(Continued from Part 1) A quick Recap: I went for a trek, and took a wrong turn or two. I was in the middle of a dense forest, with no help. I had to figure out how to get out.
So what do you do, when you are pushed back to the wall, in a corner, or in my case a waterfall. I had been walking for hours, after I crossed the beautiful little stream ( fondly named Natsukashina). Somewhere on the road, I had taken up the wrong trail. In monsoon, sometimes the trails disappear, and if you find them, one can never be too sure if they are the right ones. Getting lost in the woods is like having vodka on a cruise. You don’t realize what is happening to you until your heart starts pounding, and you start to panic. As I was walking on the trail in the forest, I realized that I am going further down instead of going up towards Sondai. Sometimes the trails tend to be deceptive, so I stayed on my way, assuring myself that this was the right route. Big mistake.
Another half an hour hike had taken me to a corner where on my left, a huge stone wall awaited me, and on my right a gushing waterfall. The adventurous part of me wanted to attempt climbing through the waterfall, but I have some rules for myself, and this did not agree with them. If I had slipped, and broken my leg or something, there was no way I could have gotten out of the forest. So there was just one thing left to do, turn back.
Going back on a trek sucks big time. It feels like losing the biggest battle, and being proven unworthy. I have been on enough treks to learn that pride cannot carry you to the top, and often it would push you over the edge, sometimes literally. So I decided to swallow the bugger with a pinch of salt, and turn back. I wasn’t going to attempt the waterfall today. I turned back and went twenty feet backwards when an idea hit me. I wasn’t going to attempt the waterfall, but maybe I could attempt the small hill?? The stone wall of 25 -30 feet was out of question. It was slippery and wet. There was no other way, there were just trees and shrubs on the hill, and the climb was almost 80 degrees straight. The trees were a good news however, it probably meant that the soil won’t slide down. That’s the worse experience ever, and I always think back to the time it had happened to me on Peth. A big layer of soil ( 4 feet I guess), just slipped, without any warning. This was a different trek, and a different day though. So I thought, even if I slip, I could always grab a bush or a tree, or something.
The climb took me around twenty minutes. There was a plateau on the top, and to my relief, a trail, a big trail that moved upwards! I moved along, the dark clouds were conspiring, I had to hurry. In another twenty minutes, I had reached midway, and there was once again a huge waterfall blocking my way. If I had crossed it, I would once again be moving away from the peak. I knew better than attempting something like that again. So I looked around and found a narrow trail right next to me, going back upwards. So I took a slight ‘u’ turn , and hopped on to the new trail. I still had no clue if this was the right one. Ten minutes on the trail, all my worries were set by two four year olds. These kids roamed around the forest like they owned it, in retrospection, it won’t be too far from the truth. Fashionable names on the kids though. Hiren & Viren, the brothers who live in Sondaiwadi ( the other base village for the trek), set me on the right path once again. Soon the steep upwards climb begun.
Half an hour into the climb, I was almost on the top. This had been great fun. As I was negotiating the last patch of twenty feet rock ( with proper footrests etc), the clouds burst open, and there was unbelievable downpour. I somehow managed to climb and reach a mini plateau, and stood under a lone tree there. I was thoroughly enjoying now though. As I looked around, the entire village below me looked like a distant memory, cloudy and small. I was officially in heaven now.
After the rains stopped being so nasty, I moved up and picked up pace once again. Another fifteen minutes, and I was on the ladder that I had spotted from below. This reminded me of similar ladders in Mahuli and Bhimashankar. The pinnacle was just ten feet away from me now. This part always makes me excited. I took off from there, and reached the top with another five minutes.
The top of Sondai is a small area, and couldn’t be more than four hundred square feet. There is a small temple of Sondai Devi on the top. As I looked at the idol, I understood why one would want to stay up here. The view was spectacular, and there wouldn’t be many visitors to disturb her. I clicked a few pics, and decided to have my meal here. Three bars of chocolate, and some water.
I like doing this thing… when you are really hungry, and have exerted yourself, eating something small like chocolate really feels great. I could feel the chocolate being absorbed in my body, and giving me warmth and energy. As I laid down, there was a light shower, and it was generally pretty much overcast. Then, slowly through the clouds, a beam of sunshine illuminated the valley below me, and slowly moved over to the hill I was on.
At that moment, I started thinking about home. I tried to remember, why I want to go back. There was no good reason. I toyed with the idea of just staying here, taking care of the small temple, and living a life free from the society. There was no reason for me to go back anyway. I had already imagined all possible scenarios, of what could happen with me when I go back. It would be the same old life, and it would move in a predictable pattern. My high of the trek was now wearing off, and I tried to shake away the gloom. Then I noticed a butterfly, Papillon.
It kept hovering all around me, and was very accommodating.It let me click away happily, without flying away as I expected it to. I don’t know what the butterfly was doing on the top, there were no flowers here, not much vegetation as well. Maybe it had nothing to go back to, just like me. As if on a cue, the butterfly hovered to the edge of the cliff, and floated below, vanishing in the clouds. I kept staring at the spot it was at for some time. The butterfly, little papillon, never stays at a place for too long. Me and the papillon are pretty much alike. Even if I had stayed there, I would have had to move to the next big thing eventually. As I descended back from the stairway, I saw the butterfly again. Hovering randomly over shrubs. My sights were on the Morbi dam in front of me. As I marched towards the next adventure, I waved goodbye to the beautiful mountains behind me. They have always been kind to me. The butterfly of course deserved a heartfelt goodbye too. It had brought an interesting thought to my mind. We don’t need a reason to live.
Life is much prettier when you are hovering from one spot of beauty to the next.
Until the next adventure…see you soon.