So much fun, so much of heat exertion, so much of experience and so much of so many things! Even after eternity has passed, whenever I recall that 9-day-long trip, a smile breaks to my face. I don’t even need to look at my photos and yet all the amazing memories come flashing like a photo album in front of my eyes. Those beautiful sceneries, morning chills, SNOW! Mountains, fun evening exercising activities and unexpected events!
The journey, as always, began with the most tedious task, Whole-day-long-zig-zag-tiring travel time! This time of the trip is always a challenge for me. I, at times, am not good with just sitting around and those feeling of nauseous, just adds to the pain! Although, this time, after learning a lesson from my previous experiences and after making it my goal to enjoy every part of the trip, I took precautions. We played games, listened to music, talked with each other to reduce boredom and I took medicines with me for feeling better. These really helped me a lot! I also took efforts to talk to travelers other than whom I knew and interact with them. I learned so much and I understood how different people’s lives are.
The first day when we arrived at the palace- the place of our stay- we were asked to be in groups of three with whom we would be sharing our room, plus a mentor. At first, I was a little sad and hesitant about it because I had to share my room with people I was not well-versed with and not too comfortable spending time and space with. We had to share the bed, which was a big deal for me because my classmate was a bit persistent about sleeping in between my friend and me. However, these challenges made me learn how to compromise and learn to work in synergy with people and train myself to work in situations that are out of my comfort zone. After all, best growth takes place that is out of one’s comfort zone. Additionally, I was happy that one of my close friends was there to accompany me in the room. After, settling in our rooms we went on a visit to the nearby village and learn a few customs of the town. We also went to see traditional temples that were famous around. Well, due to my views and interest for the temples, I was not particularly excited about it. However, I loved the architectural plan of each of the heritage places. It reminded me of ancient classic monuments, which interested me.
After the trek, I was so tired that I went to our room and slept. By the time I woke up, I got to know that all the people around me were having backaches and pain in their calve muscles. Well after doing my part of being Sherlock, I was just not able to stop myself from laughing! By the end of 5 minutes, my stomach started to hurt because of the way my friends described their amazing yet back aching experience of exercising in the evening that I had missed. Well, at first I felt happy that I was not a part of that backtaking episode but somewhere down the line I felt unfortunate on losing such a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (don’t ask me to pronounce it! Because for all I know Google suggested me this word for what I am typing!! :P) escapade. In short, an amazing experience. After that, I joined everyone for fun games and talks and horror stories!
The next day we went to a village on top of the hill named Rumsu. I was so excited for the day! Well, not just because of the visit to Rumsu but also that I heard that there were chances that our organizers were looking for another room and due to the changes the room that I was staying in would be left with me and my friend. And that was oh so good news for us! We were so excited to look forward to those changes that we both started to dance in the room when no one was around to look at us! We had literary gone crazy! So by the time we went for our breakfast the good for the day had taken place and the room was left for the only both of us to share. We were so elevated by the happiness that we both had cleaned our room, tidy it up and set certain rules for us! So after that, the food that we both had was displayed on a table, the dressing table was set up, the place for our suitcases was set, the place for our foot wares was decided, the bed was cleaned and set, pillows in place bed sheet in order, clothes in rack and all the dirt in the bin! The room looked as if we had just asked for room service to clean our rooms! Well, it was so fun and manageable! I enjoyed… sorry let me correct that! We enjoyed the look of our room and the efforts that we put in that we started to screech and jump again! I seriously think that if someone would have seen us like this they would have sure shot would have thought of sending us to a mental hospital!
After that, we went to Rumsu. I would be lying if I would say that to reach to that village is like cutting a piece of cake! We had to walk up the 2000 stairs to just reach to the village and exploring the village was another account! And at that time I wished that my endurance was 6 feet under the ground, and I should definitely work on my health. At first, it didn’t seem much and thought I could climb without much effort but to my misery, I was proved to be wrong! By the mid of it I was so tired and I had taken so many stops that I didn’t want to continue the ascent and had made my mind that I was alright for me to not climb further and not explore the village, to not fulfil my aim, to wait for everyone to go ahead and wait for them until they return and it was time to descend! However, I decided to be determined and to break out of my comfort zone! After making my mind, being determined and plugging in my earphones, I started again with the stairs and after that, I was one of the few to reach Rumsu first! It felt so good, I felt as if I had reached in heaven. The village was on a hill top, surrounded by mountains covered with snow, air filled with clouds around and gentle chills every now and then! Simply breathtaking! There we learned about their lifestyle, the architecture, their norms and tradition, their current state of education. We also got to know about their view on the current ongoing election in the village for the head. There were a few things the villagers were sharing with us that surprised me and were different than what I believe. Even though I wanted to, you know, correct them but then I also believe that I should never be persistent in changing what people believe until it hampers me. But, the visit was quite insightful! And off course, the sort-off workout that reminded me that I need to work out! ALOT!
After we reached to our rooms we were so tired, ate our lunch and straight away went to the beds and rested! However, today I made sure that I didn’t miss the evening exercise. Although, I did not participate a lot in doing the exercise well, but it was so much fun to see people do it! Instead, I was busy taking a few candid pictures of everyone around and let me tell you they turned out to be fabulous clicks, at least that’s what people that I took photos of said. The exercise was followed by games. I for a fact learned there that I love to play outdoor games with my classmates.
Oh, and how could I ever forget the dinner!!! That dinner! That THE DINNER! Everything was so good and so delicious until I found out what exactly I was eating! I am a girl that does not and I repeat DOES NOT eat non-vegetarian cuisine, that includes eggs as well, or even like to- or feel comfortable- watch a person eat non-vegetarian cuisine and for the first time that day I ate rice mixed with gravy that was made with egg! And as soon as I got to learn about the ingredient to the dish I was chewing, I was about to vomit! I was so much in utter shock! I could not think straight and with that, I just ran leaving my plate aside. Spit all the things that were in my mouth, into the bin! Took a sip of water and cleansed my mouth, so that there are no traits of what just I ate anywhere inside me! I kept my head down so that nobody could see my face and kept walking fast towards my room! Even when someone tried to talk to me I tried to stay calm and pretend as if I was alright and kept walking! After reaching my room and unlocking it, I could take no more and with that feeling of sadness that was filled with so much of guilt inside me- due to my ethics and morals- and my tears started to flow uncontrollably! I was so confused, what to do next and that taste that still lingered on my tongue I rushed to my backpack and brushed till I felt that the taste was no more! The best part about this horror filled ordeal was when all my friends were there to calm me down and make me laugh and make me eat my dinner. That was when I realized that I have a life filled with a treasure box called friendship. Every treasure in it was different and unique with different quality of each but all precious! And I was so happy that I have such a treasure box with me! (Too much clique?! I know, but true!) Finally, by the end of the night I calmed down a bit, and I was looking forward to the next day because I could not live the rest of the night, no more.
The 30th, the day when I would experience snow for the first time in my life! I was so excited! I was trying to avoid few of my classmates because they were constantly pestering me about the events from last night, and were teasing me! We went to the mountain for some adventure, to ski and enjoy other snow activities! We had two stops before we started to ski. The first one at the ski suit shoe (oh boy, that rhymes!). You know that I was wearing five layers every day and after that ski suit it just got 6 layers! I felt like I was a bear and I felt that I had swelled up! The second one was at some shop to get all the equipment. Although, let me tell you that it was so cold and windy out there that my hair where literary flying like they show in the movies, and I so liked that! When we reached to the mountain that had our destiny, we had to slide down the snow to get them. Everything was so fun! We, finally, reached our destination and were divided into groups of 7-8 people. We later were passing our skiing equipments and were enjoying our time. You know when skiing, at first it is like you are left to walk with your feet dipped in oil! You can’t just get your feet into control even on a flat surface with soft snow! So, by the time everyone else was skiing, I started a snow fight with one of my friends, after which another one joined and later we were literary one team versus another. I thought I was in a movie scene and everyone around acted fun because let me give you a reality check, the snow hits really very hard! After ski, we all left for some other snow adventure. Our next stop was at some amusement park kind of place where all the rides were related to snow! So one of the rides that we went to was two people sitting in a truck size tire tube and then that tier was dropped from a really high height!
After the whole day, we went to the palace back! The rest of the evening was the same but until= the dinner. I was so cautious of what I am putting on my plate. The best part about the dinner was that there was a dish called paneer chilly, and let me tell you I a big fan of cottage cheese. So when I went to take it another time, reality hit me again and this time far worse than yesterday! I was eating chicken chilly. (Oh boy!) At that time, saying that I was in shock was an understatement. It seemed that I had gone into a trauma! I started to laugh! And after a moment I was crying and then again laughing and the episode continued until I was crying and laughing together! (Well, who say you can’t do both together?!) I was laughing on my destiny and I was crying for my destiny! Isn’t it ironic! (Tell me!) And with this, you should have seen my friends look at me! They defiantly thought that I had gone crazy! At least what they did next proved it to me. One of them took away my plate from my eye-sight! The second one made me sit and the third one got me some water and asked me to drink it! And the fourth one was just asking me to calm down and get my mental state back to its equilibrium! After a few minutes, my roomy took me to my room and was constantly debating with me that it was alright and the night won’t give me more shocks! She offered me some chocolates that I gladly took it! It gave me some relief until I realized that the chocolate that was offered to me contained non-vegetarian substance! This just made me go back to the traumatic stage I was in earlier!
This time I was so not looking for the next day, even if it was the New Year! Because a next day would mean that I was enjoying the first half of the day and then there would be ‘The dinner’! After 11:30 everyone one of us gathered around in the lobby and waited to celebrate the New Year with our friends and classmates. For fun, we danced and had a sort of DJ. However, the best was the next. We got to see one of the New Year traditions of the village. The palace had a temple that the villagers thought highly of and came first to visit when doing anything new or good. So we got to see the tribal dance and sayings! After the celebration, we went back to our rooms to get sleep for the next day. However, after the recent events I didn’t want to see the next day and due to my luck, the next day came too soon for my liking!
The morning of the New Year, the day was also quite adventurous; we went for the ATV rides. Although due to that all my clothes that I was wearing got muddy. Then we went to the hot springs at Vashishth. The water there was so hotly warm like someone had taken efforts to keep it boiling for like an eternity. For lunch, we got ourselves a treat in Manali. The treat was so delicious that I would love to get treats like that every single day for the rest of my life! For the evening, we went to a local market. That day it was especially too crowded because of the festival that was coming around. It was so much fun. Every one of us were given a time of about an hour and we were allowed to roam freely in the whole market and be good eco-tourists. For a fact, I really don’t like when a shopkeeper is charging unexpectedly high amount just because they think we our tourist and won’t know about the fee and will be okay with it and won’t bargain. So, when my friend was busy buying at the rates she thinks is alright to pay, I was stopping her and bargained with the shop keeper for a better price! And the worst part about it was after me helping my friend by getting her stuff in fewer rates, she gave me looks for doing so because she believed that it was unethical. So we went back to each of the shops again and paid them the rest of the bargained price. I still doubt her definition for ethical, though.
One of our friends had her birthday on the last day of the trip! So, we took efforts to get her some cake and celebrate with her. And I made sure that the cake tasted good because I was so not willing to eat dinner at that place anymore! The next morning was a small trip to a temple which survived one of the most deadly earthquakes. The temple was quite interesting because there we got to listen to many love stories of our mentors and adults guiding us for the trip. After the visit to the temple, it was time for us to go back! And even though there were many unfortunate events that took place, I didn’t want to leave the place!