(Written before setting out on a bike to Valley of Flowers trek)
I know it is going to be a punishing journey — all that way to Joshimath on a bike, and a trek thereto. It will tax my back and toll every limb, I know it from experience. I know.
Why then, pray, I am going there at all. What reasons? Why can’t I toil a bit more on my work station and do a little better in life? What is there to gain from this trek-shrek, after all?
It cannot be machoism, or masochism. It is more complex than Freudian theories, even if I can’t put my finger on the switch. There is a bit of show-off factor at work too, I agree. But would I stay back if my friend circle did not feel impressed with it. I am sure I would have gone, with or without the world knowing about it. Without a bike, without a rucksack... Could it be then that I am an escapist. Is it, as I often say, collecting some bedtime tales for grandchildren (??) or some anecdotes for a party? All these possibilities are there. But these are all ‘advantages’ of a trek, not the reason. Going for a strenuous trek for holding captive an audience does not make much sense, normally speaking.
Come to think of it, it has never made much sense in most of the things that I do. Barely has there been anything ‘normal’ about it — mostly. My rewards often come as a short gasp of breath after a long uphill move, a sudden view of cold Himalayan snow, a gentle pat on the back from a co-trekker, a lungful of fresh mountain air and the renewed zest for city life after jheloing the life which a pahari lives everyday. This is a small collection of moments that I have.
I keep these worthless marbles the same way a child stocks his junk. And everytime I feel down and low on any front, I pull out this box buried in a stack of bricks in the backyard, juggle its contents, relive the cherished moments, and feel rejuvenated. That makes me feel high and prosperous all over again. City travails become more tolerable, greenbucks revive importance and life shifts into a new gear. And the hunt to raise the stock in my personal treasure continues.
Reasoning can wait, bloody hell.