. After clearing my bills, I took a cab and went to the hospital. One of our relatives was hospitalized for a couple of days due to fever and breathing problem. I went to the hospital and pressed the elevator button. I swear, it took more than 10 minutes to come, anyways it did come finally and I went inside and pressed ‘7’.

I went inside the room and saw the patient lying on the bed. My sister and a lady I don’t know, were sitting on the chairs. I handed over the items to her. I realized, I forgot to get coconut juice. Without further ado, I headed out to get it. I checked in a couple of places but they were out of coconut juice. I went a little farther and got one last, perhaps waiting for me. I grabbed it and rushed to the hospital again. I stayed there for a while and left.

Coming out of the hospital, I hailed for a cab, it stopped and asked about my destination. As the cab driver heard me say it, he drove away saying, he isn’t going in that direction. I crossed the road and there were couple of cabs lined up. I asked the first one, and the amount he mentioned was way too much and I told him in a sarcastic manner, “beg your pardon, looks like you assumed that I shall be coming back again”, and walked away. I went to another cab and he didn’t want to go in that direction. Another cab and same answer. I was dazed with the cab driver’s obnoxious behavior; they would either not go in that direction or would charge me 5 times more. I said to myself, ‘it’s worthless and I am capable enough to walk home’. I made my mind up. As I was about to walk then I heard somebody asking, “where do you want to go?” I gave him the name of the place. There were two people; cab driver and a front seat passenger. I didn’t know if he was a passenger or was with the driver. Signaling with his hand, the front seat passenger asked me to take a back seat. In a state of dilemma, I sat inside. I didn’t think much, I had no time to and it was dark already. No sooner had I sat than I realized I didn’t note the cab number. Shit! I looked around for anything unusual. I turned back and checked the hind of the cab, the space behind the seat, I was in. Nothing, unusual. ‘Well, there was a surveillance cam in front of the hospital gate; it must have captured me getting in’. I thought of calling somebody. I took out my cellphone and tried calling home. Damnit! Busy tone. I tried again and again but the same answer. I said to myself, this could turn into one of the worst days of my life. I was fiddling the whole time. I un-winded the glass window. I had, what if this … and what if that …. going on. I heard the cab driver ask something. I didn’t understand. He repeated, “is it left or right from here?”

“Oh! Am sorry, I didn’t realize we were here already. Its right from here but please drop me here, I would like to walk.” I stretched to check the cab meter and took out money from my purse. I didn’t know who I was supposed to pay. But by now, I had understood, the front seat person was a passenger and had given me lift. So, I thought, it would be better to hand it to him so, that he would pay the whole thing at the end. To my surprise, he declined.

“Please, take the money”, I requested.

“Don’t worry, I would have to pay anyway”, he smiled.

Vehicles behind us were honking already.

I thanked them and got out.

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Journey to Mute Childhood

When half of the world may be deep down in the lane of night world floating, some motionless, some ticking clock and some might be wriggling in soft or hard bases. One was curled up under the sheets. Pulling the sheets all the way up and sometimes pushing it little low to breathe. Should this help? Tried tucking it on all the ways, forming something not less than a moat. Uncurling out of the humid cave, out and up there lay dark and dark; barely few stars could be spotted or some made up ones seemed burning down. This should work or perhaps that should. But, for what? The quest seemed futile. Yet the attempts had to be ventured, for the mere fact of survival, for it was, what could be done.

Door left ajar; neither closing would help nor opening it. It would demand certain kind of energy, movement from the custom made tunnel meant so much of courage to be mustered up for that one action. However, she would and since nothing would come out of it, she would go back to curling up inside. Eyes closed, the faint noise coming from distant scene would help transcend her to some deep pensive country. She was standing by the door and her sister took her by her hand and sang to her; told her fables, she was most fond of.  They danced under the lantern in the tavern. Lying flat on her back, her head softly pressed on her sister’s widely crossed legs, she watched how beautifully her sister’s fingers danced gracefully in the crochet that brought the whole nebula above her ceiling. Stars intertwined in the gust of dust that gave the milky shine with the sprightly crocheted light coming from the little fingers. She glided through the aura like some spaceship. So much to be fond of, so much to be amazed at, her eyes constantly widened. Bang! Something in the prowl hit her head, the same distant noise brought her down, curled up inside her quilt. The door still ajar and the music still young.

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Aug III, 2017 ‘Cafe’

20170803_101903After looking around for a while, I decided to sit in the couch placed nearby the entrance. I let my bag slide through my arms to the empty couch sitting next to me, and then I plunged in as well. I stretched to open the bag; a waiter came to me with a menu and a glass of water. When he disappeared, I could see the coffee menu hung up above the bar. I saw Caramel Macchiato; I thought I wanted to order it but then I thought better of it. I signaled for the same guy and he immediately attended to my order. I pulled a book from my bag, a collection of novels by Shakespeare. It occurred to me that this place houses a small rack of books; I also remembered, I left a book incomplete when I last visited this place.  I rose from the couch and headed towards the left where the book rack was. I quickly scanned the rack and found the book. I was happy to see it lying there. I pulled it out and came to my table. I wasn’t sure of where I had left it last time. I flipped through the pages and stopped on page 51 and started reading the last page of that chapter and then suddenly I realized that was the last chapter. I started reading the book. Water melon juice was brought to my table and I smiled and thanked the guy. I went back to my reading. I could see people coming in and leaving the restaurant but I really didn’t look at them as the book had my undivided attention. I could make out the silhouettes of people.

The female character was talking about something missing from her life then I felt a flash of light hit my face. I knew it was coming from the right side of my table but I raised my head and looked straight ahead. I couldn’t bring myself to look in the right direction and then went back to reading. A few more flashes. I knew someone was clicking my pictures but I couldn’t do anything. What if that person was not clicking me but something else? I couldn’t take the risk and the embarrassment that would come along. And I felt somebody coming towards my table. I slowly, looked at him. He had a canon with the strap rolled around his palm, his posture slightly bent,

“Is it okay if I click your pictures,” he asked with a gentle smile.

I responded in a long, “yeaaa”.

He left, and I thought he would explain, but he left. I went back to reading. Another shot of flash. I stopped reading but did not move. Few more clicks, I was so nervous and embarrassed at the same time. All sorts of thoughts started flooding my head.  All the people in the café must be looking at what was going around. All the staff in the bar section were looking in my direction, I didn’t look at them but I knew. My cheeks were burning in embarrassment and I was hoping it to end soon. I took a nervous sip of watermelon juice. He was clicking pictures in all sorts of crazy ways that cameramen do. Suddenly, a question popped in my head; why did he choose to click me when there were so many people in the restaurant. ‘Please go and click somebody as well, please save me from this embarrassment.’

The flashes stopped. ‘He must have been done. Thank God.’ He came to me again and showed me the pictures he had taken. I smiled. His face reflected how happy he was with his work. He left my table and then started clicking pictures of the café. To my own satisfaction, he also took pictures of a table in the left corner. I was content inwardly. Then I realized, I didn’t remember what I had been reading all that time. I laughed quietly and ordered for another round of juice. When the juice was done, I closed the book to page 81, and restored it in its place. I paid and left.

I would never know why he clicked my picture. Perhaps, some things are better that way.