Talosh to Dandi Bagh, Himachal Pradesh, India, 12th September 2016, 5:45 pm:
Uncle told me that the walk from Talosh to Dandi Bagh would take half an hour. We left the main road a little after the house and took a small ‘pagdandi” path. A few minutes into this path and we ran into thorn bushes and shrubs all around. I couldn’t see any path ahead if I stood upright. Slowly I started crouching while walking as I could see the small brown path in between the bushes.
Gradually, it became a really tough ordeal. Uncle was walking ahead, using his walking stick to clear the bushes. I was struggling behind him, trying to push my way through.
My backpack got stuck at one place and I couldn’t budge. I called out to Uncle to help me get out and he plainly told me to pull myself out. I had already tried doing that but gave another sharp tug and found myself free of one thorny bush and ready to walk into the next one.
It was growing darker by the minute and both Uncle and I were in a hurry to reach Dandi Bagh. After the first 10 odd minutes, Uncle asked me whether we should turn back. I had already endured a lot on this patch already and if anything else had to be further dealt with, I preferred it to be in the direction of, rather than away from, Dandi Bagh.
A few minutes ahead, Uncle further increased my troubles by telling me that we might be lost. Well, this is all I needed to hear at such an occasion. However, I kept my cool, focused and showed him a path a little distance ahead. That gave us the energy burst to move ahead again.
I was sweating profusely again and there was no place to stand upright to wipe it all away. All the energy gained through the lemon tea at Talosh had evaporated into thin air. My thin dry-fit full sleeve shirt was drenched, torn at a few spots.
As this struggle kept growing on my mind and body, we finally came out into the open, into a pine forest. Aaah, I could see the house where we were headed. What a relief…