My Trek In Uttarakhand: Prologue

About a lakh in all. That, I saw last year, would be the amount of my earnings from my internship next year. I didn't think much of it, but it did feel like a nice, substantial number. My first thought, of course, was to buy stocks with it. However, come my first payday, my parents hinted that I ought to buy gifts for family and give a bit to charity. That I did; there was some money left over but I couldn't be bothered to credit it back to my account and buy stocks. I have strong reason to believe that the leftover money went to pay utility bills. Nevertheless, at the end of the next month I was determined to make daring, genius bets with my money. Sadly, I didn't have any daring, genius bets. In fact, I was annoyed that I couldn't transfer funds from my salary account to my trading account with just a single click. Naturally, I didn't do it, so the money just sat there till the next month. Another payday arrived and that too just sat there. That was the time I found out that credit cards actually give you free credit for 45 days. With that knowledge coupled with the shame of having no idea of what to do with my money, I bought books and posters. Yeah, posters. Movie posters for my room: A bewildering situation, definitely. Had I made a list of problems I would have with the money I earned, not knowing how to spend a few thousand bucks would have been the last point. In hindsight, it was inevitable. Being nerdy and cheap as hell, and with friends who mostly were nerdy and cheap as hell, I didn't know too many places where one can go and get casually ripped off. Moreover, I completely depended on others to make plans for me to spend my money and have fun in exchange. This was a great strategy in college, but proved to be singularly ineffective when my old friends were scattered all over the city, with their own internships, and my new friends with their worries that I'll steal their PPO. With my office, that was usually two hours away from any random place in Bangalore, and with my work, that I found somewhat tiring. Then, as I was furtively facebooking in office, I saw that some dude who I had never spoken to had written on another dude's wall about Roopkund. Yeahhhhhh, I thought. A trek. In the Himalayas.?That's just what I should do. I have the money and the time. And maybe it'll help me forget the many boring days of my internship. So powerful was my resolve that it was transmitted telepathically to Ayan Mukherjee, and created the abomination Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, inexplicably casting Padukone in my role. Just one of the many ways he screwed up the story. ? One of my friends had floated the idea of a road trip to North-East India, and it had been accepted in principle last year. I had counted on the plan to fail, as they sucked at planning road trips. They planned many in college and the results were usually disastrous. And now I was bored of road trips. I wanted to climb a damn mountain, touch snow and come back in aches and pains. Much to my annoyance and surprise, I was informed that the trip was still on, and they had even bought flight tickets. I get no breaks, I thought. If I tried too hard to convince them, I was afraid of getting reverse-convinced of dropping my plans and going with them instead. So I waited, still confident about their lack of planning skills. I informed my parents that I was going on a trek in Uttarakhand alone. I suspect they were confident in my inability in planning things, which I feel was poor judgement- I refrained from planning things because I was too lazy, but that didn't guarantee that I would fail at it. I only needed not to fail; I could suck at planning my trip to my heart's desire- till the point of failure. Later when it clearly looked like I would not fail, they ?asked me to convince at least one other person to go with me. The North-East plan, unfortunately, hadn't failed either. Nobody else would come. So I paid up to the trek company, bought flight tickets, shoes, bags and a bunch of other things, as I had no idea how to cold it would be (or indeed, how cold -2 degrees actually is (apparently not a lot), thanks to my Bangalore upbringing) and maxed out my credit card. I ended up spending close to half a lakh (though half of it in fixed assets). And my brother stared at all this, aghast at what a sociopath I was to think of spending a week with a dozen absolute strangers. I rebutted by saying that it wouldn't be boring because there would be a dozen people I had never met, but he walked away with a what-a-retard look on his face. My flight was on the last day of my internship. As I was packing, I realized that most of my clothes were in the laundry. I had overlooked putting clothes in my list on the mirror. It didn't matter. As the flight took off, I heard music in my ears. The ten-year-old girl next to me gasped in wonder, and I felt like a ten-year-old girl myself (although she later told me that she had flown many times, and that too alone as now). Finally, after six months of a?lackluster?life, confusion and tedium, I was going on a nice long trek, just what I needed. Finally a break, a small adventure. I landed in Dehra Dun and took a taxi to Rishikesh. It started raining a few hours after I checked into my hotel. It rained the whole night. It kept raining, and later an old guy told us it hadn't rained like this in eighty years.