This is episode one of the Char Dham Yatra I went on recently. Please click here to view the introduction.
The journey started on the 23 of May, where our flight was scheduled at 5 p.m. from Madurai to Chennai, and then at 7 p.m. from Chennai to New Delhi. Before we left, Mum was spinning around like a top cooking and cleaning the house and I was helping her. I went to the groceries and bakery to pick up stuff in the meantime, during which, the klutz I am, I slipped, fell and scraped my poor left knee on the hard ground.
Great, just what I needed to have to go on a trip. I sighed and was thankful the pain didn’t render me incapable of driving my scooty back home. The fabric was torn a little and when I inspected the wound, I almost threw up at the sight of blood trickling from the opening. I maybe a doctor’s daughter, but when it comes to blood or medicines or anything related to it, I run the other way. Dad told me to calm down and gave me instructions on cleaning it up and treating it. So in went the medical kit along with the tablets we already packed in. There was no promising our bodies were going to easily accept the change of food and climate, which was why there was a large stock of paracetamol and rantidine. Dad had work plus wanted to take care of things for my brother, so that’s why he stayed back.
After everything was set, we met with my grandparents and uncle at the airport, who were there before us and the flight took off and reached the destination in time. But there was a delay in our flight to Delhi unfortunately, and we were stuck inside the airport for three hours. We had dinner, homemade by my mother, which consisted of idlis, sambhar and coriander chutney. We were all on a fast (no non-veg) for the divine tour.
I spotted KFC, Pizza Hut and Subway at the other end of the huge lounge we were sitting in and made my Mum promise that we’d have lunch there on our way back, because our return flight back to Madurai was five hours after landing in Chennai.
To while the time away, I walked from one end to the other, roaming my eyes everywhere. Almost everyone was immersed in their smart phones or tablets or laptops, even if they were with friends or couples. As a consumer of all these devices myself, I can’t say I hate them, but it’s sort of ridiculous to bury your heads in them all the time. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of talking or sharing things with their partners?
There was a music store nearby and since they were playing tracks loudly, I enjoyed them while walking. My favourite albums of Baahubali, Aashiqui 2 and another Tamil movie I can’t remember danced through my ear drums and destroyed my boredom.
My eyes had their fill of cute guys too, in the airport as well as the flight. One of the attendants was pretty gorgeous to look at and since the flight took an hour to take off even after we boarded it, I was checking him out subtly as he rushed around seeing to the comfort of the rest of the passengers. I was in the aisle seat so I could also look at the large phone screen of a guy who was sitting two rows before me. Are you wondering why I was doing that?
Because he was watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
I wanted to smack myself for not uploading the whole of season eight onto my mother’s phone. I could have watched it on the boring flight journey myself too. I’m currently viewing F.R.I.E.N.D.S for the first time and I only finished up to season seven before we left. The dude also had headphones plugged in, so I couldn’t hear a thing, and he was watching an episode I haven’t yet seen. But who cares?! He was watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S!
He soon shifted his position and my bad, the screen vanished from my view. So I had no other option but to sleep. It was almost midnight and the plan was that as soon as we land in Delhi, we’re going to go on a taxi all the way to Yamuna Nagar to pick up Grandpa’s close friend. That was going to take four hours. But I couldn’t sleep in the car because my feet turned cold from the air conditioner and it was raining outside. It was a long night. And my left knee was stinging from being bent for so long.
It definitely was a strange way to greet my birthday on May 24 😀
As soon as we reached their home at 6:30 a.m, we curled under the warm covers to hit the sack. Ah, bliss. I was out for four hours completely and woke up fresh to birthday wishes from everyone in the house as well as the phone. I received surprise gifts from aunty, which were two lovely kurti tops and leggings to go with them. She bought them as well as a beautiful saree for my mother because this was the first the pair of us went there, and was very happy to know she could give them as a birthday gift to me too. I handed out pudding cake to everyone too.
Aunty made a delicious, mouth-watering lunch of rotis, ladies finger, dal and subji, along with curd. I’ve always loved North Indian food, but this was fantastic. I usually never eat a lot but the travel the previous day and night made my stomach ravenous and I inhaled four large rotis with ease. Yum, yum. Since Uncle wanted us to relax leisurely before the drive up to Yamunotri, our Innova taxi was set at four p.m. with the driver for the trip ready. I gotta tell you he is excellent. I am immensely grateful for his smooth driving skills that saved me from dizziness and vomiting episodes that would have usually affected me during hill station drives.
Mum used the day to wash our laundry and it dried in the sun soon. I also made use of the time to stretch my leg before it has to be bent for the car drive.
We were shocked to know it was going to take seven hours.
But this wasn’t the only drive that was going to cost our backsides.
The journey to each and every Dham was nine or ten hours.
The news made my eye balls round as dinner plates and Mum and I swallowed as we stared at each other.
O – kay … ?
But this was such a memorable birthday for me. I never expected I’d start this year off with journeying to such a holy place. I thank all the Gods in Dev Bhoomi for blessing me with it.
On the way up, the scenery completely changed from pollution infected technological world to green trees, mountains, scenic views, the River Yamuna following us and simple living. There was no one who was obese. They all looked trim and fit, because the only locomotive they use is their legs. Only a few of them I saw had motorbikes outside their houses. No one looked posh. No one looked to wanting a sophisticated life. They live there in harmony, eating what is available in the mountain and being blessed to live in such a holy place.
I started to feel the detachment of all materialistic things as we drove up and up, which was why I forgot to take pictures of the landscapes 😀
The powerful effect of the Gods was slowly infiltrating into my body.
We reached Barkot, where we rented two beautiful rooms for the night. The caterers there provided us a lovely dinner that satisfied us immensely and after switching on the mobile data on my grandfather’s phone to respond to birthday wishes and blessings from my family group on Whatsapp, we fell asleep to get up early in the morning to go up to Yamunotri. We were going to trek up the six kilometres from Janaki Chatti.
It’ll be easy, right? Just six kilometres.
We saw in the DVD the ground surface was plain and there won’t be anything difficult in it, right?
That’s what we thought 😀
Stay tuned for the next episode …