By: Nirvana Bhandary
Mardi Base Camp Calls
Like every other October that passed by, this one too was filled with buzz and excitement. The mountains were calling and I was ready to roll. Not everyone answers the calls from the mountains – but no matter how much we want to deny the desire to travel, there is an element of curiosity in all of us.Join us on this amazing trek to Mardi Base Camp within the laps of Machapuchre and Mardi Mountain.
A four-day trek that commenced with three people soon turned into eight people. As they say, you will find heaps of like-minded people while traveling and so did we. The three of us bid our farewell to Pokhara and left for Mardi. We began this exciting adventure from Kade. The steep trails from Kade to the Australian base camp hinted a subtle clue of the challenges, which lie ahead of us. With no luck of witnessing mountains from the Australian base camp, we left for Pothana. We rested our boots, filled our bellies and exchanged our keen eye to travel.
However, soon enough we were on our way to Deurali. We had our moments of discussion just like every travelling group – whether to stay here or to continue until our next stop. With the clock displaying only 2 pm, hungry for wanderlust, we continued to walk along the trail and moved towards Forest Camp. Little did we know it would take us more than 4 hours with no tea shops to stop by in between Deurali and Forest Camp. Despite the foggy weather, the two other familiar faces were all we could see. Not another human being was seen. Fortunately, I saw a deer but that too vanished quickly. With the moon slowly rising, lights fading and poor mobile signals, we still had not reached our destination but with cellphone’s flash lights, spirits of wanderer and our thoughts screaming “Are we ****ing lost?“ ,we reached the camp with much of our delightment of seeing another human soul,finally.
|Annapurna South, Himchuli and Badal dada|
|She keeps calling I keep going|
Morning sunshine hits, eyes burn, legs all restless and heart aching just to see her. Before we knew it, we were already parting ways with Forest Camp. They say everyday is a new day. Subsequently, the foggy forest diminished on this brand new day and with an increase in altitude the flora beautifully sprung out amongst the trails. Much to our joy within only 30 minutes of our walk, there she was, smiling. With that smile engraved in our hearts, we were on our way to Low Camp. A large open space, few tea houses and cottages, trekkers, potters and backpackers with gracefully smiling Mount Fishtail awaiting. We knew we had arrived. We rested our backs, breathed in relief and awe, made peace with our bellies, captured some photographs and before we knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes to Low Camp. The altitude continued to rise along with the frequently changing weather and cloud patterns.
At one stage, we were lucky enough to witness a gorgeous Annapurna mountain range from badal dada. However, that too disappeared amongst the clouds a few minutes later. I felt more than lucky beholding the view of Machapuchre floating in clouds even though it was for a short period.Continuing along the trail, leaving the forest behind, trekking up the steep mountain path with yellow grasses, clouds rumbling beneath us – I felt nothing as my heart was too busy smiling. With a couple of hours of blushing, we arrived at the High camp. The mountains were still being sneaky, still playing ‘peek a boo’ with us but by sunset, she decided to show up. There she was. Glowing. We didn’t leave until safety warned us about the decreasing temperature, which forced us to hop into our warm blankets.With the excitement of seeing her up close and dreaming about being in her arms the following day, we went to bed .
|Goodnight from Mountains|
With the first rays of sunlight, she was there just as we left her last night, waiting. With a few bottles of water, snacks and spirits of the mountain, we were up and running. The closer you go up, the trails become much more adventurous and challenging than you expect it to be. To be honest, weak hearted will definitely question themselves,“What the hell am I doing here?”“this is so my last trek if I ****ing return back safely”. And then a thought comes back knocking; It’s better to look back on life and say, “I cant believe I did that” than to look back and say; “I wish I did that”.
|Ever Smiling Annapurna South|
|Closer to the edge|
|and She came floating|
Knowing the mountains are with you every step of the way or right at your viewpoint, your heart blushes with pride and joy. I was having the time of my life beholding the mountains, feeling the clouds, letting my soul and spirit fly. In the laps of the Mountains: Annapurna south, Himchuli, Mardi base camp, Machhapuchre – you feel infinite like never before. You get lost and the best part is that you don’t want to be found. In fact, you’d much rather be here, forever, being lost. One fine feeling that was. Furthermore, I was awestruck with the view of avalanche towards the south of Annapurna, adding another chapter in my stories to tell. The time had come. It was difficult but we had to separate from her.
|Band of Travelers|
My religion is mountain for it’s not man made. We communicate volumes through its silence. As we walked along the Mountains, listening to its silence and echoes of our inner selves, we parted. You think going up is hard but wait until you hit this trail. Try coming down from base to high camp through heights that make your heart shiver,you will find out how wrong were you.With a brimful of mountain love, smiling eyes and a bucket full of stories to tell, we departed from High camp. While returning, we trekked along a different route from Low camp to Pokhara via Ghalel and Shiding.
|More Yellow trails|
|Home Calling Home|
With every trail I trek through a thought passes by “I am too old to have only seen THIS LITTLE of the world and too young not to go see it now.” So go out, travel, dream, dwell, discover. If you don’t, then I will and I know I am pretty good at making YOU jealous 😀 After all what is life but one GRAND ADVENTURE. JAY GHUMANTE…
|Until next time ; SEE YAA
Check out his Annapurna Circuit Diaries
The Lost Art of Listening
Every morning, as soon as I get up, I check my phone even before freshening up. Stuffs always pile up on my notifications bar, and one by one I check them. I double check them. There are news from every direction, there are stories and posts and a lot of stuffs that I get hooked up with, unknowingly.
I see people loud over the internet, speaking up, giving their views on things ranging from a local celebrity to puddles on the streets to politics to international markets to terrorism and mass killing. I see anger, I see see rebellion, I see judgement and offense and delusion and submission. But then I also see logic and hope, and pragmatism and consciousness. I’m, like everybody else, bewitched by the polychrome of humanity in my screen, and I join in the lot. Everyone’s saying something, so why shan’t I?
Through the small digital space that I’m privileged with, I join the millions of other voices humming on and on over the internet. This new age Fear of Missing Out plays a trick with me and I always fall for it.
We were educated to speak, we were raised to open up. We do what we were taught: we give our views. We open way too much, we’re obsessed with it. We add to the noise that’s already too loud. We find ways to express ourselves on things, nothing is trivial anymore. Everything has to be analysed, thought and then quarelled upon over the internet. We’re all addicted to telling the world that we matter, and in the process we bring out things that would not matter at all into the limelight, and we satiate ourselves.
We forget: is all this digital trash even necessary? Are our cursory, emoted loud expressions even helping to solve the problems?
With all the information floating around the cloud, we are susceptible to this contagious thing called opinionation. Someone wrote something radical on his facebook wall; we screenshot and share, call for comments and give thoughts for and against. A video shows up on which some celebrity slips his/her tongue. BANGG! Another dope for a day or two for us to grumble upon, to show off our so called informative intellect. From soccer players to grumpy politicians, we’ve a lot of options to choose to take sides from. Offense and defense are the new religions!
Too often, we get so offended that we start shouting out at things. We get too busy telling what we think is right, and we’re conditioned to somehow say what we want to say. In all this hustle, we lose sense of hearing. We immerse ourselves into speaking and sharing our opinions, but we barely listen to anyone. We don’t even listen to ourselves. The art of listening is slowly slipping away from us, and we’re completely unaware of that!
This is equally applicable to real life conversations too. We dig up issues, and we arm ourselves with words that fuel up the arguments. Logic gets poured and facts are borrowed, anyhow, somehow we will have to win the debate. Each issue, every time.
We never give as much time to listening than we do for speaking. We don’t observe. We just act.
So, why do we speak much while we listen so less?
Psychologists and philosophers have long pondered over this issue. Some blame evolution and our invention of languages. With these sundry forms of literal communications, those who’ve known to master the art of expression have always been on the forefront of historical eulogies. Languages are probably the most of all things exploited by humanity, sometimes to the extent that it backfires. We were supposed to communicate with each other our deepest emotions, joy, our deadliest fears and our feelings. We were meant to be told that we’re loved, we were meant to be spoken for growing compassion and virtue.We were supposed not to cross the limit and exploit language so as to wretch our ego out, so as to gain power over others. But we drifted from the supposed-to-be versions of ourselves and we mingled anger and sin and curses with our vocation, and now we are so indulged with one tongue that we forget we’ve got a double number of ears.
Modernism and telecommunication have now made it even easier for us to shout our thoughts out loud. Comments and replies and tweets and retweets are all some other forms of this human condition that nurtures opinionation. In a world so closely connected, an evil piece of thinking has equal chance of influencing the crowd as has a genuine thinking. Offense and insults and online wars are all the functions of this influence. Some laugh,call them trolls and pranks, while some other gets trolled and pranked. Yin and Yang perfectly work over here.
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