Do it today, do it now

07 January 2017

Life is so unpredictable. Even the small things that we think will DEFINITELY happen tomorrow, might not. Till yesterday, I was supposed to outlive Pratik in the Himalayas and enjoy my Himalayan Odyssey. However, things changed so fast and quick that I am currently on my way back home; with Pratik having many more days to enjoy in the mountains.

Similarly, my Aunt. She is just over 40 and just like anybody of her age, she had been looking forward to enjoy the rest of her life. But now she is so sick that her huge bucket list has been cut short to one single wish – “I want to live”.

We often take life for granted and promise ourselves that we will get back to living the life we had dreamed of once we get done with our tough times. But the tough times never get over and we forget how to love. And one day when we turn back, everything seemed to have changed so much that we wonder “whom did I live the past few years for?”

I am reminded of what Mahmud Shabistari once said –

Make the most of today. Take your risks. Do what you love. For “IN THE END.. We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017


Tiny point in the present

06 January 2017

“Chill, Pratik! We have so much time. We can figure out the rest of our trip later” is what I had told my friend only a few hours ago. But now, suddenly, I am running out of time in the Himalayas. What changed in these few hours?

Rishikesh is still here. My Aunt is still in the ICU. I am still in my hostel bed. The only thing that seemed to have changed are my priorities. No longer is my holiday important. My presence in Chennai to lend a shoulder to my younger brothers seems to be more important now.

What have I learnt? Do whatever you can, as and when you can. Do not delay. You never know what tomorrow holds for you. Jump off that lazy mattress and do the things that have been lying on your bucket list. Tick all off them off. Tomorrow does not exist. Today and now is all you have.


PS. I was to stay back in the Himalayas till about 28th of January and venture out on an unplanned and adventure packed trip. However I got a call from my parents on the 5th of January and that’s when they broke to me that my Aunt is in the ICU.

PPS. My Aunt is recovering now, however her health continues to be at a critical state.

My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017

Do what you love?

04 January, 2017

When we take our temporary refuge from reality in hikes like these, we come across people who are really happy with life. We see them doing what they love and then we compare their work with our hate-filled work life.

But are they really happy doing what they love? Shravan was my trek leader during my Kedarkantha (KK) trek. He has trekked the KK summit over 100 times now. While he still loves trekking, the charm is no longer the same as it used to be when he first started. Similar is the case with Abhirup, another trek leader who has hiked Kashmir Great Lakes a dozen times.

These people do what they love but not when, where and why they love to do so. In the ideal world such distinction should not exist; but in reality it does. The best thing to do, maybe, is to separate what you do from what you love. You do not want your intrinsic motivation to be replaced by the extrinsic motivation of money.

So the next time you are motivated to quit your job and do what you love, do not.

Or…. maybe not. Things might get better if you do what you love and have almost complete independence over it.

Deepak is another trek leader I met during the trek. His story is quite different. He was born in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. He works as a freelancing trek guide and so far has traveled over half of India and is acquainted with over half a dozen Indian languages. Being a freelancer he ensured that he entered into contract with private agencies only on short term basis. Though that meant he would earn a little lesser, he chose independence over money (kuch paane ke liye, kuch khona padta hai).

Playing cricket with my trek leaders and friends at Hargaon


My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017

The Himalayan Law

02 January 2017

It was the first day of the year when we kicked off our trek with a climb to Juda Ka Talab and witnessed out first snowfall. As we reached our campsite, the snowfall increased and in a few hours thick snow was piled up almost everywhere. Pratik and I got excited and took out our poncho and tried sliding down the snowy slopes. After a few unsuccessful attempts, we finally found a foolproof path where we could glissade our way to happiness.

After getting tired, we ventured out to making our own snowman, and once we were done, I was asked to take out my phone to click a photograph. It was then when I realized that my phone was no longer in my pocket; which must have slipped out while I was glissading down the slopes. After hours long search, we acknowledged Murphy’s law – “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, and gave up on my phone assuming that the phone would either me many inches under the snow by now thus being way too difficult to find or would no longer be in a working condition anyway.
The next day we left Juda Ka Talab campsite for the Kedarkantha base camp. We reached there by noon and had a quick, hot, yummy lunch. After an hour of rest, we left the campsite for a short walk to get acclimatized and prepare ourselves for the summit day. The beauty that unfolded during that walk, and the adrenaline rush that we came across when we crossed a dangerously narrow cliff trail, is a story for another day.

When we were back at our campsite, something unimaginable happened. Our trek leader (@shravanrawat) received a message on his wireless instrument that his friends at Juda Ka Talab had found a phone near the campsite. My happiness knew no bounds, notwithstanding the fact that the phone might no longer be in a working condition (however later it turned out that my phone was working just fine).
That evening I sat outside my tent while I saw dark clouds approaching us. What I also saw was a few mountains which were earlier under the dark (because of the shadow of the clouds), were now reflecting the bright light of the sun. This was because the clouds were not static, and thus no mountain remained in darkness forever….When we look at the mountains from the Kedarkantha base camp, we see that a few mountains are in the dark and a few have light over them because of the clouds which pour their shadow upon these mountains.

This phenomenon and my experience with my lost phone made me formulate a new law..

The Himalayan Law – Anything that goes wrong, will turn better and brighter, sooner or later.

My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017

Blind adventure?

01 January 2017

Taking the route of ‘adventure‘, I slid down a snowy slope at Juda Ka Talab (JKT). Hell, it was fun!! However, hours later I realised that my phone was no longer in my pocket.

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It was highly probable that my phone fell off my pocket while I was sliding down. It had been snowing heavily and thus when my friend and I went back to search for my phone, we could not find it.

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Taking the road not taken is definitely the best thing one can do. However one must take sufficient caution. It is similar to trading on the stock market. Assessing your path (stock) and taking sufficient safeguards (by hedging) is the way forward….. maybe.

My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017

What is adventure?

1 January 2017

What is adventure? It is the road not taken. It can be something as small as taking a shortcut in a trek route or something as big as choosing a career path which is like none other. Such road not only gives us a sense of fulfillment  but also excites us and keeps us going.

Do not make life a National Highway – smooth and fast. Off road your way through life. What would you gain by going fast? Life is a journey and not a destination. The ups and downs, the changing pace – they all contribute to making our lives adventurous.

My Himalayan Odyssey are a series of posts from my travel to the Himalayas which took place between 30/12/2016 and 07/01/2017

Mastering JIT

29 December 2016

Leaving the hotel at 1:15 PM for a train scheduled to depart at 1:25 PM, for no particular reason, may sound stupid. But that happened, and not really for the first time.

So I caught an auto-rickshaw for the station but got down midway and ran through about 500m to bypass the traffic and then caught another auto-rickshaw for the station. I finally reached the railway station less than a minute before the train departed.

The Japanese would be proud of me.

My Jugaadu Adventure are a series of posts from my travel to Bengaluru, Gokarna and Mangaluru which took place between 23/12/2016 and 29/12/2016