28-Jun-2007

HKD 1 - In the beginning

Statutory warning: The story of my trek in the Himalayas is going to be long and dealt with in loving detail.
‘Director Mani Ratnam’s brother dies as he falls into a gorge in Manali when trekking’ the headlines on Sun TV blared. My mom did not look too perturbed but I could make out from my dad’s restless pacing that he had already included this in the long list of things that could lead to a sticky end for me. Since he chose to not express his worries, I ate up the last of my porridge quietly, harbouring thoughts very similar to my dad’s. Will I actually come to a sticky end?

It all began last year when a couple of friends decided to do a high altitude trek through Arunachal Pradesh. I was too chicken to go then but for nearly a year I kept mulling over whether I was a trekker at heart or not. With my thirtieth birthday approaching, I finally decided it had to be this year. Before I became too decrepit, old and confined to a wheelchair. My sister did point out that the likelihood of this happening at the stroke of midnight was a little low. I still decided to would like to start serious trekking in my 20s.

Thus came the question of how does one decide where to go, when to go, who to go with and how long to go. The when to go was the simplest to settle. My boss decided it for me when he told me I could take time off in June. This narrowed down the scope of where to go. It would begin raining in Sikkim and Northeast in June. So Uttaranchal and Himachal would have the best weather. A little surfing later, couple of places in Uttaranchal sounded nice and I shot off mails to various trekking outfits.

People had already warned me that this is not the kind of holiday where I would be able to find company in my own friend’s circle. High altitude treks as a matter of fact draw more admiring glances and envious stares than actual consents to be a part of the team. Luckily PB agreed to come along and with more courage I began to finalise a group to go with.

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