The winds got cooler once we reached Bhimtal, a small town about 25 kilometers from Nainital. We were making our way towards Munisiari, a base point for the Himalayan range and a budding tourist destination for trekkers, mountaineers, nature lovers – but, I am getting ahead of myself.
We took the Almora-Bhageshwar route, taking night stops at Bhageshwar and near Barthi falls before reaching Munisiari. The roads were kind to our car and the scenery was beautiful.
An hour after we had left from Bhageshwar, we hit a ghat section and at a turning, without warning, the snow capped mountains appeared, tall and clear at the horizon. Naveen gasped loudly and pointed at them. My eyes grew wide, my heart slowed down and breath was caught in my throat as I took it all in.
There they were, the mountains. So close yet, so far. The first emotion that hit me was reverence. I wanted to bow down and pray to the mountains. I felt like an ant. No, something even smaller, like a speck of dust as I looked up at the them. I was nothing in front of these mountains, neither was Naveen.. We are so fleeting and the mountains are forever.
The stories these mountains might have witnessed, the formation of landscapes and changing of terrains, the building and breaking of forests, the raging fury of flowing waters, the making of valleys, the death and birth of life.
A strange feeling shrouded me like an old itchy blanket keeping me warm. Thoughts of how mortal we are, how short our lifespan is, how delicate we are as beings of the universe kept racking my brains. I cried. Wept, actually. Why? For what? I am not entirely sure, the tears were just flowing and I wasn’t bothered. Naveen looked at me worriedly, asked me if I was missing home or my mother or whether I was tired and wanted to rest. It was none of it. It was just being in the presence of greatness. I wonder if this how a devot would feel meeting their maker? A sense of purpose and confusion, a feeling of delight and sadness?
As we drove further and further up, the clouds covered up the sun and the rains were rolling in. But even in the hazy distance, the mountains were there. Of course, they were. Majestic, eternal, mighty, the most magnificent.
Naveen was head over heels in love with them. With every turn, he would yell with delight, or take a sharp breath or just stare. We stopped wherever we could to get as much footage as we could do. But mostly, we stopped to stare, to quench our burning souls, to just take it all in. I have never seen anything that is grander than the mountains. Nothing as ever made me feel as much as I have felt looking at them.
It can only get better from here, right?