Monday, April 25, 2022

Stories on Wheels- Hitchhiking on Hills

As I got dropped at Chamba, a place in Uttarakhand, I had to travel to New Tehri. 20 KM away from the place I stood. Very near, I thought but, in hills it's not about the distance but, it's about the altitude and slopes. As I decided to walk with the rucksack, bags I have, I knew it's going to be tough one. 

The first thing I realized about this hitchhiking is that I got to walk a lot because, in hills, even if people want to help, they can't as it's not feasible to stop their vehicle on the slope. It's very dangerous. Even I don't want to cause such disturbance to any travelers. 

I trudged watching the  XUVs parked on the terrace. As I saw the gas, I remembered how people stood in queue waiting to get their gas cylinders. I watched the white daisies all over the cracks of the hills. Pine trees are straight as chalk, there's different green  everywhere. 

I walked and I didn't wanted to distract myself even with my humming. My voice seems to be a disturbance on the long walk I took. I walked for more than 30 minutes. As I continued walked, the road was big enough and not too sloppy to stop. I tried to raise my hand and ask for help. People here, do not feel bad, if they are not giving help, unlike plains, because, they can't and they've their own reasons which are very justifiable. If they stop at such slope, others behind them may have tough time to wait in such curvy roads. Despite all these, I never gave up and  took a little steps, covering a very little distance. I have no one to match the speed.  I walk at my own pace. 

In a white i10, came Saurav, who offered me help. Works for Disaster management and he was heading to work from his home. Over the distance, we discussed trees, pahadi songs, the way people are migrating and a lot about the tehri. Tehri is the story of loss. Many people have been evacuated places. Just to keep things in the memories, the places have been renamed to the old place in a new places. At one point, so involved was our discussion that he decided to stop the music and talk, only talk. 

We talked a lot about the pine trees and how often they have work during the rainy season. "Thank you so much" I mentioned. Arre, isme danyavaad dene mei kya haai, humko bhi accha laga, baat karne se. He came and shook hands and hugged. I was happy that, he enjoyed my company. 

Thanks saurav, he also suggested me where to drink the water.  I continued my walk. Stopping to observe the trees and walk down hills at time and up hill at time. The trees in hills are always straight, there are few trees which are adamant to take their own shape. Wherever you see, there's an toys of trees. I got reminded of people sitting in an auditorium. Walking acorss such sights and walking for long distances with luggage was a good task. 

I walked a long stretch untill, I took a break to share to people that I'm doing this. I took out phone, did some recording. Do I have to share about what I'm doing, I was in dilemma. I continued my walk. I chose not to even sing. I had to think twice before I sing out loud. There's pleasant silence that I don't want to disturb it at any point of time. 

I walked watching the daisies.  At one place, there's this beautiful spot where colorful bench had  a shelter. I took a break, stretching myself. Soon after that, instead of walking on the road, I crossed through the dried pines. I did a lot of sliding, jumping and i lost my phone enroute. 

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