Remember how I talked about my love for the mountains? How I have recently been there on a vacation and came back all rejuvenated and what nots. I also came back with a better appreciation for life. And mortality. No it’s not because I almost got my face taken off by a speeding moron. I forgave him. Gave him the benefit of doubt. Possibly he had the runs. I forgave the one after him too. And the one after that one. And…ok you get the drift. And no also wasn’t because I saw all the towering stone covered in massive trees and writhing mists and realised ‘Oh wow..I’m like, just one molecule!’ Neither was it because I tripped over a rock and nearly went toppling tattoed ankle over wild hair down a very, very, very deep and steep valley.
It was something worse. Something more…well…for the lack of better words, silly. I mean we have all had those moments right? You go ahead and do something ridiculous. Then you realise you have done something ridiculous. Then you try and undo it. You can’t. You never can. Worst part? You have a bunch of people who did it with you. It’s not like SOMEONE had a spark in their mind and said, ‘Something feels silly.’ Oh no no! Like a bunch of cud-chewing cows, you all moved from Point A to Point B before you realised that Point B was actually between two slices of bread lathered with mustard and you are now someone’s lunch.
Anyways, lured by promises of traditional, home grown, pahadi vegetables, we took a local boy and he guided us to his place. Feeling quite chatty, we hounded the poor chap with questions about his village. Where do you get water from? How far is the next spot of civilization? If you fall off the bed while asleep, do you roll to the bottom of the cliff? Patiently, he answered all our questions. Little did we realise that we were moving further and further away from civilization, tarred roads and any form of help if we needed it. The car began to lurch. My self-respect along with a bunch of brain cells went flying out of the window as I clung onto my friend for dear life. There was a pit in our stomachs. Different pits not the same one. The husband was getting restless and shifty. He began asking the boy how far his village was. ‘Just around the corner. Same answer to the question when asked 5 times. By the time we reached, we were all praying hard and hanging on to each other.
We got off the car, kissed the solid ground and watched in shock as the kid waltzed off the road, into the forest with loud promises of returning with vegetables so good that I could exchange them for gold in the city. Time passed. He didn’t come back. We were left staring at the one, single house on the road where (and I am NOT kidding) a man was pacing with a GINORMOUS axe. When he moved to chopping logs with single blows, his father came and gossip sessioned the hell out of the husband. The boy still wasn’t back. We twiddled thumbs and watched the sun go down. We gazed into the approaching darkness and discussed horror films with gory murders. Just as the sun sank decisively behind the horizon, the boy appeared looking eerily gleeful. We caught hold him, stuffed ourselves in the car and started back.
Now I may not have elaborated earlier, but thanks to heavy rains recently, the road was a bunch of rocks stuck together with mud. Oh and there was a beautiful steep valley we had to avoid if we wanted to have the vodka we had been dreaming about. The wet mud was slippery and piled high enough to cover the tyres of the car. The husband had to jog in front of the car to ensure we don’t get stuck and remain stuck. There was a biggish stream flowing smack in the middle of the road. The water chuckled and chortled all around us as we struggled to gain traction on the slippery rocks. To make matters worse, it was pitch black. The kind of pitch black that enters your eyes, stains your soul and doesn’t go away. The rains had brought on a fog so thick that at one point the guy who was driving was trying to figure out where the road had vanished off to, only to realise it had turned sharply to the left and he hadn’t been able to see it with all the mist all around us. I would have been able to see my life flash in front of my eyes if I hadn’t been so busy fretting over the edge of the road that was right in my face or if I hadn’t been so intent on ensuring that the road wasn’t haunted. I mean we had had enough of our own problems without having a ghost to make it worse.
Slowly but surely we inched closer to the lodge we were at. When the lights started twinkling around us and the noise of people and traffic piped up, we finally relaxed and took a deep breath. Not only were we alive but we also returned (like warriors) with spoils of war. Fresh, smelling of earth, gorgeous vegetables. We turned around with eager smiles waiting to be bombarded with them and the kid takes out 5 lemons that looked like oranges and a bunch of seeds for a chutney. Totally worth dying for. We could have tossed him off the cliff but we had already reached the lodge and there were plenty of unwanted witnesses. *sulk*