A short story about an adventurous trip!
On our recent visit to Rishikesh, our host went on and on about a waterfall near by, a must visit but lesser known and hence less crowded by tourists! And hence, the decision to visit the place was unanimous despite the fact that it involves climbing up a mountain!
We reached the foot hill and found the beaten track which may be called a path going uphill. To our dismay, there were a number of tourists mostly coming down and I wondered whether it would be as crowded up there as well! Anyway, we build our moxie up, readying ourselves to go on our first mountaineering trip (for me at least) and started up. The humid weather, lack of physical exercise and the climb uphill got me within 10 or 15 minutes but my desire to witness the beauty of the waterfall (the description of which was so vivid still in my mind) was such that I persevered.
In a little while I could see our friend (the host’s wife) also was huffing and puffing. Since the waterfall was not in sight, which I thought was probably because of the cover of the trees, we asked some people coming down how far we had to climb. Not one but several of them replied “oh, only a little more” (may be better expressed in hindi – bas, thoda sa aur!) and boosted our morale that we are about to witness a wonderful natural beauty. Again we mustered our courage and persisted.
Well, along with encouragement, there were discouraging people as well. A middle aged man, climbing down saw us two ladies and said: “Well, it is not possible for you to get there, better settle down here somewhere, have a picnic and go back.” Thinking back, we were only half way to the waterfall when we received this comment. Though we didn’t say anything, this comment made our will even stronger to reach the top, however long it might take us to climb.
The kids were having the time of their lives…hiking for the first time, excitement about the waterfall and much more than that, an interesting story to tell their friends…
Finally, after about 30 minutes climb, we reached the top of the mountain (well, not exactly the top, but almost!). I must say I was disappointed at first. I have seen wonderful falls like athirapally in kerala and compared to them this was just a stream…for a minute I thought the whole thing was a blunder. The torture of the climb, all the sweat and aching muscles, all for this! But just for a few minutes!
The rest of our group (except me sitting and mulling over) had already found the perfect place – a small pool under the fall (manmade, using some sacks of sand, stones etc) and were enjoying the cool water. Well, nothing to lose! I too joined in. We all were under the stream in no time, taking turns soaking in the cool medicinal water rolling down the cliff and it was so refreshing that all the physical and mental tiredness vanished! It was so rejuvenating that no one wanted to get out of the water or start the journey back.
But alas! day was running out and it was not wise for us city dwellers to linger on the mountain during dusk and we reluctantly started on our way back…
Though a short picnic, it was the blend of all perfect components –exciting, exerting and energizing! And the memory of the trip continues to be as fresh!