The descent to Kedarnath

I never really wanted to write this story mostly because the events of this story is bad in some ways.  But it made me a little more than I was before that. Thus I decided to write it down.

Ghuttu

Ghuttu

There were five of us, started from Ghuttu, a village in Garwhal himalayas we crossed rivers and hiked along barely visible trails to make our way to Mayali Pass. Mayali pass quite high, enough to make to feel the lightness of air and absence of oxygen. The part which troubles me most about this altitude is that you can never really get a good sleep and rest. I found myself jerking off from sleep to get a good breath at night. At this altitude the most common sickness you get is “altitude sickness”, symptoms include dizzness, nausea, reduced brain functioning etc. and the worst, HAPE (High altitude pulmonary edema, fluids gets into your lungs and you die).

The camp near, few kilometers away from Vasuki Taal

The camp few kilometers away from Basuki Taal. Photo courtesy Dibyendu Seal or Mrinmoy Sarkar (don’t rememer clearly)

View from tent, Basuki Taal camp site

View from tent, Basuki Taal camp site

It was all going great, we crossed Mayali pass with flying colors and camped a few kilometers before Basuki Taal, after which we would have to cross a few ridges and get to Kedar Nath (the end of our journey). The day we were about to descent to Kedar Nath, one of our team members started feeling sick. He couldn’t walk, he was feeling dizzy and tipsy. So the most nimble member of our team was sent to get some help from the porters, who were already ahead and pushing fast to KedarNath. Rest of us decided to stay back with the unwell.

Basuki Taal at a distance. Behind those ridges lies Kedarnath.

Basuki Taal at a distance. Behind those ridges lies Kedarnath.

Moments laters, as we looked at the Lake, a few kilometers ahead. Suspecting that it might be difficult for the nimble guy tp get help alone, I was sent to help the other guy. I started alone, leaving behind our guide with the rest of the team, trying to find my way to the lake. I wanted to go fast, so that we can rescue the sick member faster, and that led to bad navigaton from my part. I had to re-route my way mutliple times until I got to Basukitaal. When I reached Basukitaal, the nimble guy shouted at me from the other side of the lake. He said the porters have already left the lake and crossed the ridge, which I already suspected. I shouted back at him, asked him to follow the trail and catch up.

The bad part about these ridges is that you never know what comes next, and as fas as I knew, if I could cross the ridge after the lake, I would find the final descent to Kedarnath. I was wrong. I started circum-navigate the lake, walking over rocks with the sound of water trickling under them. I reached the trail at the other side of the lake and started walking up. I found the other nimble guy sitting. He said he was hungry, I had some biscuits with me. We didn’t have water with us. We usually filled our bottles from waterfalls and small streams, but in the urgency of the moment we both forgot to fill bottles. Eating all those biscuits was a bad decision, our throats got parched. Without water, we started to walk. The nimble guy was quite tired, so was I.

After going up for a while, closing in to the ridges I found some patches of snow here and there. I decided to eat snow to quench my thirst, so did the other guy. One should never do that.

Now there were two of us, going up slowly. After we cross the first ridge, to my horror there were a lot of trails going here and there with no clear path to Kedarnath. My friend decided to take a trail which he though could be the shortest path to Kedarnath and I was finding another trail more promising. We split up.

The trails were broken by rocklines, which were hardest to navigate. I pushed on, almost in empty brain. I could see the magnificent 360 degree view of Garwhal. I didn’t want to stop to get photographs, I had to get help from Kedarnath. Now Mrinmoy Da gone the other way, I was alone on the trail to Kedarnath.

They say there is no first sight of Kedarnath, there is first sound of Kedarnath. You can hear the bells of Kedarnath, ringing and permeating the valleys. I wanted to hear that sound. Crossing over rocks, slipping, doubting the trail at times, I finally found a well laden trail, and after walking a few yards, I looked down the hill and saw a town, with helicopters. I stopped, I could hear the helicopter engine, I could also hear the bells. I had doubts because the guide told that a trail from those ridges can also lead to Rudraprayag; I didn’t know for sure if the town far below me was Kedarnath. I could still get help. I took a deep breath and cried for a moment while the sound of the breeze mingled with the distant bells.

Kedarnath in background. This was taken moments after me and Mrinmoy Da was were re-united. Photo courtesy Mrinmoy Sarkar

Kedarnath in background. This was taken after me and Mrinmoy Da were re-united. Photo courtesy Mrinmoy Sarkar

I started walking down the nice rock laden way toward the supposedly Kedarnath. Black clouds started appearing to my left, with light drizzles. I found two hikers on my way down, and I asked them if the town below is Kedarnath and they said I was right. Relieved, I kept on walking. My jacket zipper was broken, and the rainrops were getting bigger, and I feared I might catch cold.

Hearing some sound from behind me, I looked back and saw Mrinmoy Da, walking fast torwards me. It was a moment of joy. I was glad that I was right and I was amazed my his stamina, as he walked down the wrong trail, walked back up and caught up with me. Now we were two again, still with no water, we pushed on. Mrinmoy Da complained about his cramping legs, I kept on saying ‘just a little more’. It was definitely not a ‘little’ more.

Now the hill was very comfortable for us, even there was a rock laden footroad for us, we broke up and went down the way we felt comfortable in, to get there fast and get help. We found nice stream, we drank water, quenched our long deprived thirst from it’s misery, felt like a new man and started off. The rain was heavy by then, and Mrinmoy Da put his poncho on. I kept running on open jacket.

We reached Kedarnath at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we started from campsite at 8 o’clock. We found our porters there, I asked for help. They got some guys who gets people on ‘Duli’s and carries them. We figured they might be able to carry the sick guy down to Kedarnath and we sent them off. I wanted to go with them, but Mrinmoy Da said they would walk fast and as I was tired as hell, I might fall sick too. We went to a hotel, and I found a big 1 inch blister on my right foot.

Kedarnath

Kedarnath

One of our team members, our leader came an hour after we came down. He said the guide is with the other guy and the unwell member. They are coming in slow and he also met the people who we sent to get them down safely. We waited, till 11 o’clock at night. They came to Kedarnath.

I spent that night at Kedarnath hospital, looking over Nilu Kaku. He is very strong, I knew he would be alright the next morning.

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The Last Cigarette

It’s been a while I have been trying to smoke my last cigarette. The transition is slower than I thought but I will eventually do it. I will eventually break whatever my smoking habit I have left within.

But the purpose of the last cigarette was remarkable for me. My last cigarette was a celebration of the a silver lining, celebration of a hope. A hope of having a soothed heart and inspiring challenges that will push me to be a better man. As it turns out, inspiring challenges doesn’t really do well with a soothed & calm heart. At least not now. I do hope it turns out as like Alex Honnold stays completely at peace with the universe when he climbs bare rocks with only his chalk-bag and his climbing shoe. He says if you are getting a rush, that means something went terribly wrong.

What this is all about you may as well ask. My heart needs another one.

“And I’ve felt this emptiness before/ But all the times that I’ve been broken/ I still run right back for more” – Learn My Lesson, Daughtry

Okay, I will just cut the crap. I want a girlfriend, otherwise I cannot handle this “falling in love” anymore. It’s been few times I have crashed. At time I feel like Santiago (read Alchemist), who never gives up faith. Maybe because I have pessimistic components inside me that works like this, or I am just a joke of genetic shuffles and randomness, I simply don’t seem to learn my lesson. I seem to have everything in place, and still then I don’t learn and I don’t get the soothing calmness in my heart. I keep falling in love over and over again and as per the past, it never went well.

“Tonight the sunset means so much/ The one thing that you know you’ll never touch/ Like the feeling, the real thing/ I reach out for that sweet dream/ But somehow the darkness wakes me up” – Learn My Lesson, Daughtry

Sure it is painful and sometimes I really feel like “Why the f**k I don’t learn?”. But then again that doesn’t make me learn or that doesn’t soothe my hear. Though that doesn’t really satisfies my need of silver lining for the last cigarette.

I believe the woman I  have fallen in love with will be my girlfriend pretty soon and after that I won’t need a f**king cigarette or a glass of vodka to drug me out of reality…

I have been believing this for a few years, since my first days at college, and sure it never went well, so obviously I have doubts on my beliefs, doubts on my own silver lining. But this is keeping me walking and I am pretty sure when I will have lost everything along the way I will be free, free to do anything. Or I might stumble upon some golden rock.

But in a way I playing my LIFE in legendary mode. Maybe this is my challenge, my path to salvation, my way of being awesome. Not all people will see awesomeness in sorrow, but I think I do. So my last cigarette goes to my awesome  & sad & (really happy at times) life.

Acute Soul Sickness

Acute Soul Sickness. I got this word from the game SuperBrothers – Sword and Sorcery. The game is superb. But that is not exactly the reason why I am writing this post.

This post is about the Sickness. I think I found the exact word for my sickness. It’s a acute soul sickness. As a matter of fact, this may sound uncommon, but it’s actually a pretty common sickness these days. I see a lot of people having a soul sickness. It’s not acute for most of them, but there are acute cases too, relatively rare.

The answer to the question “what is soul sickness?” or “what are the symptoms of soul sickness?” is probably self explanatory, so I will just skip that part. Lets, umm, talk about my sickness. We will start by reflecting on my life. I am a web-developer. I write code, wrangle code and try to be poetic about writing code all the time. Being poetic about code, I will write it somewhere else sometimes. I do travel, I like to travel, I like outdoors and I also like to photograph stuff. Other than that I have a tendency to be logical and rational and traditionally scientific about almost everything. And I also indulge drawing and reading etc. I do have a expansive set of reading, mostly non-fiction, which helps my tendency to be geeky at times. Other than that I a lot of stuff that gives me pleasure. My problem is I don’t have a girlfriend. I lost the shyness in talking fresh and straight a while ago. So I admit pretty easily I am tremendously frustrated regarding the romantic side of my life, which is stale and empty and always have a imaginary character involved. I also admit if I were a 100% pure outdoors person, I might not be as frustrated as I am now.

After reading the previous passage I think you have an idea of me as a person. Now I am going tell you how I am dealing with this problem and how I came to the solution. First of all, there are no solutions. I just live with it, but the thing that is worth mentioning is that I simply accepted it. Irony was that I had to pretend that I am cool in hope that someone might turn up and accept me (I am talking about a girlfriend). And then through pretending I realized something a while back. Something stark hit me while recollecting some conversations with some of my friends, acquaintances etc. A lot of people after going through some relationship hitches change themselves deliberately or keeps trying to change themselves to someone who doesn’t really care about being with a person of opposite sex. The thing that hit me was “Why give up hope?”. I think I have the best solution for my sickness. The very best ever. It’s a matter of choice, regarding how you choose to live your life.

My solution:

I simply keep up my hopes, and I keep falling in love, I be optimistic, I do stupid things. Sure it’s somewhat painful sometimes, but I am pretty sure I will be able to love a woman one day. That’s one-of-a-kind bad-ass if you ask me! 🙂

Story of the dumbass

Before you start reading I must say that this story has no resolution. It’s full of dumbasstic moments of misguided overly concentrated apparently grand acts of faith and fickleness.

Our hero A, the dumbass, is single, awesome and brimming brilliantly with Love. He used to think he could make a girl believe that she is the luckiest girl alive.

Our princess, B is an extraordinarily awesome girl, strong, confident, smart, brilliant. B met A and A fell in Love, like a few times before. And A thought B likes him too. And that starts the great moments of fondness, exaggerated by As Love for B.

This angel, C, is also an awesome girl. Fun loving, happy, smiling angel. A felt this inordinate fondness for C since they met. A is bad at expressing and socializing, so according to him it never went up. After the great episode of fondness with B and A began, the angel stopped flying and A felt he could make her fly again, and his fondness for C turned to Love. At that time A became more awesome and being faithful to the concepts of Love, he tried to grab the angels’ hand and tried to tell her that he loves her; only horribly A came to know she never did stop flying and she cannot help him fly.

In great sadness and despair A went to B to tell him all about the events he experienced with C, expecting that B would understand his faith towards honesty and take him back, forgiving his infidelity. The dumbasses’ expressions run wild while he failed to express his Love for B. B went away only to meet A at dire times when when A is about to break. Bs whisper calms A like nothing else, yet B goes away everytime. A started to think if B really couldn’t forgive his infidelity; With whole big black veil of guilt he wrapped his heart.

Like a desert creature wait for a little rain under the unforgiving sun, A started to wait for those little rare flashes of B that supplies A little sips of fuel to live on.

My Mess

Right now I am trying to let it out, by crying the hell out of me. I notice I cannot even cry like I used to.

Self respect, according to common notion I don’t have any. A fickle heart is what I have, and it feels like a curse. A fussy collection of principles is what I am made of. It would be wrong if I say I am good for nothing, no-one, nobody and not even for neverland, but tonight I believe I am. If I had all these a thoughts few hours ago, I would say to myself ‘I can do this this and this; LIKE A BOSS’. But not now, not tonight; I snapped tonight, like many other nights before. But today I snapped in the wake of this horrible realization. I am not crazy for anyone, I am not crazy for anything, any goal, any objective. I am just sad for everything, everyone. I am not obsessed with anything, I am just sad that I cannot attain anything. Perhaps I couldn’t hide it to my conscience anymore that I truly am a horribly miserable joke of genetic shuffles and randomness and the worst part of this, I cannot change it. Whenever I snap I think I will change, but in this circle I come back to where I started. ‘Don’t pray for eaiser life, pray for strength to endure a harder one’. Some lucky bloke said this. I am not like this bloke. Right now I am scared that I have to live like for the rest of my life. Shall I wait for a miracle? Or shall I keep up my over ambitious dreams and live on? Or shall I end my life?

Wait a min…

If I am a worthless meat ball consuming resources from this beautiful arc hovering in space, undeserving and incapable of sweet things such as love, success, happiness; How the hell did I become this big? How for the f**ck’s sake in my 22 years of existence I didn’t get to stay hungry for one single day? How did I even end up living with everything that’s needed to live? And how the f**k I get to hang out with other awesome human beings? And how did I even walk on this fearless planet with a sense of adevnture in my veins? HOW? It’s my parents, my friends, my masters, my bros. It is my life, my messy life, my relentlessly epic life. And you are damn right I am not giving up on my life! And being crazy? Yeah, it’s never too late.

Suggestions…

Suggestions are a very good thing. It makes you feel comfortable with a confusion. They can persuade you to embrace ideas that you never knew existed in your mind. Suggestions sometimes make you think the other way round. And sometimes suggestions can make you a complete dumbass. If you asked my few days ago how I do take suggestions, I would probably say, I am open to all suggestions. Now I would definitely prefer to hear and analyze the whole suggestion before I wrap my head around it.

After taking the a suggestion few days ago, I realized expressions are not always meant to do what they are originally meant for. The original suggestion was in the form, ‘Let go, stop trying’. I didn’t only let go, I let the person suggesting compose my expressions for me. You should never let someone else talk for you heart, you should let go of your heart yourself. I made a mistake!

It felt real good when she replied, she poked back. It’s not like that anymore. It’s a guilt for not expressing what I actually meant and I cannot do anything to fix it. It’s only been a few days without an exchange and I feel wrecked. I wish I was stronger than this. I don’t like regrets, I try not to wish that I didn’t do what I did.

I have faith in time, in life and in people who come in my life. And the only one thing I can do is hope everything will be alright. Till then I will keep listening to songs, keep my head down, take the loss, and dream impossible dreams, keep high hopes to make myself walk on.

Keeping memories

There are characters that we want to keep close. They sometimes inspire us, they sometimes show us light when everything us dark and sometimes we just want to share our happiness with them. Reality is we cannot always keep them as close to our lives as we want and in those times, we keep memories. And the special part associated with keeping memories is the way we usually keep memories.

We keeps things, materials associated with their and our lives to keep our memories rejuvenate from time to time. We talk to the memories when we are alone, when we are sad, when we are in dark.

I did some crazy things to keep memories. Keeping photos was a cliche to me.

Reprinting a painting

Once I scanned a painting of a Alexey Maresyev and another man (I don’t remember the name) from a edition of Story of a Real Man by Boris Polevoi and printed it just to keep them with me. I didn’t have a cellphone then. I was 15 then. I was truly a mess. And I yearned the courage Alexey had and dreamed of doing great things, like him. Let me tell you what he did. He was a Soviet fighter pilot. After his plane crashed, he crawled through the wild for 18 days to be picked up by local villagers and in the end his legs were amputated. He doggedly trained himself to fly with stumps. The other guy inspired Alexei to fly again no-matter-what. This print was with me for many days but I did lose it eventually. I still do think about Alexei but now I am more capable of fueling myself. 🙂

Keeping a bunch of papers from a notebook

She was my big crush, first technically complete love and eventually in time she left me. I yearned for her return pretty badly and kept stuff associated with her. Among many attempts to keep memories of her, this was weird. I kept some her notebook pages. She has a nice handwriting by-the-way. I kept those, looked at those at times and thought about the time we spent together. Nice way to keep memories. 😛 I dont’ have those anymore (MOVING ON!).

Keeping an autograph on a notebook

I met a girl. She is awesome. She is nice, calm, sweet and AWESOME! I didn’t had the chance to get some photos of her, so what did I do? I kept a signature of her. She showed it to me and I thought, ‘Wow! This is a nice signature!’. I asked her to do it again on my notebook, and I kept my notebook. I made things with that signature, but I kept it with me. I took the notebook wherever I went. And sometimes opened it up to check the signature. The lines that went into the details of the signature. The general form of it. The signature was there with me until I had to leave the notebook at a place in an errand. I am sure I will get it back again, I just don’t know when.

And now…

Now it seems all these weird things happened because I didn’t have a better way to keep memories. I didn’t have photos, I didn’t have videos, I didn’t have recorded voices. And I realized this when I saw a beautiful photo of the beautiful Girl I mentioned earlier (The signature girl). What did I do? I downloaded and kept the photo of her in my phone. For the first time ever I actually am keeping a photo of a girl I love in my phone! Previously I thought keeping a girl in my heart was enough but the photo is actually reminding vividly and I love it that way!

My conclusion

My conclusion is, cliche or no-cliche, keep memories the way you want, they are as good as your dreams are. They are a significant part of all-you-got.