They say that sometimes you need to just go out on your own. Its just the thing that shows what you are made of. And sometimes its just the thing that you need to find yourself, discover what you truly are beneath the layer of work pressure, stress and constant fight for survival in the concrete world.
I decided to take that plunge just when I thought it was getting a bit too much for me, when I thought that I needed a release very badly.
A friend told me about a perfect getaway, a trek in the unexplored hills of Mizoram. One week of nothing but pure natural beauty of the North East. And so I took the bait. And boy was it worth it.
Thanks to the my glorious friends at Air India, I almost missed out on this trek. Air India has this knack of making the simplest things look like the launch of a satellite and they stayed true to their legacy. I reached the capital city of Aizawl a day late, a few hours more and I would have missed the trek.
Aizawl is a beautiful city. It is set up just like any other city that you would see in a hilly area, but the vibe that this city gives off is so unique. Everywhere you see smiling faces, faces that are eager to help, to please. And I dont think that I have seen that anywhere else.
The hostel of YHAI- the youth hostel association of India is about a half an hour drive from Aizawl. The guys at YHAI were really helpful at making me and all the other fellow participants of the trek feel at ease. The dormitories were pretty basic but well maintained. We had a short interaction with our two guides who were to accompany us. Mama and Zika, two of the most awesome guys I will ever meet in my life waved their hands at us as they were introduced. We were soon asking them our doubts about the trek and hoping that their repeated statements of the trek being not that tough were true.
Being so far east meant that daylight disappeared at 5 in the evening. Hence the body clock went haywire and by the time it was 9 we were all tucking into our beds, under the warm blankets, hoping for the start of something special the next day.
Aizawl to Vaipuanpho
I woke up quite early the next day, the sun was in our eyes by 5 am, another side effect of being in the east. As we looked down the hillside we were greeted with an absolutely pristine view of the hills, covered by a thin white sheet of cloud, as if it was a blanket over the hills to keep them warm.
From there it was a gradual downhill slope to a small dam, where we stopped to have our packed lunches. And then another couple of hours of uphill walk later, we were there, at our first campsite, Vaipuanpho, nestled in a small pocket of clearing by the side of the road.
Vaipuanpho to Ailawng
Today was the shortest of our walks. Yesterday we had walked almost 15 kms but today it was only 7. It was planned as we needed to reach Ailawng early. There was a caving activity planned there for which we needed to reach by lunch. We were all happy thinking that it was a short journey but our relief only lasted till we saw the evil smile on Mama's face.
We rested at a huge rock. I slipped on a moss covered stone and I could only stop my fall with my chin. So with a swollen chin I moved forward, uphill again through the jungle as we moved to the tiny but beautiful village of Ailawng.
It was an adrenaline pumping experience, crawling, sliding, ducking through the crevices of the cave. Their were points when you would see nothing below but just hear the trickle of water and one had to make a chimney slide supporting our weights on the rocks on either side. There was also a point where I actually got stuck, the whole huge body if mine refusing to go through jeopardizing not just my trip but that of all others who were behind me. But some how I managed to sneak through, and come out of the rabbit hole at the other end, feeling that finally I had done something quite unique for a change.
The night at Ailawng was pretty cold, we were pretty high up and we had to go even higher the next day. It was a bunch of pretty much drained bodies that said good night to each other and crashed into their tents.
(to be contd..)
(to be contd..)