“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”

Waking up in the shade of the Almighty, that’s what I felt immediately after the morning mild wet storm, woke us up. The fatigue of the after-sleep hours in a cramped & congested seat of vehicle meant only for travelling, twinges up even the less-known vestigial muscles of the body. Just an attempt to stretch led everyone to wake up & before we knew it, the road went moving backwards.

The call of nature must be nurtured whenever it arrives. Aint nobody says No to a Mother when she calls. Therefore, the search for ‘The Booth’ began. Fortunately, it wasn't far & so we transferred ourselves from one confine to another. Performing the daily morning ritual is like meditating without consideration. A bliss, a pain. All loss, a little gain. Finally free of the curse we mortals have to live with every day; our expedition to kill starvation began & ended as soon as it started, because wherever you set your tummy free, there is a food-harem to load it up again.

The journey here was technically supposed to be more spiritual than usual. That is how we be-fool ourselves from time to time by acting to believe in that one force, that drives us all & still manages to hide as if absent. The animosity to our species shown through various disasters is enough evidence to prove that what we need to do is not pray, but utilize it in some constructive & more eco-friendly initiatives. Pray; for those who can’t. Work; for a cause that needs attention.

A short filmy statement is enough to stir up your hearts, yet the soul (Psyche) of this day lies elsewhere. The temple was old & spooky, if not for the masses so eagerly escaped from the lair of their own making. It was all foggy but the place where God himself resided stuck to another Mother (Earth), trying to express that everyone ought to remember their roots. The origin is below, no matter how high the skies you scrape. We proclaim the land before dominating the sky.

It was rather a peaceful experience after so much frantic cacophony over the days, & I asked myself to walk silently over the calmness inside as well as outside. However, peace is also a relative term. What we really yearned at the moment was expedition. Search for a seclude, trails of the unknown.

When you are in the Alps of Konkan, it is almost habitual to stop following your instincts. We explored a few slippery, rocky, steep & muddy trails. Some went deep into the forest which bloomed around what could be said was the cause of yet another marvellous phenomenon, a Waterfall. We kept ourselves out of the flora as it was susceptible to dangerous, deadly & poisonous fauna as well (But we did try to imitate the Hindi dubbed version of ‘Man vs. Wild’ termed ‘Guys Gone Wild’, along the way with our own hilarious add-ons).

If not welcomed by the jungle, we still wanted to see the head of the waterfall, & so grazing the rocks & grasses grown, we stepped downstream to the flowing rivulet. Current, not so strong, gave us confidence it could be crossed & terminus could be reached. The water was clear, so was the path. But the shiny rocks were slippery & what followed resulted in half of us losing many of their belongings. Vivek lost his cell phone to the still current just ahead of the small dam we were crossing (The water there was deeper than him at the point, so no chances of retrieval were taken), Rahul slipped & lost his ‘Zeher’ just before the water fell into the valley. He sowed the fruit of dare & reaped the loss of ‘Zeher’, brief impact & a kiss by Mother Earth on his forehead (Which led to blood loss by the way) & the loss of a little self-esteem (As he was valiantly proclaimed the best trekker we had brought to lead us).

Only if you have used ‘Siri’ or ‘Google Now’, can you imagine the response given by him to our questions next. The concerned questions about his wound were answered with a bland ‘It will not happen again’, or ‘It was my mistake. Not again’. & the utility of our questions tasted the salt of futility at his response. There was nothing to be reply except for a meek ‘OK’.

We somehow managed to get back on the road in single pieces independently, mourning the loss of our dearly kept belongings, aiming for a safer haven beneath those giants we had recently conquered & headed straight ahead for Pune. But we still were hungry & it had been a hell amount of time since we last had a meal (Since morning, to be vaguely precise).

So we stopped at a restaurant which made us travel a kilometre on the highway & find a divider just to return back to the same place from where we saw it across the deadly & furious road. But it was still worth it as the ambience & the food was simple, to the liking of our humidly dried out tongues & hunger full of stomach. Not to mention that costly juices which we had just because it was their so called ‘Speciality’ (& that turned out to be true, all hail the sacrifice of wasting time there to find food). Finally Pune was around us, and the mountains.

It was not in any of my interests to roam a place with strangers to gawk around at our ‘situation’ which in many cultures & popular languages be considered to ‘be considered’ for further consideration. Dropping Rahul & Vivek in the sister city & bidding goodbyes for the moments that will pass until we were supposed to meet again in Ahmedabad (The land of fafra, dhokla, thepla, chiwda & the dearly beloved Gujaratis and their ‘Maava’ prone jaws. But still not a capital).

The road we took now at last was the road so eagerly taken by lot desperately trying to save time & cover the dreaded distance between the two most important cities in western Maharashtra. Mumbai-Pune Expressway. With a constant speed of 80 kilometres per hour & flimsy 90’s filmy songs on our tongues, we awed at the complexity & effort in construction of such an awesomely smooth highway. I don’t know how many tunnels we would have crossed & how much more internal waterfalls seeping through the mountains must have drenched or ride. How many times the wind must have changed directions & how many patches of rain we must have crossed. But before I could come out of this dreamy smooth & crisp travel experience, we were acknowledged by two even more awesomely placed & providers of the service with their ‘Vasooli Stands’, or the Toll-stop. The amount you pay for the gas was lesser than the amount we paid at that single point, just to be on the other side.

Reaching the same old-same old place is always a blissful feeling, & we took it in as the polluted air of the aerosol ridden city started filling our lungs. But still it was what we have very early in our civilization had started calling ‘Home’. We asked the driver to drop us at point near Sumit’s place & decided to travel the rest of the way on foot after having some meaningful to fill our empty appetites.

Home was, well as Home would treat us. And the first thing both did was find the pins & find a socket to match the spokes & put those smart of an ass phones to charge. Sooner than we realized we were weary of the journey so long it seemed like a small experience, the soft cushions & cozy bed soon engulfed us while we were still having the after-effects (still driving on roads that snaked, rubbing the feet of carved mountains) of a long travel (the fluid in our ears play strange games at times, & it has minimal to do with the persistence of our conscious to play a hand).

When you have an adventure, even your dreams turn out to be tub-thumping & heart-pumping unwittingly which can medically induce adrenaline & drain more energy from your body than it could possibly consume while being wide awake. So that leads to a higher level of lassitude & in turn longer hours of sleep & greater sleep cycles. This is all subject to Post-ailment Stress-assessment Assertion Disorder (Meaning forget what you read in last few lines, & stop regretting why you even started in the first place).

As the city slept to a cozy, rickety, weary, late Sunday morning, afternoon, evening (According to their own taste. Who’s going to bother for 18 million souls with 180 million options & 1800 million preferences? I was nothing but a tourist). As silence was their illusion, so it was my shadow. As time is the façade for life, so was sleep to my death, I humbly accept…

Sign In to know Author