There is something very inherently peaceful about the hills. The sheer scale of the mountains is humbling – it immediately puts our everyday problems in perspective.
The quiet hallways of the monasteries echoed a reassurance which would remain unheard in the mundane cacophony of everyday city life. Perhaps, it was nature's way of letting me reconcile with myself.
At 24, my weekend trip to Mcleod Ganj in April was my first vacation with friends. I am quite the late bloomer that way, previous requests to go to Pondicherry, Goa, etc. were turned down by my parents a couple of years ago. The interim years that I was in the UK for my masters, I had no choice but to travel with the only one good friend I had made.
This time my folks didn't seem to mind, and so off I was, en route the designated bus stop a Friday evening, spearheading into a brand new realm of adulthood. Except, there was some sort-of a fair going on near the ISBT in Delhi, which made us walk for a good 45 minutes from the metro station to this dodgy corner off a flyover, from where our bus was supposed to depart. Only our bus hadn't turned up and wouldn't for the next two hours.
The inevitable happened, my friends and a bunch of girls who were boarding the same bus ushered me to a corner of the flyover and circled me as I let my bladder breathe. This started a trend of me peeing in the most horrible and unhygienic places imaginable, until the time we came back to Delhi three days later. A girl from the bus, who was one of my human shields earlier, just grabbed a tissue roll and headed towards the shrubbery next to a small Dhaba we had stopped for breakfast the next morning.
Naturally, we reached four hours late and almost barged into a Tibetan restaurant for lunch. I diligently brushed my teeth after ordering a plate of Red Thai Curry which turned out to be utterly delectable. After dropping our stuff at an Air B&B overlooking the hills, we walked to Bhagsu Falls, only because no auto would take us there owing to the long weekend traffic jam. We came back only to have the most delicious coffee and cake at a vegetarian Italian restaurant.
Over the next two days, we'd visit Dalai Lama's monastery and a couple of others around the area, the 200-year-old St. John's Church, a somewhat pungent-smelling Dal lake, the Dharamshala cricket stadium which offered the most stunning view of the Himalayas, have copious amounts of finger-licking food, and almost go for the highly-recommended Triund trek except our guide cancelled on us the last-minute. I managed to do some thrift shopping and catch a fever as well.
When I look back on this little getaway, the reoccurring feeling I have is that of undisputed happiness.
On the personal front, I was getting over a breakup, mourning the death of a puppy who passed away just a week after my brother got her home, after spending the entirety of my savings and a lot of my parents' on an education abroad, I was still at sea about what I wanted to do with my life.
But when I observed the snow-capped mountains looking down on me, I felt less lonely. The quiet hallways of the monasteries echoed a reassurance which would remain unheard in the mundane cacophony of everyday city life. Perhaps, it was nature's way of letting me reconcile with myself. And I couldn't be more grateful.