Don’t you get tired of travelling to the mountain over and over again?
A few days ago, when I was telling Maa about my next trip to Himachal, she naively asked this question. It’s not that her question doesn’t make sense, as truthfully, the views are always the same – nothing fancy, not out of the world. The roads, mountains and the valleys have always remained the same, and equally regular are the mornings, and the nights.
But this question made me revisit all my trips to the mountains, wondering how beautifully each moment I experienced was different to the other. I can’t remember to have witnessed two similar sunsets in the mountains, as the sunset in Leh has its unique charm, so does a sunset in Lansdowne. When one April in Landour gives me the scent of spring, the other from Binsar carries an early summer.
Under the bluest of the blue coloured sky in Shillong, one can find me playing with the floating cloud, and the sky tinted to a gloomy grey shade in Dhanaulti makes me long for the rain to come. Narratives change every time I meet a new travel companion, trying a new pahadi delicacy is always a bliss, exploring their native rituals is infinite, and after coming back from the trips, the box full of albums with beautiful memories never fails to give me enough reasons to plan the next trip.
The first morning glimpse of the mountain in Manali after an overnight journey from Delhi still thrills me, and in the silence prevailed in Marhi village on a leisurely afternoon, I still catch myself daydreaming. Story-like portraits of a small village chapel in Mowlinong, or a lonely temple that comes on my way to Turtuk equally fascinate me, and I never cease to find a beautiful story in all of them. A 5:30 am serenity in the Jim Corbett and the crowded streets of Rishikesh possess their own unique character, one is my favorite for its silent conversations and tranquil surrounding, and other, for its vibrant streets and colourful corners.
I love everything about the mountains, the scent of its essence and the feel of its touch.
In some days, you would find me walking around in random paths of Narkanda, and in some other days, I would sit for hours together in my hotel balcony at Naldehra with my favourite book. The excitement that made me dance witnessing the first snow in Kufri, and one with the first glimpse of Pangong Lake from inside the car, both were different, but equally special. And every time, be it the trek to Prashar Lake, or rafting in the Ganga, different feelings of emotion run inside me, one of pure happiness, sometimes a sense of gratitude and at times a feeling of achievement.
The bakery at Landour selling delicious cakes, combo of chai and momos in Darjeeling, the buttery Gur Gur Cha in Leh, and bhang (cannabis) chutney with Kumaoni chicken, all of them are laden with ingredients that I love.
So going to the mountains, over all these years, is like visiting home.
And does one get tired of coming home ever?