Monday, October 16, 2017

My Trek to Kumar Parvatha (KP)

Last weekend, that is, October 14-15 , 2017 I was on a trek to Kumar Parvatha. I had registered for the event to see for myself how difficult the trek is, as it is generally considered to be. I was excited, eager  to experience its alleged strenuous nature and most importantly test how fit I was. Friday night, I had a dosa around 7pm and began anticipating the journey. However, in less than an hour my stomach bloated up, I felt considerable uneasiness in my abdomen region and I was feeling very uncomfortable. Notwithstanding all this unexpected turn of events after eating a dosa (I am not gonna eat again from the same place), I decided to reach the pick-up point. All this while praying that the tightness in the abdomen region will plummet and give me some mental relief. I was in a not very good state of mind, then. I called the organizer and asked if there is any provision for postponing the trek, to which he replied that all the arrangements had been made and expenses paid, therefore, there was no possibility of such provision. I thanked him and did not cancel my entry. I decided to travel with all that discomfort and a state of mind which is very unlikely of me . The enthusiasm and verve which everyone could conspicuously see on my face since morning had been robbed by this untimely abdominal quagmire. And I do not know what kept me going, may be, I just went with the flow and said to myself, "I will see whatever happens". 

The way to Kukke (where KP is located) was bad, the roads full of potholes; there were installments of sleep rather than a more fulfilling sleep. Around 6:30am we reached Kukke and after freshening up and breakfast began the trek. I believe that for the first time I was carrying a backpack on trek (a sleeping bag included). Usually, it is dumped at a lodge and what we carry is only snack to energise us on the way. But from the base station to Bhattar Manne (7km from base station), which was to be our first milestone, it was required that all that stuff was carried which would then be dumped at the Forest Department. From Forest Department begins the final lap of the trek. It was a Saturday morning, usually on Saturday mornings I am doing my leg workout in gym and rejoicing looking at the sweat which adorns my body while working out, but here I was morphed into a walking pail of water. I am not joking, I feel that if I were to add every amount of sweat I have shed so far in my life, it would stand nowhere to the amount I shed during those 7km till Bhattar Manne. Feeling like this which would make me proud in gym, the feeling of sweat dripping from my face, had become so mainstream, I had become like a mobile cloud. Here and there and everywhere it was as if I was leaving the footprints in form of  sweat drops. It was one hell of a feeling, this was definitely more challenging  than doing squats on Smith machine. I still have vivid memories of that; it seemed such a rare delicacy to savor. The me, totally drenched in sweat from head to toe, with hair wet as if out from shower continue to remain one of my fondest memories of the trek. The way to Bhattar Manne tests your leg strength. It is not that steep a slope as from Bhattar Manne to KP. Further, it is still lenient as to offer paths of less   inclines, so you seem to    have times of relaxation in between intermittently. Many people were climbing down as we were climbing up. I was wearing my favorite shirt, which says, "The Beast Never Stops". A man who was descending, I saw him resting on a rock. He looked at the sparkling me (in sweat) and with a smile on his face, repeated the lines on my tee shirt. I tapped on his shoulder as I continued to move and uttered, "I am discovering". 

There were many people who were trekking on that day; some were climbing down, some were ascending, some were resting while some were having a good time with their beloveds on the side of streams on the path. As for me, I was busy scaling the heights, talking to self, talking to air, to ether, thanking every tree on the way which lent its hand to me, thanking every root which  stood strong enough to bear the weight of my body. I rested once on that 7km stretch, second time to drink water and eat some dry fruits to fuel my co-operative body. On the trek I also met a lot of people at whom if we look our first reaction would be, "Wow ! Now that is guts". On various treks I have seen many people who are overweight and that has led me to learn that may be there is no relationship that strong between the extra-kilos and the heights one can scale. It obviously takes lot of mental strength to challenge oneself to trek to difficult terrains when you know you are not at an ideal weight. I did appreciate a lady without sounding offensive. I believe my words were, "I am very proud to see you here". 

Bhattar Manne happened, I relaxed there for half an hour, had lunch (Anna & Sambhar). I was happy that I could eat as much rice I wanted for I was shedding calories and required carbohydrates. However, I chided the tempted me and maintained good proportion of rice enough to sustain me for the next phase of the trek. We dumped our sleeping bags and tents at the Forest Department and with few snacks, water bottle and a rain-coat tee began our journey to nail KP. The joy of less weight was profound and very encouraging. Somehow it had filled me with much more renewed energy, vigor, strength and confidence. But the path was interesting. Almost 90% of the path was incline and I learnt that that is what is referred as tough by the trekkers. However, it was doable. There were foreigner girls also and they were ahead of all of us; never stopping, going on, climbing up, faster and faster. That was encouraging and I felt proud of them. It seemed as if no incline was steep enough for them. While climbing, entire time the breeze was cool, refreshing as if festooning our path with its energy and instilling in all of us the required strength to reach till the peak (1,712 metres). 

After some time we reached Sesha parvatha and the view from there was breath taking. Looking down it seemed as if the Earth was engulfed in fog, there was nothing to be seen around, except for the Divine Beauty of nature spared by the atrocious hands of Human Being. I stood on the big boulders and that zephyr is still fresh in my mind, the kind that no world-class AC can provide. I do not know how I felt, I had become devoid of thoughts, utterly, purely, absolutely blank. I just stood marvelling at the majesty of Nature.  From there, Prasanna (one of our warm-hearted guides) told us that it would take another 30 minutes to peak. The excitement knew no bounds, but it was not the kind of wild excitement, it was the one defined by equanimity. Finally, we began towards the KP peak and taking step by step, crossing boulder by boulder, making path on the rocky terrain reached the coveted peak. I was not tired, I had never felt tired during the course of the trek (There are situations in life when getting tired is not an option). There was something that had kept me going and I do not know what that was. But I do realize that "With God everything is possible". 

Trekking, I believe teaches us some of the greatest lessons of life and that there is an insane amount of striking similarity between trekking and life (topic of my upcoming posts). But most importantly it teaches us empirically about what can happen if we just keep on taking single step at a time. All of us were taking one step at a time, left, right, left and right, up-down, up-down. That's all. I do not think there can be any better proof of what Lao Tzu says in Tao Te Ching, "The journey of 1000 steps begins with first step" than trekking. And as Wayne Dyer had added to it, taking one step at a time, that is doable, that can be done. Period.

 There was a point in trek when I was questioning my sanity, I kept on going and talking to myself, laughing at myself. I converted this trek to an ongoing conversation with the Universe throwing questions which I believe are on my way to be answered. There were times when there was no one around, lost to my own about figuring out the way it seemed scary many times but every time it happened I followed the path, a faith that someone was around. This again has mind-blowing congruence with life and I am eager to write about it in my next post. Sometimes when I felt lost, I would look at ground, an unclaimed shoe here and there, a chocolate wrapper, a single sock would confirm    that I was on the right track. Even in group treks, it is very easy to become aloof from everyone; you sort of get separated and get joined to your own being propelling self by courage and faith. Trek is like a journey within, a difficult trek is like a journey within devoid of all distractions of life, left to our own solitude, which initially seems like a paralysis and then becomes our greatest Guide.

At Kumar Parvatha Peak

I am really grateful to Prasanna and Ved (our co-ordinators). Prasanna is extremely fit, no wonder he is part of the wonderful Bangalore Mountaineering Club (BMC).

The Trek is doable and I am not saying it because I did it (Come on, there are foot prints on Moon), I am saying it because it just demands that one is fit and strong. It is a beginning to another level of fitness, a higher level. You can do it. I feel its difficulty is exaggerated, KP only teaches us how strong we are. Some people will say, that I say all this because I am fit, which I believe is all the more reason to believe because I was not this fit since my  birth. We can all be insanely fit if we choose to be and nothing tastes as good as being strong. 

The trek was a singular event but it has given me so much to write about that one blog post does not seem enough. And then there are conversations which are wordless, which even words will shy from explaining; silent musings about life. Some blog posts are safe kept in my heart because if I strive to bring them down to the level of keyboard I know I will not be satisfied by the rendering of amorphous beauty into tangible text. 

Trekking is a wonderful outdoor physical activity, one must experience it multiple number of times in their lives. I am eternally thankful to BMC for organizing such a wonderful event and conducting it with grace and concern for all the participants. 

From here on, we only up the GAME! 


Monday, October 2, 2017

The wound does not need the healing, the wound is the healing

The word "Healing" has always confounded me. I used to feel that I understand its import but I feel that as with almost everything in the world, this one also is not the kind which can be understood once and for all. I feel poetry will be the best way to convey what my heart has to say:

A wound it was,
"If I allow it to heal", I thought,
It would heal, 
Then I'd run and then I'd jump,
Hop and Jump and glide around,
I thought all this and
dreamt of it,
day and night and night and day.
I thought that I knew healing,
And then when the wound will heal,
That I'd heal.

Time  passed.
And now I have learnt,
How wrong was I to feel,
That I knew the meaning of getting healed.
Today I know,
The wound didn't need healing,
The wound was the healing. 
Healing the many parts in me,
that clung to the permanence of my physical being,
the strength of my knee, the glow on my face,
the power in my biceps,
and the kick of my leg.

The wound didn't need healing, 
The wound was the healing.
I can apply this to so many situations,
scenes and cases in life that goes by.
My friend went away,
no message, no "bye", no "see you",
nothing did she say.
And I believed if I let it stay,
The gap will heal me, 
And after I am healed, 
The friend will come my way.
Could not  I have been more wrong.
Little did I know back then, 
The gap was the healing, 
The departure was the healing,
The disappearance was the healing.
Healing is what happens,
When the expectations after healing are,
not in mind or in heart,
when healing is allowed,
slow or fast.

So, today a little wiser I am,
And I know this well,
The wound does not need healing,
the wound is the healing. 
Togetherness, Separation, Healing, Togetherness,
this is not how it works,
Togetherness, Separation, Healing, More Love, More Healing, FREEDOM
This is I believe how it works.

I have learnt that spending time anticipating that wound will get completely healed is living in a lie because that is not allowing us to see at the wound properly and the treasure it has at its core, this expectation is acting as a veil to the further liberation that is waiting to happen. I have learnt that expectations of flow of events after healing has happened impedes in allowing healing to take its natural course. Healing then becomes a means to an end, and that however, is not healing. Do you know that every moment of your life you are getting healed?  You get something you are healed, you get rid of something you are healed, you separate from something you are healed, you meet someone you are healed. I am learning that every moment of my life works in my best interest and that I am getting healed, every second.Period.  And I know I have just scratched the surface of healing. :)

The wound does not need the healing, the wound is the healing.

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