That is how I chose to celebrate the last weekend of the year. It was a thoughtful choice and I am glad I made it. More than anything I was glad to have my oldest partner in such crimes – my sister!
We both headed for a trek that included hiking, valley crossing, sitting inside hanging tents, camping around bonfire and live music! A detailed itinerary is published here by Pal Kumbhare. I can go on and on about the learnings I have taken with me and the inspiring stories that people have shared with me to observing myself out of my comfort zone.
But the most amazing thing I want to talk about is how well we strangers gelled together. There were about 40 odd people in the camp. Though all of us didn’t get to interact with each other but it was very much visible that each of us had formed a comfortable equation with few others. Much of the credit goes to awesome group of the organizers and the technical crew. In spite of being in the field for many years, some even for decades, and having to meet new people on almost all the weekends, they didn’t let us feel uncomfortable, abandoned or inferior in any way.
Because I have been on small treks before with different groups and have had my share of mixed experiences so far, I was in awe of the mountainous patience these people had. Even the participants were a great bunch, as they were enthusiastic about taking-in the new experiences. Apart from the thrilling and adrenaline soaring activities, we all were eager to help the organizers in their tasks as well. It was an amusing scene when we had cooked and eaten our breakfast way before the actual breakfast had arrived on the site. This includes cleaning the vessels and burning a chullah to serving and sharing the instant chai with Maggie rolls!
We all hardly knew each other’s names. People kept addressing me and my sister as Sita aur Geeta till the end because to them we looked like twins and it was easier to remember! I couldn’t remember their names either. But we all knew that each of us is there for others to cheer, support and guide.
So, we humans can cohabit and happily at that. We just need to accept each other! These offbeat outings teach us to survive with the basics and cherish people around you.