A weekend is a good way to relieve all the stress and also enjoy the day after a hectic working week; therefore an early weekend even better.That is what we did.
That is what we did.
Wednesday, that is, April 4, 2012, my school was destined to open which it did. When returned home, I found the house in kooda, all the things scattered everywhere, which is really unusual as my mother is a cleanliness freak, and I am usually in a habit of seeing a clean home after returning from school. When I asked my folks on what was happening, they told me, ” We are going to Rishikesh, for some refreshment.”
Which, I realized some time later, would mean me taking a holiday on the second day of a new session of my school; Thursday and Friday being a holiday for some festival.
So next day, we were all ready, fully packed for our trip. Alas, as soon as we sat into the car, we gotta know that it was punctured. Sad it was, but my father though that it would be more prudent if we called my cousins to pick us up rather than fix it as we were already late. So 20 minutes later, we all were tightly huddled up as the car was small and the luggage was at the peak. We then went to our grandparent’s house, where, we were all to begin our journey.
We had taken two cars with us. All the kids, except my eldest cousin, in a single car, along with my parents, creating all the noise we could, perhaps taking and absorbing all the fun we could on the trip. It began with singing songs, then with dancing – making the car jump with every extra bump we took, annoying my parents a lot. After all, reunion is a big thing, which they understood, explaining their attitude of not saying things. After some time, we got tired of dancing as well as riding the car, making our backs sore, so a decision was taken that we wait somewhere, refreshing our minds as well as stomachs, since we had been empty-stomached since 8 am.
We had quite refreshment by taking a burger snack (Not having much as in case nature calls.). Then we had some peace, as with filled tummy(s), we thought we needed some sleep as a result of waking up really early. I read a book, my sister pretended to read one and my cousin listened to songs on her cellphone. We, however, continued to have small snacks, such as chips and colas and some biscuits.
We took some 4 hours to reach Roorkee, the trip exhausting us. But we were even more surprised to find out that at least one-and-half-an-hour more were required. We took a bairaaj raasta , which is a real honey, the mystifying views erasing our tiredness and exploring new world of nothingness. The way was awesome, something that can’t be described in words. Only if our mind could replay and enable us to see the view we saw many times age. Or like Dumbledore from Harry Potter, we could also have a ‘pensieve’, extracting our memories from the mind and watching them swirl in the dry waters of it. My only suggestion would be that a person who hasn’t seen that path is definately on the wrong path.
So after some time, say an hour or so, we reached Rishikesh, our ‘Final Destination’. It was heaven! Relax and refresh your minds for a new beginning.
We reached there in the afternoon and after the allotment of rooms, we gathered in my room to decide what to do the next three days. There were a whole lot of monkeys, who even if tamed, were animals after all. We took a lot of time travelling from the parking to the rooms as there was a lot of luggage and polythene which the monkeys mite mistake for food.
Every day, we would wake up early in the morning, however later that my parents, who woke at 4 am and then after a quick tea, went for a walk of 4 km, farther than the Lakshman Jhoola or the Lakshman Pul. Then, routinely, we would go for a bath at the Ganges and then have the breakfast.
So let me tell you, that this is a religious place with a whole lot of ashrams here, all serving the same kind of saada, saarthak food. No offence meant, but this usually means that the food is practically tasteless. Or the spices are in such small quantities, exactly not matching the needs of the so-called “City People”. To fill our large-large tummies, we used to go on this restaurant, called the ‘Topiwala Restaurant’. The food was fine.
Then we used to go to places to explore, also memorize the different places in our ashram. Then in late afternoon, tired from early waking and then hiking, we used to lie down and have a short power nap. In the evening, after refreshing our minds, we would all gather to watch the Ganges aarti. Then we would split up into people who wanted to eat in different places-such as the ashram, the restaurant or any other different place that had been explored.
The nights there were cool, without the need to switch on a cooler but to have a quilt over us so to protect us against the unwanted cold. So after dinner, we would all go for a walk, in between the bushes of the ashrams on the paths formed there, to spend the last hours of a good day.
Another day went the same way. The same routine followed and then, I think, I should make it brief and jump on the third day.
The third day we were destined to raft. Earlier this day, we had gone to a place where there were loads of sand like a beach. We had a quiet swim there (We were later told that this pace is known as “Mini Goa”.). Then at 10:30 am, we all gathered at a place with our tummies lightly filled, and were told that we would have to walk a bit to a road uptown from where we will find our car with our rafting coach and the instruments required. Many jokes were made on having a combined package of rafting + hiking which gathered many laughs. After half an hour of another ride in a car, we reached Shivpuri, from where we were to start our fun-filled experience of rafting 18 km on our own. Getting ready was fun, hearing the many but few jokes of people on our appearance.
Then we got our instructions for how to handle our raft in rapids (That is what the ups and downs during rafting are called.) and how to hold the paddle (look- chapu) etc.
We began our journey. There were 9 rapids that we had to face, facing our way and path courageously. The first was a grade 0 rapid, a baby rapid, named “Welcome Rapid”. Since it was a small one, everyone was eager to have more of them. We reached the second rapid in 7-8 minutes. It was named “Roller Coaster”. And believe me, it was a kind of a big roller coaster, only, set on water. This was a 3 grade rapid and also a big one. Our coach had already ordered not to stop paddling on any account as than you may loosen your grip on the paddle a find yourself in water the next second, that to in a big rapid. This one is more memorable for me as a funny incident occurred as we were passing it. My bua was seated on the raft, amongst the eldest on the boat, and also amongst those who did not know how to swim. As we approached this rapid, she did s grave mistake. She stopped paddling as to see how high the ways were forming. As she did that, the rapid approached, turning the boat at an angle of 80 degree and the water wet us all. She fell into water at that moment. I saw that and was too stunned to say anything, when my cousin, who was in front of bua, and was her daughter, exclaimed, “Arre! Where did mummy go?” Everybody then looked back, and the next moment saw her hanging down there in the raft with clutching the rope that surrounds it, terror blank on her face and more than that, wishing that someone would pick her up. She was terrified. Our coach bhaiya came and lifted her up from the life jacket she was wearing, then throwing her on the base of the raft and asking her if she was O.K.
Later when the rapid ended, she started making fun out of it. Saying, “I was actually petrified at first: 1) There was a rapid where I fell. 2) I did not know how to swim. So the only thing I had in mind was to hold the rope and stay afloat. 3) I was afraid of hitting a rock. 4) I went under the raft as soon as I fell.” Then we had another grade 3 rapid, I don’t remember its name, maybe Golf course, and fortunately, no one fell. Then we had 7 more rapid some remembered ones as- Hilton, Double Trouble, Clubhouse, Terminator etc.
After one hour and half we reached mini Goa beach, during which time we had already jumped into the river like , from the raft. The water was freezing hell! Some few meters further, there was a lot of quiet. Then screaming started. The thing was that a person had drowned and that spot while swimming about 3-4 minutes ago. And people kept repeating that like 2-3 feet away from the spot where we were still, a hand had been seen. So our raft bhaiya, named Ali and a bhaiya from the other raft ordered us to take us to that point and put our paddle deep into the water. We were shocked, cold sweat pouring down our faces. We were really scared. The younger siblings started to weep, but we carried on our search, for like 5 minutes. This was as scary as hell, because even if we found the body, it would have been the first time anybody of us found a really dead body. the thought was damn scary. Our bhaiya said that the body will now be recovered 4 days later as till then it would have been light as to make it possibly float on the water. This thought even frightened us to an certain extent.
So we resumed our search and moved forward. Then to relieve the stress gathered from the news of the man drowning, Ali bhaiya decided to water fight with us. When we did not reply to him in any sort of way, he told us that this was daily news for them, as people drowning there is common, not much of a news to them.
We water fought and then reached the “Ram Jhula” , where we were to end our journey. We bid our farewell to Ali bhaiya and wished him luck and moved on. All our clothes were wet, but food was more important so we fed ourselves and then reached the ashram rooms, where we changed and had rest. After a long nap, at 8:00 pm, we gathered at the Ganges ghat To decide where to eat food. Every limb in our body was aching and no one was in a mood to walk. So we chose a small dhaba and had food there. Everyone. then, went to sleep at night.
The next morning, we had to move back to Ghaziabad and Delhi to resume our hectic life with a little time for fun. So after breakfast, all were in their rooms, packing there bags, repacking thing and making sure that nothing had been left behind.
Finally at 1:00 pm, we sat into the cars to start our journey back home. Nobody hooted or danced or sang way back home as all were tired and really exhausted. We reached home by 11:30 pm as a result of excessive traffic jams on the road.
The next day school opened, demanding question on where was I, what was I doing on Saturday etc.
The trip was worthwhile, and the best part is, that the limbs still ache to this day 😉 !
Hope you enjoyed it!