Mountains have never appealed to me. I was more of a beach person. What is there in a mountain anyway, I asked those who would choose the hills in a mandatory ‘hills-or-sea’ rapid fire question -too big and monotonous. Also, given the fact that I am a total control freak, I felt somewhat intimidated by those huge chunks of rocks that rose above the ground, untamed, as if to pierce through the sky above.
And when we were told that we were being taken for a one day trek to Rajmachi, a village in the Sahyadris or the Western Ghats of India, I was almost sure I would not go. But you know how friends are, they just would not leave me until I said Yes.
|VIEW FROM RAJMACHI FORT|
So there I was, packing my bag and setting out for Rajmachi from Lonavla, with a trek of 15 kms ahead of us. It was the month of July and the South- West monsoon winds had just started to push the moisture laden clouds towards the Western Ghats. Rainfall was expected, yet we did our best to not let it dampen our spirits and began walking towards the Rajmachi Fort which awaited us at the top of the mountains.
The first few kilometers were easy, winding through foothill villages and thin forest patches. It was only after the first one or two hours that I realized where I was and what I was doing. I looked around and I was awestruck. We were at a height of about 1500 feet. The fact that there was no sign of civilization was strangely fascinating. A variety of evergreen trees, ranging from teaks to balsams donned the mountain slopes, as if someone had carefully placed a green blanket all over it. The extensive meadows on top of the mountains rolled smoothly, forming structural benches, also known as mountain terraces. Everything was green. But this green was different- clear and untouched; young and living, rich and pure. I had never seen such a shade of green. It attracted me. I was drawn towards it, to touch the leaves and the grass and everything that surrounded me. It was ethereal. I had never been more alive than I was then. And it was a new feeling. The mountains which I had disliked all this while for being so tall and formidable were making me so happy today.
The rains came and went, it did not bother us. The veil of clouds covered the mountain tops and then floated away the very next moment, telling us that nothing is permanent, not even sadness.
We walked up further, and crossed a few rills, flowing swiftly down the basalt of the Western Ghats, from larger streams of seasonal origin. The lotic water was as clear as crystal. All of us filled it in within our palms and gulped down the sweet water. I now knew why they said water from the streams on mountains taste the best!
At one point of time, I began to walk a little ahead of the group. It began to rain, but instead of opening my umbrella, I looked up and let the rain soak me. It was as if the rain fell on me to cleanse me and make me pure like the surroundings. The curving roads, filled with pebbles, did not seem difficult now. I treaded on, taking in the breathtakingly beautiful sights all around me, which I had no idea about until that day.
So, far away from the city, amidst nature, my life found a new meaning. I understood that not everything needs to be in my control, not everything that looks difficult, is truly difficult. One must rise beyond one’s apprehension and embrace life. We are here only for a short while; why not make it worth our while?
Author Bio: This post has been written by Sayanti Sengupta. She is a Geography Hons. graduate from Loreto College, Kolkata and is currently pursuing Masters in Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai. Apart from her passion for travel, she is also an amazing dancer and has many awards and credits to her recognition.