Read the first part of my journey here
In McLeodganj, I got to meet this person who I knew through Instagram. He guided me to places he told me “where you can find yourself”. As suggested by him, one early morning, I went hiking to Bal village. I walked up to Dharamkot, had tea and asked the way to Naddi village. The guy told me to go on the road behind and I went not knowing that I was in the opposite direction. A villager passing by told me I can take a trail below which will lead right up to the village.
It was a narrow trail going through the forest where I found few monkeys and a stray cow almost blocking my path. I walked along remembering our trek in Uttarakhand. The forests we had passed through and the conversations we had had and not had. I sang Green Day’s “I walk a lonely road” aloud. Suddenly, a branch brushed my cheek and immediately my eyes were brimming with tears. Not because it hurt me outside but it hurt me on the inside. It felt like my sh’s pokey growing beard. I pushed it away just like I would do to my sh “It pokes sh!”
The trail ended in a school where I met a small school kid who reached until my hip. She had some band-aid on her face. I asked her how she got it and she said she doesn’t know. Either she didn’t get me, or I didn’t get her or we both got it right!
I reached Dal lake from where a dog started following me. I assumed it’s because of the fragrance of butter toast in my pocket. We walked on asking my way to Bal village. I felt a responsibility towards Ballu as I started calling her. Protecting her from other dogs, allowing her to befriend some friendly ones. When I asked for the way one last time, a lady asked me why am going alone. I told her am not alone and Ballu is with me.
We walked and walked and by then I knew Ballu would come with me until the end. We saw the mountains together, watched the stream from above, crossed the bridge and reached the stream. Ballu happily rolled on some mat spread on the bank. We cooled our feet in the cold water, sharing my butter toast and slept on the stone together. After a point, since the stone was slightly slippery and she didn’t find her grip, she pushed me aside, made me sit and rested herself against my back!
My heart had found its smile and we stayed with the stones for a long time. When I was satisfied and ready to go back, I found that I could go another way and take a bus from there. But I didn’t want to leave behind my Ballu and wanted to drop her back to where she came. So we went back our path and parted ways at Dal lake.
After that, I managed to lose my way again, this time behind the same school. The kids told me that I needed to go up and right to find my way. I had to go up on my 4 limbs as there was no proper trail. I was behind some houses where dogs were continuously barking at me. As I climbed up and reached the top, two dogs and a cute little puppy came barking at me. As I stood there when they approached me, I told them that I was lost. They stopped barking as if they understood me and started walking in some direction. I just followed them instead of taking some paths which looked familiar or right. They led me to the point where the path would go to Dharamkot and went back to their homes.
On other days, I went on random paths in Mcleodganj or sometimes sat for hours together on a lookout bench near Illiterati. I was used to this place. Working, eating and crying. On the last day, it dawned on me – my sh’s dreams and what I needed to do. I wasn’t surer of what I had to do as I sat that morning in a cafe near where I stayed and watched the mountains. I promised the mountains that I would fulfil my sh’s dreams and come back someday.
That day, I was able to talk to people, laugh with them, open up to them and just be. I finally spoke to this intriguing girl Raashi. Listened in awe about the conversation of compassion between Raashi and Dorjee (from Illiterati). She came like a fairy and disappeared like one. I went on my usual evening walk on some random path and finally found silence. Although there was a conversation in my head, it was no longer that chatter which I wanted to shut up. Later, I met this inspiring lady, Neha, from the Air Force who had such a positive outlook towards life that I was floored! A true example of “Optimism in adversity”.
With a new bud ready to blossom in me, I bid goodbye to the wonderful people in Illiterati who in their own ways had planted a hope in me. I left a tiny piece of my heart in McLeodGanj and I will always remember how I felt here.
As I look outside the window, flying through the clouds while writing this, I can only feel gratitude in my heart – as vast as the sky. Towards all the loved ones in my life: through their prayers and wishes, through their comments on my posts, direct messages and indirect ones. Life is cruel but I have all the angels with me to make it better than it is and am so thankful for all that I have. I am the most thankful to my sh for all that he has given me and shaped me into. Love you sh, I always will. Hugging you tightly in my heart and never letting go of you and your dreams! “Cool no sh you are, MY sh!” I hear you say…