The footsteps clearly show less human intervention. The path was full of newly grown weeds untouched by humans or animals. The wild Pears were hanging in trees out of season. The jungles were silent except for chirping birds and humming insects. The far distant forests, the lining, the boundaries, the halo, the romantic majestic panorama, and the chilling air made it heavenly.
The first one to reach the peak was Rupesh the heaviest guy ever known, who loves making fellow hikers wait a little bit in morning before travelling. That’s his story, a reality, and a fact that cannot be denied. We were prepared and made him walk earlier before he touched the van. He is wildly known for coordinating tough hikes and treks. This time he had a video cam on his hand so he was making memorable records, and shooting the scenery and the heavy discussions. He is also famous for great story telling and making the journey full of fun, laughter, and happiness so that tiredness and fatigue are miles apart when people hike and trek with him.
Deependra the silent guy appeared in a bike to rush into the van. His brother took the bike back and he joined the team while Pritesh was picked up at Koteshwor. Lava rounded up at the office and Jeevan was picked up from Sinamangal. Ujjwal made it to the van using a taxi, it was cool and he got great applause. The most interesting part was Basanta, the gentleman who bought a paper to kill time waiting for the van read it 4 times repeatedly. We can understand his frustration for having to wait as he called ten times asking where the van was. We apologized for the delay without blaming anyone. Two guys couldn’t come; Ishwor and Santosh suddenly got ill abandoning the hiking plan. We were sad for them as we would have loved them to be there. Yes, we can’t forget Mani; the classic charming guy who knew the deep mountains where hiking and trekking took weeks and months. Mani came with all enthusiasm adding to the team’s cheers and fun. He also knew some anecdotes like Rupesh. This hiking changed me.
On the way we ran back into future dimensions of time when we met an old man at his nineties carrying a big sickle (Hashiya in Nepali) commonly used for cutting grass. There was problem using that to cut the ripe pears that Deependra had procured from nearby forest surprising everyone. Mani came to the rescue and we had some bites. The trail had no streams, ponds, or any source of water; and we were dangerously scarce with our reserve. Jeevan took out the last bottle and we took a few drops each to quench our thirst temporarily under the scorching sun overhead. The old man sang a song to amuse us. He said he cannot see but he had counted all of us. He sang about goodness, love, and life.
Pritesh can tell stories. We listened to him resting under some shed which was rare. Even Basanta managed some stories. There were many cameras hanging around and many shots were taken, in total more than 300.
The mustard yellow covered many fields with flowers blossoming. The scent, scenery, and greenery made us speechless and virtually breathless. We reached the peak where Rupesh was waiting for us at a beautiful grazing ground. Ujjwal laid himself down to take a fantastic shot in a great pose only to realize a few minutes later that it was full of leeches. We didn’t calculate how many leeches sucked our blood. Listening to the story of leeches, we started downhill finding a rare scene of a he-cow, which lava thought was she-cow. Lava always has impaired vision in recognizing cows. There was big laughter in the jungle. There was a cowboy too, which many did not see and we joked at the poor sighting.
Regular hikes have kept Deerwalkers healthy. We also forgot our meals and everyone were hungry. In the jungle there was nothing to eat except leaves or barks of some trees. Some of the hikers were trying to take out resin from the pine tree. One of us was eager to slip down the steepest slippery slope to reach the unknown. Since it was a new place we could not comprehend directions or locations.
There was a grand moment when we found some lonely calf on way. Jeevan carried the calf to keep it out of harm’s way. A video and many photos were taken. Finally, we saw some houses. Walking more and more, we saw our office van waiting at Chhaimale. What prompted Ram Dai to wait for us at that very time is still a mystery. Lava was breathing hard, feeling too heated up, so took a shower at nearby tap. We took cold drinks and drove off to Kirtipur.
Kirtipur, a historical old city of Nepal, has an identity of its own. Old castle, temples, traditions, and cultures are still alive in it. Its unique offerings include eating and drinking Newar cuisines. Newars ruled Kathmandu long ago through centuries, and many cities in Kathmandu are unique due to their hospitality, culture, language, and preservation. So we decided to go to Newa Lehana to taste special food and drinks. We ate many varieties of food; we were excited and did not want to leave the place, if time had not interfered. The Chyang (local brew), Chatamari (egg chapatti mixed), Bhutan (fried meat) , Bara (pulse mixed flour), Momos, Samaya Baji ( the most famous newar food that make mouths water), Jibro (Tongue) , Chhoila (meat especially prepared by cooking using oil only , no heat) and numerous more items.
Time ends somewhere. The pleasure filled hiking came to an end when the van started from Kirtipur and each one of us bade farewell with healthy mind, healthy heart, healthy body, and a healthy future.