As someone who shudders in the Bangalore December weather, and who loses all sense of ground in a mere 4 storeyed building, a trip to Himalayas seemed a little over the line. I, however, never yielded to any apprehensions of what was to be, for it wasn’t a hypnotic dream that I had to wrestle, but an alluring reality.
How could I let it go? So there I was. Finally. In what was to be a trip of a lifetime. In my so far succinct life.
It was such an electrifying feel. 🙂
Day 1: After a contented rail journey in Rajdhani, we landed in Dhikuli, and soon speeded away to our first spot – Corbett falls.
Tucked amidst a forest grove, this tiny 20 feet waterfall, is more of a delightful reminder that Nature has us in raptures – be it insignificantly small, or tantalizingly big – in whichever way it shapes itself to be.
A well-made stone way invites us to a walk, and as we reach the fag-end, the gushing waters invariably makes us smile. The guys took a dunk, as soon as chance presented itself, dancing their way around.
[Rant: At this point, I must admit, if there is one thing an Indian woman needs at such places – it’s a decent change room. I was disappointed however, not once, but every time we had to take a dip, there was none. Forget bikini, strolling about in minis, brings women a condescending look in this part of the world, yet none of the supposedly renowned tourist spots have change rooms. Seriously, gimme a break. Don’t ask me how I changed, it was difficult, and let’s leave it at that. FYI: Sarayu bagged the ‘worst place’ title under this category.]
For the very same reason, I hesitated a bit, until my darling husband gave me no other choice. The calm, unruffled breeze – the squeals from the kids and the ladies – most of all the cool water added their share of glamour, and I caved in.
This was followed by a ‘how-to-hide-masala-chat-from-the-monkeys’ session, which we greedily gorged up owing to late lunch.
The evening ended pleasantly too – we strolled about the resort roads – smelling the eucalyptus which was wafting its fragrance – befriending a black dog which had uncanny liking to Sanjay Mahalingam (Or I am not sure if it was the other way around ;)) – discussing the new star plus version of Mahabarat (Which I personally think is not doing any justice in portraying the epic) – opting for a tent stay, until girls were pushed into the classic rooms, while the chivalrous guys decked themselves in the unfortunately stuffy tents 😀
Day 2: After a stormy night, we woke ourselves to an ecstatic jeep safari to Corbett National Park.
[This trip gave me a lot of firsts – I had never traveled in a safari jeep, I had never dunked, I had never trekked owing to acrophobia, I had never boarded a running train, I had never seen snow, heck – I had never been to North India. It was quite special.]
C happened to tell us that he had seen a python in his last visit to the park, a few years ago. We were like, “Duh! That’s it? What’s so great about that?!” Very soon, we realised, C was lucky, we didn’t even see a python. 😦
Jim Corbett National Park, the oldest in India, is stretched over an area of a little more than 1,300 sq. km., with 100s and 1000s of flora and fauna. However, the safaris are restricted to a very little area, the exclusion of interiors, could be a reason that spotting a Bengal tiger remained elusive, though reportedly there are over 200 of them.
The drivers shared with us a few stories, in which they bore a happy spectacle to these majestic beasts, in their many years of driving at the park. This is what we managed to see though:
So next time if you know anyone who managed to see a Python, react better, else it would be like the Susan Boyle moment from BGT. Though, shame-faced, they at least had a Boyle at the end of it, while you might not even get a picture of the carcasses of these wildlife beauties. Disappointing, I know!
The guys washed off the disappointment in the resort river, while I feigned pleasure in clicking their antics, and the fishes that were cultured.
Universe made it up to us, and got us to Chiliyanaula in the evening. Wah! This place is a paradise: the serenity, the sights and sounds will take you to a whole new place, and you would want to move base here forever. After seeing the local kids play with dragon flies, we feasted on hot-hot-bajjis, and soon the temple of Haidakhan Babaji called to us.
Sanjay is clearly a better person to describe this place, for he fell in love with it, the minute he stepped in. I, on the other hand, with no earlier introduction to this form, took time to settle in. I came in to gladden myself with familiarity, but there in lay a test to embrace the unknown. Had it been an ashram of one those saints whom I have heard about, read about like Mahavatara Babaji, Sri M, Paramahamsa, etc., I would have breezed in. Within seconds, I realised my resistance, and spoke to Him by connecting to the form I was comfortable with. I told Babaji that was the best I could do, and that he should forgive my needless prudence.
When they say pilgrimages changes things, I now know what they mean. For that seeming resistance had no trace by the end of the trip, wherein I embraced and connected to a Swamiji almost instantaneously, though I was miles away, and he merely happened to speak about me.
Learning: In spirituality, understanding is one thing, while application is a completely different ball game. After that 2nd day of the holy trip, He made me realise that I might grope, resist, and even restrict myself in my journey towards Him, constantly wanting familiarity and comfort. However, He will push me against odds, making me realise, I don’t need a cane, for I am not here to walk familiar paths. I am here to fly amidst the unknown beauty within and beyond this world. 🙂
With His guiding wind under my wing, I shall fly, and so shall all of us ❤
To that liberating flight!