In February this year, I visited the holy shrine of Vaishnodevi in Jammu. It is about a 12 KM walk from the base camp - Katra till the holy shrine and I enjoyed that walk more than the darshan itself. The idea of a himalayan trek has been with me for really long but when I looked at the nature surrounding me during that trek, I decided I’d go to the Himalayas this year; I decided I’d do the trek. That was the sign. So I came back, and registered for the trek with IndiaHikes.
From August 9th to August 16th I was there. I was in the Himalayas. It had always been a dream and for the one time in my life, I was living my dream. In the course of that one week, I learnt a lot of things. But more importantly I learnt the importance of unlearning something. We are a species that is capable of thought and reason and as a side effect we are able to learn something every single day. But the concept of unlearning goes deeper than just basic thought and reason. Unlearning something requires you to go into the roots of your learning and strip it out. In reality, It is a really hard process to do.
Worries, pains, sorrows, love, friendship all take a back seat when you’re with the mountains. The only thing that matters then is you and the mountains. And truthfully, that is all matters in life. Everything else is but a requirement set by someone; a mere necessity. Every single day that I trekked the mountains, I asked it a whole new set of questions and it gave me a whole new set of answers. But the funny thing is, the mountains never spoke, I was speaking to myself all along. Then I realized the power of one. The power that lies in each one of us.
We worry about such petty things. We accept pain way too easily. We throw ourselves into sorrow for the smallest of things. We don’t give love a chance. We underestimate the value of friendship. I realized how much of importance I was giving to the things that didn’t really matter and how less of importance I was giving to the things that did really matter. The mountains cared for me. They let me walk on them and feel them and it seemed like they only asked for one small thing in return - That I care that same way for something else.
The human mind really is something else. The initial days were really tough on me. I found it extremely hard to heave my bag and walk so much, ascend so much, descend so much. But as the days passed my mind started to accept these things. Pain took a back seat as the ascents started becoming fun and the descents, even more so. I looked back on the painful days with a laugh. At the top of Gadsar pass, which was the highest point of the trek, I wanted to do more. 13,750ft suddenly seemed too less. It didn’t matter to me that I did a 3hr climb, what mattered was that I could see both the Vishansar and the Kishansar lakes. But even that, wasn’t enough. I tell you, the human mind really is something else.
The mountains woke up with us and slept with us. Every single day up there was different. The mountains poised a different set of challenges for us every day. Be it ascending on snow or on boulders or on extremely small trails, it never ran out of things to throw at us. I woke up every day looking forward to these challenges. I woke up knowing that things wouldn’t be monotonous. My DSLR camera ended up being a distraction. When I was in the moment and was a part of it all, I never once felt the need to take a picture. I always felt a greater urge to stay there longer.
Given a chance, the mountains have a lot to teach us about everything but more so about oneself.
Ask her why you worry. Ask her why it pains. Ask her about sorrow. Ask her how to love. Ask her how to befriend. Ask her what. Ask her why. Ask her where. Ask her how.
But please, ask. But please, wonder. But please, submit.
And always remember, they are waiting for you. They always were, they always will.