A quick recap: I had gone on a trek to Skandagiri in August. The trek went horribly wrong, and after much deliberation, I decided to call it a day and return back in defeat. Check out the fir st part if you want to know the details.
Coming down from a mountain is like starting a new life in many ways. You have these memories with you, of a wonderful time, and yet you must move on to the next thing. On treks that don’t go so well, it becomes even more difficult to come to terms with the departure. It’s funny how I took longer to come down, than the climb itself. Maybe it’s because I took longer breaks. These breaks were not to replenish my energy, but to replenish my heart with hope. A part of me still wanted to complete the trek, and I though it’s the least I could do. So I sat on a large stone, and tried to drink in the surroundings, played some music to ease my nerves. When you are all alone, the mind often starts seeing things that are not there. As I took my last break, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been to a similar trek on past.
It was so long ago, maybe from another lifetime. I am not sure how credible the memory itself was. But I remembered travelling around a mountain like Skandagiri, not really planning to reach on the top, just drinking in the sights. It was with ‘her’. She loved adventures and so did I. That trek almost did not happen, and nothing seemed to work for us. We were ditched by friends, almost didn’t catch the train we were supposed to catch, and finally we were completely lost on our way. There was not a soul around to ask directions, and yet we walked on, happily drenched in the moment. We spotted a solitary pond on the way, and enjoyed some music without having to talk to each other. We didn’t talk much anyway. I remembered the song that we played then, and out of some silly notion I just played that song. I closed my eyes and just tried to go back in time, to feel the way that I felt back then. For a fleeting moment, I went back in time, with wind in my hair and warm music in my heart. The moment broke when I opened the eyes however.
I was back on a strange mountain, one that did not care for me. One that just wouldn’t love me back. I was miles away from the mountain I had been thinking about, miles away from the girl who was there with me, and there was a distance of at least a million light years between what I was back then, and what I am today. I didn’t know what to think, or do. So I sat on a large stone near the cliff, and just kept looking at the sky. I am very sure that I would have continued to do so had it not been for some movement from the bushes behind me. Now, I am not averse to the wild life, I love it very much. Having a brush with it’s nasty elements however is never a top priority. Also I was on the edge of the cliff, and it looked higher than it really was. Talk about being caught between a rock and hard place! I should be glad though, that this moment happened, it made me realize how much I love living, especially so because I had been having an encounter with my cynical side. I braced myself for this particular tryst with the unseen monster behind the bushes. In an anticlimactic fashion, the beast was none other than a stray dog that looked rather starved.
I had nothing to feed the poor chap, and so I just kept staring at him, not knowing what to do. Fortunately he didn’t care much for food, and started descending ahead of me. I felt it was the sign for me to get going as well. I tried to follow the dog, but he was too fast, and too well adjusted to the terrain, so I lost sight of him for a long time. I did notice him almost at the base again, quietly staring at the view in front of him. I looked back at the mountain, and had one last moment of regret. Just as I had reached the Papagni Math ( the starting point for the trek), I met an old woman on the road. She spoke in Kannada, and I had no way to understand what she was saying. Noticing my discomfort, she switched to using English words that she knew. I was surprised by what she was trying to tell me. I had taken the wrong path all along! The realization was more uplifting than anything. I somehow felt relieved to know that and a weight that was heavy on my soul was nowhere to be found. I thanked the kind lady and decided to attempt again, this time from the right path. I walked for half an hour on the right path, which was too simple and plain. Somehow in that instant, I felt like it wasn’t worth it. I now knew that this is something I could easily do. It was around 3:00 PM, and I was completely tired. So I turned back once again, this time without a guilt. It ‘s strange how these things work. Maybe I didn’t feel so bad because I had already abandoned the trek anyway.
I decided to walk my way back to Chickaballapur. It was much longer than I remembered, and the sunlight didn’t make it any easier. On the way back however, I got the opportunity to observe the vineyard. I am not sure if it was just a yard, or a winery. I would have spent more time in the yard, but it was too hot by then. So I finally gave up on walking back and hired an auto.
As the auto moved away from the vineyard, and back into the town, I couldn’t resist staring back at the mountain that had left me wanting more. It wasn’t even funny how the weather changed immediately and there were clouds all around the mountain. As I looked back at the vineyard, and Skandagiri, I promised myself to come here once again, and then again, until both of us fall in love with each other. As I pondered on the thought, my ride back to Banglore had arrived. I drifted off to sleep on the way back, and I kept thinking what could be better than a long and difficult love story?? Maybe the one that never happened …