Late evening. Golden lights reflected bright streams on Ganga. We were on the other side of civilization. We were about to cross a bridge that would end our journey through the wilderness. Walking past the bustling evening market, we tried to find our old guesthouse. Wet and bedraggled, we managed to find some unwanted attention. One freak followed the two of us until we reached the guesthouse. He went away when the guy behind the reception counter glared at him. After fixing a price for the room, we sunk into the warm sofas and waited for our fellow trekkers.
An hour later, when I had just begun to worry about them, Mowgli literally exploded into the room. Yelps of joy and squeals of relief; moans of dull aches and bustle for hot water.
‘Where’s the other guy??’
‘He must be on his way!’
“Waddaya mean, on his way?!’
‘We argued that we are man enough to fend for ourselves, so we spilt on the way.’
While we pondered over this, the fourth VoF trekker made his entry. He had his own set of adventures to recount. We settled down and waited for the remaining three to come from the Gurudwara. Here too, a maalishwala materialized out of nowhere. We ordered for dinner for all the seven of us. Took warm baths, sat around sharing notes from the trek. We showed each other gruesome bluish nail-less toes and ‘tsk’ed in sympathy. But when we saw the condition in which the remaining three came in, we instantly knew that we had fared much better.
They came at 2245 hrs. They took three extra hours to reach our guesthouse. They had a far worse trek than we had fathomed. A cacophony of seven trekkers trading notes simultaneously, ensued. The chaos soon settled to a quieter equilibrium. Dinner eaten, medications taken, balm applied, we slept fitfully. How fitfully? This would be a highly questionable affair, for there were moaning and cringing every time someone shifted in the bed, or changed positions. I vehemently denied all accusations of making any noise until one of them cornered me and shot me down with a, ”You were the loudest! Every time you shifted in bed, you cried, Oh Jesus! Oh Mary! Oh Joseph!”
Just picture that.
Thine cup of mirth brimmeth over.