An unearthly hour to be awake. And yet, the place was teeming with activity. The travelers were wide-awake. Some of them had already had a bath, while others were sipping piping hot tea. Distant strains of Punjabi hymns found its way into our room. I stood at outside in the corridor watching pilgrims packing and leaving for their respective destinations. In a way, we, I mused, were also pilgrims. For each one of us who had come together for this trip had a different reason to be there. For me, it was a rendezvous with Ganga. Her wild flowers and her wild meandering ways.
We left a Rishikesh that was recovering from yet another moonlit night. The chilly wind caressed my face while I sat by the window seat. Occasionally, a truck would pass by with menacing speed. At other times, it would be stray cattle or an errant pedestrian. Lots of miniscule obstacles, that didn’t really matter in the long run, fading into insignificance. So similar to our lives! Who would remember these little obstructions later on, when we think about this trip?
While my mind strayed with such odd thoughts, the rest of the trekkers drank in all the scenery that raced past us. Sunlight played with deciduous leaves. The same songs that we heard yesterday played again. When the strong sun broke through the morning chill, we took off our sweaters and longed for a pit stop. That happened in Byasi. There is something about the food that is served in these parts of North India. It is simply divine! Regular cottage cheese and aloo-ka-paranthas, but there is something about them. Probably it was our hunger.