You know the best part about treks? It’s that fraction of a second just before hitting the climb. I gaped at the scars and injuries on my bare hands. They spread across my palm and shredded my skin, like artful brushstrokes across the thick canvas. Staring back at me like large black holes, they served as reminders of all the fear that was hammered down throughout my climb. My insecurities had crumbled, like huge rocks that splintered into stones.
I am re-born after every trek. Fresh and happy. Like a new girl in school, I automatically swim into a whirlpool of intangible wisdom.
Trekking is therapy. For me, it isn’t so much the view, it never was, but the journey itself - of falling, tumbling down, getting scratched and bleeding. These little parallels of life that nature gives me is my cure, like soul-stirring music after an accident.
Ever since I started trekking, the mountains have always been a ‘She’. Her latent strength, healing prowess, the rustic gems within her bosom that can be seen only when She wishes to show you, the garb of a simple façade that She wears, the thin veil of uncertainty, Her green shroud of embrace, Her heart of gold, Her rough touch yet affectionate caress… Well, I can go on.
She was no different in my fourth trek, with Kodachadri. Well, She looked green though, unlike Savandurga. But I could sense an envelope of peace I had walked into. Like a silent stream, that rarely gurgled of trouble.
The sky was a light-blue carpet. I drank up the sharp sun around 9 am, before beginning the trail. My long locks swayed in the hot winds. A grain of sand prickled in my eyes and refused to go away, like the magic of a small-town that stays in your head. I began to climb, telling myself that I would make it through the five milestones that the group had set for us.
The music around me was dreamy, like a well woven fairytale tucked away in a place far away from human hands. Her poetry was pure, like dew droplets from the heaven. Grass shoots shivered. Snakes hissed. Wild flowers swayed. Waterfalls roared. Birds whistled. The wild had let us into her lap immediately. The rocks served like a launchpad, the grass and roots were like our parents who we held onto while climbing challenging trails and the mountain was a navigation compass. She was solace when we needed some – rushing, rolling waterfalls were like the sound of stars that collectively hit the ground, an occasional chirp was a harmonic chord.
By evening, as we almost hit the peak, the clouds danced around us. Like bags of sawdust, with powdered dreams, they swum like a comrade till the very end before they faded. I shivered when I reached the top. The vision before me had dimmed. It seemed like an ocean as bright as the deep blue sea. Dim blue light shimmered. Silence whistled. The golden-white ball of fire stayed on for a while as tiny birds hovered to enjoy the last golden drops. Orange first, and then crimson red, before chirpily bouncing back to His lair. As he tucked His face inside his blanket, I realised that there comes a time where the mightiest of all goes back to a resting zone too.
We walked back to the jeep which hollered until our home stay. Our body parts seemed mangled by the end of it but it was okay! The curtains closed that night as I made some new friends, shared stories by the campfire, learned to pitch a tent and appreciate the music of the starry orchestra.
The next morning, we reached a majestic fort. I shared a quiet date with the vast expanse of land above; that looked like an uncharted part of space. The rest of the day was spent on travel and it really was one of the most satisfactory journeys ever. (I didn’t listen to Floyd this time.) We rode past thick meadows, stray lands and hot roads while I battled an existential crisis before I reached Bangalore.
Kodachadri was one of those treks where confidence soared in my heart, like a bird which just flies above in the air and doesn’t care about the fences beneath. A sun has risen, hiding the monsoon clouds.
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