What comes to your mind when you read this title?
Let me guess:
An expensive watch?
Maybe a golden ring?
A trekking gear?
None of the above.
As we grow up and get into the regularity of lifestyle and work, we face a lot of conflicts, confrontations, and changes. Not all the changes are toxic and harmful. Some are healthy, and they teach us how to move ahead. In the journey of life, when we grow old, we lose some basic emotions like innocence, an old habit, or even a hobby. Sometimes, when we least expect it, these lost emotions come back to us when we go to new places and meet new people. Especially when we come in contact with the purity of nature, they do not just resurface; they stay and again become a part of our new lifestyle. In this story, I will take you all through some episodes that occurred during the Bhrigu Lake trek. The experiences helped me find the emotions and feelings I had lost in the past.
1) Found my lost confidence
Working in the trekking industry means meeting a lot of interesting people. The trek leaders of Bikat Adventures are one of the most versatile individuals I have met in my life. I stay with them at a hostel. I travel with them and sincerely observe them. They are an uncommon breed that thrives in extreme conditions. A trek leader is not just a simple tour guide. Starting from logistics to a participant's life, he or she takes care of everything. Here in the mountains, nothing is child's play. What we experience are the comfortable camps and fun games they take us through. But imagine the amount of effort that goes into a trek leaders' day. It's complicated and tougher than a game of chess. They are physically strong to carry a person for several kilometers, mentally alert to make quick decisions, and humble to entertain the crowd. Though I have been on many Himalayan treks before, I can never step into the shoes of a trek leader. If I recollect my experience from school, I took care of small teams for annual days and excursions. But when I entered corporate life, I could lead and manage people indoors. When it came to outdoor activities like office outbound trips, travel plans, and excursions, I stepped back and let others take the lead. I guess I had lost my confidence there. But this thought changed during the Bhrigu Lake trek.
It happened last year in August. Around 7 participants, the local guide, me, and the trek leader assembled at Manali bus terminus around 9 AM. The trek leader made a headcount and figured one of the participants hadn't reached yet. When we called and enquired with the participant, he said that the bus route got blocked because of some local issue and he was taking a cab directly to the base camp. The ideal option for us was to move ahead and wait at the lunch point on the trails of the Bhrigu Lake trek. We all reached Gulaba, the basecamp, and started trekking towards a vast meadow. Everything was going great for the first 2 kilometers. The guide led the way, and the trek leader and I were at the back. Suddenly, the electronic walkie talkie buzzed like an alarm. The silence which prevailed for 2 km broke. One of our staff who waited for the last participant said that he reached before the expected time. The staff had to catch up with the kitchen crew, and the trek leader had to go back to bring the last participant. That's when the leader said,
Leader – “Ashwin Bhai (Bro), I think you have to take care of the people in the back for ten minutes.”
Leader – “The trail is easy; I will run and come back in 10 minutes.”
“But, 2 km up and down in 10 minutes?”
Leader – “Yes.”
“But what if they ask me something?”
Leader – “Chill, bro!”
He ran down within an instant. Sweats of tension were trickling down my forehead. One of the participants in the back stopped walking, and I thought she was waiting to take rest. She turned back, smiled, and sat down. It was her first Himalayan trek.
Lady – “I cannot move ahead. Can I go back?”
Lady – “My bag is heavy.”
“Let me check.”
It had 2 kg of unwanted food, 3 liters of extra beverages, and 3 kg of unwanted clothes for profile pictures. I didn't know how to react to her. I flipped my bag, wore it on the front, lifted her bag, wore it on my back, and started moving ahead. Gradually her breath became normal. I had to continuously motivate her to maintain a rhythm. After 15 minutes, we reached the lunch point. Surprisingly a hand from behind patted my back. Though the trek leader came before 10 minutes, he stood behind and observed me. He said I not only carried around 40 kg for a stretch of 1 km, but I also took care of a beginner. What I did was just a tiny thing. Anyone could have done it. But, the words of appreciation from a trek leader made me feel really good. I believe that one day if I practice well, I can even try to assist a trek leader. If anything happens on the field in the future, I won't step back. I have the confidence to face it.
2) Found my lost hobby for counting clouds
When I was around 6 years old, I lived on the outskirts of Trichy, an ancient temple town in Tamil Nadu. Every day, after school, a buddy named Praveen would barge into my home after 4 pm. We took all our toys, action figures, and snacks to the terrace and played for hours together. After getting tired, we lay down and had a competition. It was about who could find the maximum number of clouds in the sky and guess their shape. Praveen was slowest in counting. I was terrible at guessing. Needless to say, our little competition always ended in a draw. This habit of counting and guessing the clouds was a naïve childhood game for me. It never happened again until I met a couple of youngsters in their early 20s at Rola Kholi campsite, Bhrigu Lake trek. On the second day of the trek, after visiting the sacred Bhrigu Lake, we came back to the Rola Kholi campsite around 3 PM and settled down to rest. I saw 3 participants in our group lying down and laughing out loud near the dining tent. First, I hesitated to go and check. I didn't want to disturb their vibe. However, I was curious about the commotion. Suddenly, one of the guys stood up, pulled me to their space, and said – “Bhaiya, let's count the clouds and guess their shape.”
I pulled my arm away and thought, should I maintain my calm and walk away?
They insisted I join them. I slowly sat down, stretched my legs, and played with them. It turns out that I was still bad at guessing. We laughed from our hearts and had the best time of our life. I found my lost hobby and childlike innocence because of these youngsters. I wonder how my childhood friend Praveen would react if I shared this information with him? Will he join me again at this age?
After the trek, once in a while, I make it a point to go to the terrace, listen to some good music and enjoy my time with the carefree clouds. They drift around without any worry and go wherever the wind takes them. I believe my feeling for them could be called cloud envy.
3) Found my belief for wishes
All I wished for was a single shooting star. Before coming on this trek, I had been to several hills, mountains, beaches, and exotic places with grand skyscapes to witness one simple shooting star. Be it a terrace party, college reunion, or any casual gathering, there will always be one person who would suddenly bring the topic out of nowhere and show off how many wishes he made and how many stars he saw in the night. I used to hate them. Though the Brahmatal Trek showed me a glimpse of a neon white light, another character from the group mocked me saying that it was a zero-watts bulb from a village. After that, I honestly gave up on the idea of spotting a shooting star and making a wish.
I don't know why; all the philosophies of life are so weird and work in reverse. When I was running behind something, that something never showed up. When I gave up and forgot about that thing, it appeared before me and surprised me. On the second night of the Bhrigu Lake trek, I came out of the dining tent and witnessed a fraction of the Milky Way from the Rola Kholi campsite. Not one, not 2 - I saw more than 5 shooting stars within 10 minutes. I had a complete feeling of satisfaction and realized an important fact that day. There are a few elements in the world that we cannot control. What we wish for will definitely happen someday, and I believe the universe will deliver it to us at the right time. From that day, I started to believe in wishes and wished for more miracles to happen in my life.
4) Found my inner silence
Our human mind never stops working. Without any break, it continuously tries to understand what we feel through our senses and process it in our mind’s space. It is always alert to observe the surroundings, adapt and improve. Our mind absorbs a single word we hear or an image we see, the idea behind the imagery or word is interpreted in several ways, and the actual meaning is deciphered quickly. It's complex and advanced at the same time. How did sage Bhrigu focus and achieve mental silence, I wondered?
Well, I sat down, closed my eyes, and tried to shut my mind from other influences. Maybe because of the ambiance or the energy around me, within a few seconds, my mind's lips were sealed, and all heavy emotions started to dilute. An uninterrupted silence filled my heart. After some time, I could feel my entire body melting away and mixing in the lake. The trek leader tapped my shoulder and brought me back to reality. I know I was neither asleep nor in a trance. I was experiencing silence. Though this experience was newly found, I could feel a sense of familiarity here. I believe that we all have some cosmic or spiritual energy within us. Over the years, we have lost the ability to control it. Sacred places like Bhrigu Lake might be a key to unlocking our hidden potential.
5) Found the courage for acceptance
This last episode, which I will narrate, is the simplest and most effective realization of the entire trip. On the third day of the trek, we started to descend towards Gulaba. The exciting thing about the descent is the view. In a specific range, the first person can see the last one coming from above, and the last one can see the first one descending down. As usual, I tagged along with the leader to walk slowly and enjoy the surrounding of Bhrigu Lake for one last time. When I witnessed our group walking ahead, a new perspective hit me. There were different people from different age groups. Everyone looked different, walked differently, spoke differently, and even had different tastes in life. But the trail they walked on brought them on the same platform to reach a single destination. I let out a subtle smile and understood the ultimate fact that nothing mattered except the journey. The elements we see are just small things that distinguish us from others. We have to accept ourselves first and move ahead.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank the mystic Bhrigu Lake for conducting a crash course to find my lost emotions and feelings. Be it physical or mental, for all confusion; I believe nature is the perfect solution. But, on a serious note, take care of your material stuff. There is no actual lost and found department here. A magical monsoon treat awaits your arrival on the trail of the Bhrigu Lake trek.