Nothing compares with waking up in Guptakashi.
I woke up at 3 in the morning to a variety of chirping sounds. We had seen some exotic birds yesterday. But when I stepped out of the tent to take some close-up pictures, it was still dark and I could not see anything. And yet somewhere, birds were singing, which brought to mind the quote by Tagore - faith is the bird that feels the light, and sings when the dawn is still dark.
Our rain-drenched clothes from yesterday were still wet and needed to be packed in plastic bags before going into the backpack. After unsuccessful attempts at waking up the little god to see the dawn over the mountains, I took a bucket bath with lukewarm water, and was ready for the day.
As I came out of my tent, it was still 5 in the morning. The snow-clad mountains of Chaukhambha were covered with mist, and the town lay in the valley below.
Dew covered the grass and condensed droplets sparkled on the petals of a variety of exotic flowers in the campgrounds.
There was no breeze, but it was a pleasant mountain morning, the early morning light fell softly on the expansive landscape. Somewhere in the far distance, there was chanting on loudspeakers that could be heard around the hills. I could imagine people waking up all over the town and starting the day in the unhurried way that life moves here. The peace of the surroundings reflects in the locals - simple, accepting and courteous, ready to help with whatever we needed. All was good with the world, my visit to Kedarnath had answered all my questions as I had hoped it would.
Many people sat outside their tents, the hotel staff ran up and down the steps on the layered slopes, serving tea. The ancestral villages of both sides of my family were both less than sixty miles away. How could my parents who grew up in this beautiful land adjust to life anywhere else? It was evident from the growth of population and vehicles since my last visit - Uttarakhand is growing again, people are returning.
It was past 6:30, and I rushed back to wake up the other person in my tent. We needed to be in the dining room for breakfast at 7.
Everyone was relaxed, glad the trip had gone so well. We had completed the trip as planned by the Swamijis - not a single hitch, no serious injury or sickness.
|Traditionally, women work the fields in Uttarakhand|
|Kashi Vishwanath temple in Guptakashi, in the far distance|
The driver told me that the monkey was asking me for something, probably food. It is amazing how natural it feels for locals to understand the body language of other creatures, I share that equation only with my dog-child whose every facial expression and behavior I think I am able to read. The driver's comment also brought home to me how much I needed to evolve, to think of a fellow creature's need before my own. I was so engrossed in getting a picture that I had not thought what the monkey was looking to get from this interaction. As I looked back, the group was still sitting there, waiting hopefully for the next car that would give them something.
Tomorrow, I would be waking up at 4 to be down in the lobby by 5 to leave for Delhi.
Aum Namaha Shivaaya!!