Monday, August 31, 2015

climb every mountain

yesterday marked the end of a trekking month. a few friends ("adventure lovers" is the official name we've given ourselves) decided we'll trek every weekend in August, and we succeeded, except that I missed trekking on my birthday weekend (although I'd have loved to do a trek in Goa, I somehow didn't think about it at the time 😁)

the reactions people give to my trekking habits vary, from mom's cynicism: "what's the use of trekking every weekend if you don't manage to lose weight", to my manager's advice "try to trek only on Saturday and rest on Sunday, you seem to be exhausted on Monday", to the majority of my friends saying I'm living the dream life: posting yummy food photos on Facebook all week, and spending every weekend trekking.

but trekking is more than just that. it's not just about getting fit, getting refreshed, and what not.

I love trekking because it feels natural. it feels like I'm using my body and mind for what they were designed to do. my body wasn't designed to spend long hours on a couch, or (over) drinking with friends. my mind wasn't designed to passively consume entertainment. to do the same things over and over again, expecting different results.

there's something about covering distances, conquering the unknown: hills, plains, valleys, streams, on my own two feet. there's something about honing that survival instinct. about rationing limited food and water and mental and physical energy, and enjoying it to the fullest. about embracing pain and discomfort till they cease to exist, or cease to matter. trusting instincts and abilities to get out of any situation I find myself in. making friends who I can trust and depend on, and work with as a team. people who share that passion. people who share my belief that survival is more than mere existence.

and most of all, there's something about enjoying being lost, and finding my way.

trekking is a metaphor for the journey of life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I turned 32 last weekend. took a 4-day mini vacation to celebrate it. rode off straight from office after work to goa, overnight. alone.

on most such rides, i would spend most of my time in introspection, but somehow, this time was different. i simply mentally switched off. i was just blankly riding through ghats and dense forest, clouds and rain. it felt awesome. I stopped counting hours and milestones.

when i reached goa it was noon, and I was quite tired. i wanted to nap, but instead I unpacked, cleaned the place a bit, showered, and set off alone to grab a bite and a beer. my fiancé arrived a couple of hours later (she flew down), and we spent most of the next 3 days just doing random stuff, me showing her around and trying to locate good places for her to visit and eat at. at midnight on my birthday, we were on the highway, somewhere between an art exhibition in a 350 year old mansion, and a club which had a live band belting out rock and roll hits from the last century.

i didn't cut my birthday cake until lunchtime, and it was just the two of us.

if my birthday is an indication of what lies ahead, i see myself spending more time with shruti and less with my friends, and being perfectly happy about it. i see myself being picky about what matters and what doesn't, and being quite headstrong about picking the former over the latter. i think life ahead is going to get more exhausting, and more full of ups and downs. i think despite all attempts to slow down and take it easy, i'm going to continue to push myself. I am going to have to pay more attention to my mental and physical health. i'm probably gonna be more dependent on shruti than I've ever been on anyone else. i'm probably gonna be more emotional when dealing with people I'm close to than I've ever been. i'm probably gonna question a lot of things I thought I figured long ago. maybe even disprove some of my assumptions. do unconventional things just because they feel right to me.

life no longer feels like it's running on autopilot. it feels more like racing up and down ghats on my bike. and surprisingly enough, this exactly the opposite of what I imagined it would be. but it's awesome. I look forward to each day with more curiosity and eagerness than ever. and i don't think any day is going to disappoint.

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