We’re sitting by the river Satluj. My cousins, my aunt and I. We’ve come to this exact same spot by the river on my last trip a few months ago. And since then, we’ve longed to come back. On this trip we’re trying to relive the same excitement. If life were a formula…we’d attempted to do all the things from our previous trip…taking pictures, playing Dog and the Bone, Kabbadi…a lil trek. But for some reason…it just isn’t as much fun as the last time. Formulas don’t work for real life.
We’re now sitting by the river. Dipping the bottle of warm Mountain Dew in the cold ripples of the Satluj. The water is so cold..that we’re bound to enjoy a cool beverage if we wait a while. The exact opposite is happening with the bottles of water that we’ve carried…that have frozen in the ice box! The water is frozen…so can’t be drunk…the mountain dew too warm. In time, they’ll both be just right.
To kill time we eat the junk food we’ve carried. Some chips and peanuts. This is no time to count calories. Carefully carrying back the wrappers with us. My cousins have a little spat and the boy takes some time out to go sit alone. It’s my job to go get him. He comes. Minutes later he hits his sister like he often does. She cries. She’s consoled…the game is back on track. My aunt is sitting on a big rock. Her pink outfit against the dark rock. The digital camera and the zoom on it..is keeping her amused.
Then it happens. I ask Daisy, my cousin if she wants to chant here. By the river, in the open, under the blue sky…the sand beneath us. She agrees, a little more readily than I’d have imagined. Soon we’re all chanting….my cousins, my aunt and I. And it is amazing! I’ve never chanted in the open before this. Certainly not by the river with a rock face so big…that we feel ridiculously small. We’re down about a hundred feet from the main road. The sound of our chanting is very easily drowned by the roar of the river. No contest. But six heads, sitting upright with their hands clasped looking towards nothing…catches the attention of two truck drivers. They stand and watch for a few minutes. Amused, but not amused enough to stay too long. They decide to move along. So do we.
The trek back up is fantastic! We’re walking up a dried up waterfall. The rocks are amazing. The thorns are not. I have a few scratches on my legs. Some war wounds and blood stains to earn bragging right back home. We’ll all embellish our stories when we replay the incidents to my grandmum. And if you happen to hear this from my grandmum, don’t be surprised if there’s a crocodile thrown into this story for added effect!
I love it here. I really do. I’m so grateful that I get to take time off whenever I want. And that when I do, I have people to share it with.