The Big Bang Trip: Leh. We came, we explored and we loved.
It been a little over a week since the TBBT: Leh Edition trip has come to an end. And honestly, I feel I have left some part of me in the mountains. The surrealistic beauty of the landscape, the vast expanse of land and the oh-so-blue sky, how can one blame me?
Some of the few things that I have brought back with me, however, would include the caffeine addiction… -.- I can’t really be blamed for this one (although I think Sumit should be). I believe it was the second night when I got a taste of the local Honey-ginger-Lemon tea that got me hooked. Since then, no meal, and I mean NO meal was complete without Sumit asking if it was possible to get black tea with sugar in it. Now I sit at work and have at least 4 cups of tea every day, with a new found respect for chai drinkers.
During lunch on one of the travel days, where everyone was just powered down, CB and I went down to the river nearby. For someone who has always had an intrinsic pull towards the water, to go down there and be able to drink the water, was just insane. I mean, whoever heard of cupping your hands and drinking fresh water from the river? It was almost as foreign to me as plucking fresh apricots from the tree and eating them right then and there.
The initial few days of the trip were a bit of a blur. This could have been due, in part to the lack of oxygen, but mostly due to the wonder of the alien landscape we found ourselves in. For me, it was also the nervousness of being thrown in with a bunch of random new people for the next 9 days. The lack of oxygen, however, is a major factor. Climbing a flight of stairs had me so winded, I needed to lay down and catch my breath (read that as passing out for the next 2 hours). So when people ask me now how would I describe Ladakh, I say: “breathtaking” – literally.
Back to the people. Maybe because we were the precise assortment of people that we were, I think the awkwardness didn’t last past day 3. Although with Sonia being a part of the trip and working her magic through the Goodwill Tribe, the disconnection between people was bound not to last too long. I recall when Neha, who I’d been bunking with for the trip, asked me if it was alright that her belongings were diffusing throughout the room, I asked her to shut up kindly.
You know how when you look at those fancy schmancy Nat Geo photographs on Instagram; you wish you could be in such places for real? To witness such beauty and sheer awesomeness for yourself? Yup. Nubra Valley. The lights went out around midnight. We bundled up against the cold; everyone grabs their essentials: Sumit grabs his guitar, Sagar grabs his camera, Babbar her phone, Saru her speakers, etc. etc… you get the drift. We sit around the bonfire and listen to music. At some point, we looked up, and my mouth drops open: We were sitting under the Milky Way. My mouth probably stayed open. I kid you not; I counted 17 shooting stars that night. 17!! And here I thought shooting stars were the stuff of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Someone was playing Stairway to Heaven, clichéd I know, but I don’t think anything could have ingrained that moment more in my mind.
One last thing that I brought back with me is an invaluable lesson on life that I think everyone on the trip has benefitted from: Life is an apricot.
Shweta Mayekar (TBBT Tripeer: The Leh Edition)