Lens vs Eyes

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Months of boredom and years of frustration is making me all cranky and sad. I have to go out somewhere. I have to take a break from my daily life. I have to do something…

The ring of my phone dragged me out of my frustrated thoughts. My friend asked me to check out a trip cum trek plan to Kasol. Instantly I got up, planned it with my friend, decided about going, informed office and family about it and booked the tickets within a span of half-a-day.

A vacation finally, after a very very long time…

Waiting for the Time

We reached early at Delhi and had a few hours before our trip started from there. So, we took rest in the garden near the India Gate eating bhutta (corn), waiting for the opportune moment to leave the surreal place towards our pick-up point.

At the Gate, we took some pics and sat down to rest.

Our trip captain had created a group on WhatsApp of all the people being part of the trip. People were sharing their experience in the new town, pictures of places they were visiting and the usual useless stuff.

My friend was busy in trying to create his first impression in the group by following the herd. It was boring to sit there silently, but as we were tired of the past 4-5 hours of walking with all the luggage, it was nice.

When we reached the Gate, there was a flood of selfies and group pictures. I saw a man, in his late 60s guess, looking at all of them. He was a good physique, slow steady walk, sharp eyed man with his hands folded behind him. He looked like an ex-army person.

He looked displeased with those kids. Probably because those kids were happily taking pics with the Gate instead of feeling gratitude for those souls, that the Gate represents.

Then there was a woman in her late 40s. She was selling baked corn. We weren’t starving, but we took one each and sat there in the garden. I had to pay but as I didn’t have proper denominations, I told her to pay her in a minute by borrowing from my friend.

Her girl came after a few minutes to ask for payment (probably the woman thought we’d forgotten the debt). I told her to bring one more for us both. That was I could use the bigger denomination. She went back happily.

After that she went to (probably) her brother to play with him. But her brother scolded her and said that the game wasn’t suitable for her. She sat there watching them play.

They were playing lagori (satodiyo) (seven stones). One of them was very good at taking the aim, but his partner was slow at supporting him. The other team was not so good either in seeking or in hitting. But they won most of the matches as they played well as a team.

Besides, the one who was good at hitting missed several aims in boasting about his ability and telling his mate how to play the game. But none of these mattered to them.  They enjoyed anyway.

As the bulky-tummy-boy missed hitting the hitters, his team mate hit the ball on his big-bang-bum, calling him a slow ass. I and the other team members laughed

Mixed Introduction

Our trip started with gathering at the pickup point. Having this bad habit of being on time, we reached at the spot a little late and still got early than 90% of others. 😛 We started introducing ourselves. There were people from different parts of the country.

People started sharing their personal details, family history, job details etc. and we started judging people based on the details shared by them, while trying desperately to remember their names. It was a good deal of effort to talk with a few and there were some who never stopped talking, even when we looked away.

While people were interacting and trying to break the ice, I was busy at studying their behavior. How differently people behaved on the same situation and how different were their views on the same topic – was exciting to me.

With each conversation and with each of their expression, I knew more about their nature and their attitude towards different things. Who was more interested in whom, who was scared and who was really excited, who was humble and who was a show off, all came out with more time spent talking to them.

It was supposed to be one group going on a trip, but from the start itself, the group started splitting into various mini-groups based on the law of mutual attraction, which states that “Just by one glance at the person, instinct tells us whether we would be comfortable with them or not, and most of the times, that instinct is true.” The instinct is not based on judging others, but on knowing ourselves very well that it might require us to go out of our comfort zone.

There were three types of people on the trip – one who cared for no one and enjoyed in their own style, one who were attention seekers trying to please “the cream in the crowd”, and the attention givers. And there was me too, the forth category. 😛

And they were doing similar activities – enjoying themselves & getting involved in the group or learning from attention seekers to seek attention; seeking attention or desperately trying to; and giving attention or bearing the pain of smiling at those stupid gimmicks by attention seekers.

Start of the Journey

The journey started with people occupying the seats in the bus. Old childhood habit of climbing the school bus last didn’t let go of us this time too. We saw a few seats available in the front while many at the back. We instantly went to the backside, another old habit. We settled and starting talking with each other about how excited we were about the journey. It was going to be awesome – claimed different exclamations.

Soon the party started and more “cool” people started to show off their “cool” traits of drinking, joking and sharing their previous experience (more of exaggerated escapade).

Based on the mini-groups formed while waiting for others, the sitting arrangement wasn’t hard to guess. It was obvious that the back seats were full of extroverts and front seats were full of semi-introverts, who took a little more time trusting others. However, I was at the back, even though being wholly introvert.

While the ice had been broken well in advance, it took me more time to get along with the whole jolly attitude. It was a difficult switch to make.

But I just ignored trying to do that and continued with my observations. There were people worse than me. They were not interested in getting along at all. They were more like – “let me sleep in peace till the end of this trip.” 😛

Night, Morning & Dancing Bus

Night was the time to take rest and recharge for the next full day of adventure. While some had started the excitement right then and there 😉

We were watching a movie on our phone, but that didn’t last long and I fall asleep.

As people started to wake up, the morning got more and more interesting. We stopped at a ‘dhaba’ (roadside eatery). Our cravings had crossed limits and it was a fight to get our breakfast in all that crowd and confusion.

While the route was long, fellow travelers wanted to wait no more for having fun. The music system started playing some beats and those of the extrovert types, who could dance, started grooving to the tunes. Soon people started stepping in the narrow dance floor.

While those who could dance raised their ratings in the bus, while those who couldn’t but were enthusiastic enough to dance raise the drollery in the bus to high levels.

As one after the other people started to switch off their eyes, my mind filled with several thoughts about how the next few days would be. It was just a trip you would think. But it was way more than that for me.

It was my first encounter with strangers. It was a chance for me to become an extrovert from an introvert person. And apart from all these, it was an item from the list of places I wanted to travel in the world.

So, all in all, it was a big deal for me. And imagining the carousel of images flashing by my mind along with a mixture of scenes visible through the window, I slowly drifted into dream world.

The morning was difficult as my friend had started drifting away into pleasing the cream. I started conversing and slowly felt that it wasn’t that difficult as I thought. But then again my introvert mind made likes and dislikes about people and took me away from them.

When the dancing acts started, I didn’t get up and show some moves in the bus. First I was more interested in watching the natural beauty outside the window and second, I just couldn’t. 😛

There were some humorous & some sizzling dance moves, some quaint and amusing jest, while some irritating and odd comments that raised sparse rivalry amongst people, while bonded a few others. It even showed that some of our fellow travelers were totally pesky and some were awesomely cool.

Photography

In this age where it was more important to tell others that we were enjoying rather than enjoying itself, photography is the first thing we do at every place we travel.

Here also, there were selfies and abundant natural pictures of whatever came in the way. In just a span of an hour, there were a thousand clicks and several hundred “woo” moments for the crowd.

While people either took pictures of self, where background didn’t really matter at all or tool pictures of natural landscapes and scenery like a pro. But very few, actually none, were interested in capturing the odd.

The people there, their culture and their style of living, the natural habitat and the shrewd juggad in various day to day activities.

Apart from that the usual mountains, trees and river, I was more interested in the microscopic beauty of nature. Some I was able to capture, while some are only recorded in my memory.

While a fake sunrise pic through accidental flash of my camera amazed others believing it to be real sunrise (even in their social site updates), my camera captured old architectures, dew formation on leaves and wires, naturally grown green gardens, the fight of sun against the clouds…

While things only in my mind were – a dirt hill made by ants which had weird formations all around the top, a bird teaching her babies the first flight, a dog reacting to the sudden human invasion to their territory by shaking his head, and a bird hunting a fish from the gushing river flow in a flash… These and several such serene sides of nature were captured in my memory.

Dangerous Turns & Tunnel

While climbing up the hill, there were some parlous turns on the road. They created a sense of roller coaster ride for those on-board. We were awestruck by the way the tire turned just inches from the end of the road. Just a slight error and we would have fallen down the cliff in to the river. The driver, of course, was very skilled that we didn’t.

When bus entered in the tunnel, people started shouting, coming out of the window. They waved to the other commuters on the road and yelled hip hip hurray when we came out in the light.

The turns were terrific. Sometimes the tires even went outside the edge of the road, hanging in the moment and then came back on the surface. It was a sight to be seen, if you only see the tire and the cliff below, you’d feel that the bus is falling down the cliff and still you’re happy. An amazing illusion of emotions…

When we stepped in the tunnel, there were tiny orange lights on the ceiling. Right above one of such light, I saw a nest of a bird. In the dim light, it was not a clear view. But I wondered how our paths always intersected with the habitat of other animals.

At the end of the tunnel I saw the light. The echo of different sounds created a unique effect in the Tunnel. And when we came out of the tunnel, just then echo suddenly disappeared and there was a crisp change in the sounds that we heard before. As if the horn was suddenly kept inside the water and blown….

The Rain – Spoiler and Maker

As soon as we reached the destination of our trip, it started raining and continued with a few breaks. The rain spoiled our plan for the big trek, however, we continued with a smaller trek and had fun with it.

Crazy excitement, going through those mud ponds, conquering those rocks and walking with our mates was so much fun. In between that came photography time, selfie time and several hours of chit-chatting.

The rain created a mesmerizing environment there and the view of the dark cloudy sky with a mixture of snow covered mountain peaks and the sound of the nearby river created a perfect representation of nature and tranquility. The placid serenity of the silent mountains created a perfect studio for the photographer in us.

Bonfire

At night, it was time for the bonfire. After getting fresh and eating our food, we assembled for some fire and dance, both real and metaphorically. We danced and enjoyed till late in night. This was the time when almost everyone enjoyed dancing and chilling.

While I was so excited to dance at the bonfire, it didn’t quite go well. Apart from some dancing and grooving, people were more interested in smoking and weeding around. The smoke filled the air and created a mixture of pollution & irritation in the otherwise dulcet night.

Bonfire was at its place, but the dancing was not organized. With so many people around, less number of dancers and very few interested in dancing, it was very difficult for me to dance my heart out in that smoke and rout mob. Still I tried, but finally gave up as smoke filled my lungs. I was so roiled that I didn’t even attend the next day bonfire night.

Night and the Emotions

Dance let the emotions flow. The starry night and the pleasant cold breeze created a romantic atmosphere and helped create more bonded friendship amongst a few. While others were fuddled in weed and alcohol.

All the smoke and alcohol made me totally irritated and disinterested in the group and I was more interested in sleeping than to befriend anyone. I went straight to my room and let the night end for me.

The Next Day

While it continued raining and spoiled all our plans to visit nearby places, we were going to nearby Gurudwara and the natural hot-water spring. It was inexpressible how soothing was the experience to take a dip in the hot-water pond.

People shopped and wandered around while coming back from the Gurudwara. At night, was another bonfire, but I didn’t attend that.

While the soothing hot-water touch was great, but I was more interested in going further towards the mountain peak, where it was snowing. We tried searching for a mode of transportation but couldn’t. We even tried talking to the coordinator regarding taking the whole group further up the mountain, but due to time constraint, he couldn’t.

While coming back from the Gurudwara, I was filled with varied emotions of not being able to explore everything, yet happy to have seen these beautiful places. I let my emotions take form of art and drew a half-face on the dew-filled window of our bus.

Someone point it out to everyone in the bus and it came to my attention that I was not alone there. 😛

Curfew Cries

It was time for us to leave. The sunny clear sky mocked us when we were leaving the place. While traveling back, a riot occurred at the city and we were halted on-route. We had to spend the whole night on the highway. People went out for some tea, food and yet another round of smoking.

The roads cleared in the morning and we departed for our way back home. On our way back, we saw the devastation the root has caused and clicked a few pics for memory.

It was time to turn back and go back to where it started. But some kibosh stopped us right in the middle of the road. While in the midst of riot and people killing each other, the adventurous gut of people inside the bus was still high. But as soon as my mood for fun started, these people started to smoke. And all my adrenaline to do something crazy would flush down the sewer.

The night was long and the silence was irksome. So people who had bonded well during the journey started conversioning, while waiting for sleep to fill their eyes. I listened to their conversations silently. They were interesting sometimes. 😛 At least they were better than the folks outside smoking their lungs out.

On our way back, I saw how easy it is to last our minds and go crazy for us humans for some selfish cause. We can do anything to disrupt normal life, but we can’t do even slightest of hard work to make it better.

Run Away Baby

As soon as we reached Delhi again, the rush to run away from the city towards our home started. The departing goodbyes were a little dramatic. People were hugging and bidding farewell to each other. It was a little heavy.

We took a train back to our home and our fairy tale came to an end.

While I had not bonded with anyone to feel emotions for anyone of them, yet leaving them was a little emotional. I couldn’t express any of that, but still felt happy that I had made lots of friends on this journey and the moments would be cherished for days to come.

While for most of us, the trip was over. But for us it was still a day more. Two of our mates joined us on our travel back to home and we took whatever train we could find on the platform going towards our cities. It was a Run Away rush as the riot was not stopping and we had to save our asses.

But in all that upsurge, me and one of my friend stayed real calm. We cared nothing about all that and had a few common ways of having fun. The train journey was a story to tell, some other time may be. 😉

The Aftermath

The aftermath of the trip was bewitching. It took several days to recover from the emotional flood of excitement and fun from the trip and to get back to our boring usual working lives. And several instances of that aftermath was poured out in form of social media group chat. Group chat was filled with emotional messages and ‘miss you’s and other such stuff.

Slowly the shine of that trip fade away and we were back to our busy selves. But it was amazing how few of us were bonded for life…

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