Day 4 – It Has To End, Nah?
“Brijesh! Brijesh!” exclaimed Alpesh frantically, “There is someone in the hut!” I woke up by the loud cry. It was 5:30 in the morning. From the corner of my bedside there came the sound of someone dragging the plastic bag full of the snacks. I put it next to the table fan before going to bed. It was pitch-dark and there was no electricity. I switched on the torch light in my phone. From the distance I tried to look into the corner to see if there was a rat or mouse which was searching for food from between the bamboo sticks. None was found. The dragging was stopped but both of us were afraid of checking the corner. The white plastic bag was hanging in awkward balance between the table and the wall. Satisfied by the prevailing silence, and more importantly afraid of going too close, I switched off the torch and went back to bed. The dragging was again heard after about 10 minutes, but was stopped immediately at my loud Shh….
The trip was coming to the end. After breakfast we again went for a short walk towards the waterfall. After coming back we paid our dues, had one last view of the camp and left it. On the way back, before Kejenta, there was another camp, the Udhal Mahuda Camp. We had time on our side so decided to go there. Udhal Mahuda was small guesthouse on top of a hill overlooking a river. The river carved its path neatly between the hills crammed on both the sides. There was a small machan and a bench at the cliff. The clear blue sky and the brown and green hills gave the water beautiful bluish green color. A boatman was enjoying his solitude in the calm waters. Two ducks were fighting and playing in the water. We had to fight the reluctance to go.
The ride back home was rather uneventful. The bike was cruising along the well-tarred roads. It was evident we were moving away from the forests to urban civilization. After Balasinor, we stopped for lunch on a roadside dhaba. Before some 40 km from Ahmedabad, Alpesh stopped the bike. There was no shade and the afternoon breeze was hot. I asked him why he stopped the bike there when there were plenty of banyan trees just 100 meters away. He showed me the distance meter on the bike. It read 0999.9. He wanted to see all the 9’s change to 0’s together. He dragged the bike from there until the meter read 1000.0. The slow motion of change was quite rhythmic. I was glad he thought of that. After 4 days and 520 KMs of road travel, we were finally back. The bike dutifully went into garage to cool off. The trip which was almost called off the day before it was to be started turned out to be one of the most pleasant one I had been part of.
The Bus for Amreli is on time in the evening. That is a luxury I rarely get to enjoy. But things are quite different these days. The luck has befriended me and it enjoys my company too. A little panic like situation is created when Alpesh announces that he has lost his two-wheeler keys. We try to find it in the bus but to no avail. The engine grunts, the wheels roll on, off goes Alpesh little worried about the keys and waves me goodbye. By the time the bus leaves Gandhinagar, he calls to say that he has found the keys on the bench we were sitting on in waiting for the bus. I ponder over the events of last four days. I remember the butterflies…the waterfall…the bird that was the Indian Roller…the sunset. Those were the most beautiful things I came across. And they were free. Free as in freedom. Nobody can own them or buy them. Can anybody order a butterfly to flutter its wings…Can anybody force a bird to fly for his fancy…Can anybody dare to summon the sun to rise or set down according to his whim? The most beautiful things in the world are free…free from the bondage…free for all of us to receive, enjoy and be blessed with. And it does not apply only to the things of nature. What about the love and the care we shower on our fellow humans? Aren’t they free? Pity we run after inconsequentials all our life and refuse to embrace the true source of happiness. In the end I have to thank the people who made this possible. Thanks to Pradip, without his idea the trip would have not been possible. Thanks to his father, who made sure we never ran into troubles. A special thanks to Alpesh for sharing the vivid dream and making me feel that the reality was indeed as beautiful. And a very very special thanks to the life, which again proved that when you don’t make plans, it comes up with the best plan for you. Live on! After the Sunset
After the Sunset