Welcome to “PARADISE INN” :)

DSC_0112

It was an ideal base camp. The leveled ground is elevated and safe from the flowing river one side and is protected well on the other side by the Alpine vegetation consisting of pines and silver fir. There were no human settlements downstream and has lots of empty space for all other activities. From here, one could see the vast, mirror-flat sheets of snow reflecting the mist peaks of the mountains. Our base camp is well connected with the roads and main center. And there is our “PARADISE INN”! 🙂 🙂

Well, don’t think that the Paradise Inn is a resort on the valley side or a luxurious room in a star hotel. It is our cute little, cozy tent erected just beside the river side. Oh Yeah! Why only a home or a resort should be named, why can’t be a tent which is going to be our home for the next few days? Logic right 😉 It is the most beautiful amongst all the things present there. Here on this beautiful valley of flowers – Yumthang!

DSC_0124

Thank you dear Stan for the wonderful name! Paradise Inn, as the name itself suggests, is truly a paradise, a paradise full of wonderful angelsStanzin2, Gaicham, Asha and Shweta. This small yet beautiful tent truly turned out to be my home with the presence of my sibling-friend Shweta and other dear friends. Though am away from my family, this tent never made me miss them, and justified the saying “Friends and family makes a trip more beautiful”.

DSC_0108

Paradise Inn, though not much big, can accommodate six people easily. And it was quite simple. It has a monstrous mouth 😀 , two ventilators, a pole in the middle which has a 12 watt CFB fixed to it and works only from the evening till the morning. I realized how beautiful this world is, though we are away from our homes, we are not missing our families too much, we are carefree and stress free as there was no beeping phones and complicated gadgets with us. What all we do is just eat, roam around, learn things, enjoy the nature, and spend some quality time with friends. How simple life was all of a sudden! True, life is always simple; it’s only us who makes it complicated.

DSC_0104

After dancing around the camp fire till the time we get exhausted, we had our dinner and retired to bed. Our beds were also simple. It comprised of our ground sheet, carry mat, a blanket and a sleeping bag with the inner. Though the temperature out was somewhere around 2 degrees, we managed to keep ourselves warm by zipping up in our sleeping bags and woolens.

DSC_0110

It was around 12.30 am in the morning when it started to snow. And, we were up the whole night to keep our tent safe by removing off the heavy snow that was accumulating over it. A restless night!

What’s gonna happen next? Just watch!!

 

The Tonglu Tumling Trek

DSC_0920 All set and ready to go. We headed to our major base camp to gain a set of instructions with some food packages to carry along. We received nice gift packs filled with toffees, peanuts and sesame bars. Post waving to the next batch, we boarded the vehicle to Maane Bhanjayang, the place where our trek starts.   I came to know from Neetha that Ruthwik was suffering with back aches owing to bad spine and that he was not going to join us with the trek. Hence a trek with just me and Neetha where we could spend more time to understand each other better and strengthen our friendship. It’s a three hour travel from Darjeeling which took us through the beautiful valleys and mountains. Apart from the serene that I was relishing, I was listening through the talks that Neetha was engaged into.

We reached Maane Bhanjayang and procured a food pack to keep ourselves energized on our way to Tumling. Tumling was our base camp. It was an 11 km trek from Maane Bhanjayang to Tumling. The first day was spent with the gang of friends that I already knew from the time we started when Neetha was getting new acquaintances. I was silent watching Neetha as she indulged well in group discussions when it came to exchanging views and socializing. A chord struck hard – even though I was with my batch and Neetha with hers – I was constantly, unconsciously, watching and noticing her! It might seem silly, but a healthy watch!

It was dusk when we stepped Tumling. Through the uphill I started feeling cramps and sprain on my left knee and consulted the camp leader who suggested a pain killer and stated it should be fine. We had a camp fire that night and kick started with our favorite Antakshari (music game) and slipped into the mime game of Dumb Charades. Neetha knew a vast majority of the old songs and would sing at least a line of it which I owe her credits for.

Back in the tent I let her know of my knee sprain and was uncertain of the next day trek when she pitched in with an inspiring note of “everything would be fine and that I would certainly be able to trek” the trek was from Tumlong to Kalapokhri which is roughly about 10 kms. I started the journey the next day on a positive note and throughout the trek she kept checking on me if everything was alright with my knee. That was one of the first experiences for me, not with the trek, but with someone interested in my well being on a constant note.

My pain started to overtake me than the destination and somehow I managed to push Neetha to go with others since I knew I could be the reason for her delay if she hangs out with me owing to my pain. It got darker and my eyes felt the pinch of the knee. I managed to reach the base camp at Kalapokhri and the camp leader was kind enough to wait for me outside of our accommodation. When the camp leader was asking me of my injury, walked in Neetha to console and comfort me. Every other camp member gathered for the night’s campfire. We headed for dinner and the camp leader asked me to join him in order to learn massage for the knee with an ointment and wrap with a cloth around. Neetha took it as her responsibility that helped me realize – a friend in need is a friend indeed! I did fall asleep in comfort.

Neetha had constantly done the massaging when I fell asleep and I have no clue of how long that continued for which am really thankful, as I am to my own MOM for all the love and affection. Compassion and Empathy filled in Neetha…

 

Neetha – A cool introduction

One of the coldest months across all seasons being December sprinkled the idea (though not a weird one amongst a group of like-minded active sprouts) of Trekking. Oh yes, it’s not the thought of trekking that struck a chord of weirdness but the place of trekking in the coldest month – The Himalayan Terrain (Sandakphu) in the year 2013. Six friends set their foot and respective steps to the base camp and reporting place Darjeeling. A few started from Nagpur and I did from Rajahmundry and the plan was to meet at Kolkata and travel together from there to the base camp.

The date arrived when we realized the entire batch of this trekking effort comprised of 40 enthusiast participants out of which were 10 brave women! The management had allotted a single room for the women fraternity of this trek and it took us by a shock, of course not with any intention of breaking any of the mental manacles thinking of the irony of all of us getting ready at a specified time! As any other pillar to post running Day-1, ours were no lesser as we were asked to procure the medical certificates from Doctors at Darjeeling if we did not take them with us from our homes and also to assemble at 05:30 pm for an induction session.

Base camp Leader’s instructions were ringing deep in our ears that evening along with the list of DO’s and DON’T’s as we trek along. As we hissed through the chiming list that was unrolled, there walked in a young couple, quite delayed to the gathering when the strike was the girl that was so joyful and elated without a slightest of worry evading her for the delay in joining the session. Yes, you have been correct in your guessing that it is my MoIN (Mother India, if you would have ready her introductory article) alias Neetha.

The sparkle caught my eyes and ears once again while we were dining at the ground floor. Yes the same girl that was constantly talking to Ruthwik, her husband, who tried to focus munching, a little too silently in the gang of two! While we were back in our room with the hot chit-chat of the day of a girl and her boyfriend who had stepped in from Bangalore, there was a wave of air when the same girl bubbled in introducing herself and reaching out for ours!

While I had to slip away for a while to chirrup about our new companions to my mom in regional language – Telugu, with an assured heart that none around me shared the same language. Laughing my way out with my mom with Neetha besides and the topic was her! I had an attack between my jaws when I heard Neetha attend one of her calls once I was done in Telugu! I had to admit that there was nothing wrong that was conversed, though with a polite question reached out to Neetha, which received an evil smile in return – evil?..wicked?..cunning?..or just a pretention ?

Watch out!!