Monday, August 30, 2010

A moment for nature

“Travelling is all about adventure”, someone said!

Those were my thoughts as I stared awe struck at the pine wood forest slowly engulfing the hills. It was quite mesmerizing as the clouds weaved a pattern around the pine and the cold wind stung my face. I rubbed my hands gleefully and sighed.

It was a crazy beginning. I had planned this outing for days. I was to kidnap my husband and take him on this surprise trip for his birthday. The plan was evolved with meticulous detailing including how we were to go, the things to be taken, packing, speaking with my husband’s boss for his leave of absence, the bookings everything. The car was already stocked up and by late evening, I gave an Oscar winning performance on waning to go for a drive to get ice creams. After a lot of cajoling my husband gave in and off we went. With fingers crossed and my seams bursting with keeping the secret we started the drive. After almost an hour with me looking out for the “right” ice cream parlor, I broke the news. I can never forget his face when I revealed the secret, I so wished I had a picture of that moment. The surprise , the disbelief, the happiness and the finally the excitement all flashed on his face.

We were off to a place called Rampur, in the hills of the Uttaranchal, north of New Delhi, India. After the excitement subsided and the overnight journey in the car, the first sight of the hills was just awesome. It felt like the hills were beckoning us and the cool wind was a respite from the sizzling summers of New Delhi. We were to stay in a rented cottage for 3 nights. It was a cute little cottage perched on top of a hill with a breathtaking view. There really was no agenda but for cooking, eating, sleeping, going for walks and enjoying nature.

I am a restless sort always wondering what to do next so the first day went in a furry of just settling down. The moment which defined the trip and for which I write of occurred the next evening. We had eaten a quiet dinner in a restaurant and were back to our cosy cottage. My husband had settled in with a book and his I pod. I decided to go to the terrace for a walk. The cottage had a terrace which was open to the sky. It had two comfortable seats and was filled with potted plants and flowers. I climbed up and sat on one of the seats wondering many things. As I sat and looked around, I realized it was pitch dark, the light on the terrace was not working. It was so silent that I could actually hear my own breath. After a while, I stared at the sky.

“Blue blistering barnacles………” Never had I seen such a sight. The dark night was lit up with gazillion stars sparkling, glistening and shining like glitter. It was remarkable and very unreal. It looked like someone had sprinkled glitter on the sky or a dark gown with sparkles stuck on them. It was breathtaking. I drew in a sharp breath and closed my eyes. It was an indescribable moment. A moment of solace and peace. The many things which were constantly on my mind, like most of us kind of eased away. My mind maybe for the first time in many years was blank. I just sat there for I don’t know how long enjoying the moment of solace. In this world of constant run against time, for money, for a living that moment redefined me. The simplicity of the moment, the brilliance of the stars, the pitch darkness of the sky, the eerie silence felt like it was there just for me. It wasn’t like seeing some wonder of the world or a monument or undertaking an adventure like what I believed all travel to be, it was just a simple moment which nature bestowed on me. I never knew that darkness could be so powerful and strong. That day evoked lot of feelings in me and made me realize the value of slowing down and of just time with myself. The moment really was a journey of self discovery and realization. Nature in its very simplest forms was breathtaking. It was my moment of discovery, my moment of truth and for that instant it was just about nature and me.

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