Diary

Kaali chai with Kisang

So the guy’s name is Kisang and he’s from the nearby village of Hansa. Kisang led the way down from the blue tent to a spot from where we could see the Chandratal camping sites… and it was wayyyyy down below in terms of altitude. But I could see that by climbing right down the mountain, we would be in the camp much sooner than staying on the trail.

But my right knee was throbbing and I was limping heavily, which didn’t make it ideal conditions.

“Kitna samay lage ga yahan se?”

“Aadhey ghante mein utar jaoge.”

I thought about it; Upamanyu was ready to climb down, but I figured it’s better to wait for Kaushal and The Wayfarer to catch up.

“Aap chai pilo phir chale jana – aajao mein kaali chai bana deta hoon,” Kisang offered, and I gratefully accepted. The camp dog decided we were okay and disappeared from sight after a final sniff.

Kaali chai with Kisang 01

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

We went back to the blue tent and Kisang brought out a small aluminium pot and went off uphill to fetch water from a brook. Soon enough he had a stove going and water waiting to boil.

Kaali chai with Kisang 02

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Kaali chai with Kisang 05

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Meanwhile, Kaushal and The Wayfarer strode into the little camp. I apprised them of the information Kisang had provided and Kaushal went down to look at the trail down.

The Wayfarer and Upamanyu lay down on the green grass and rested their heads.

Kaali chai with Kisang 03

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Kaali chai with Kisang 04

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Eventually, after hot cups of black chai, we thanked Kisang and set off on the trail to the camping site.

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