Dentam, West Sikkim, Sikkim, India, 16 June 2018, 1610 hours:
There is something primeval about the Himalayas. A wildness that is both, nurturing and dangerous, at the same time. And one has to walk alone along any path, road or trail to feel this primeval nature of these mountains. And this is truest in the monsoon season, for it is then that one is truly face to face with the nature of that which is inside us.
Driving isn’t the same thing. Nor is a walk in the company of others. Walking along a lonesome road shrouded in dense fog with the rain pouring down on you is an exciting experience one must try in Sikkim. There is nought that one can see beyond 20 feet on any side. The trees are mere shadows at first and then not even that. Groves of bamboo are beautiful to behold in this greyscale. Till a single drop of rain falls off a bamboo leaf perched just above your eye level – falling off the leaf in melancholic inevitability, and then splashing on the grass below. That’s when you realise the rain has stopped and everything is so silent that you heard the drop of rain hit the grass. And a chill runs down your spine, and the beautiful, romantic fog suddenly starts looking gray and cold. A branch cracks and you turn, noticing for the first time that the edge of an ancient, half-ruined structure made of moss-covered black stone is staring at you from the mountainside. You look closer, and walk into an open clearing beyond the dense undergrowth, your heart pounding and standing in front of you is the vague outline of an age old Chorten – but how did it get here in the middle of nowhere?
… then the rain starts again and you start breathing easy.
Your blood is now roaring in your veins. The hair on your head is wet because you forgot to don the jacket hood. The cold is seeping into your breath and you have never felt more alive than this very moment.
Yes. There is something gloriously primordial about walking a Himalayan trail in dense rain…