The air is so fresh, the ambience so soothing and everything here seems so peaceful. I am in Kasol, Himachal Pradesh on a solo trip. I am sitting by the riverside and all I can hear is the sound of waves flowing effortlessly. But even the sound of waves is so soothing that I feel immensely at peace.
There is a range of mountains behind me, a river in front of me and I am surrounded by the trippy forest. What else one could ask for?
Every time a cool breeze greets me, it feels as if it is trying to say something in my ears. As if, it is trying to talk to me. Travelling alone is fun. Although, it feels weird at times, when you pass by a group of people or when you see people enjoying from a distance but it feels great when you randomly bump into people and hang around with strangers.
These are people, whom you have never met and never possibly meet in the future.
There are people, who think it is sad to travel alone. They feel that people, who travel alone are in a need of company and they look down upon you with a great amount of sympathy in their eyes.
But it takes a lot to wander alone. When you are travelling alone, you are no one and also you are someone. You can be anyone you wish to be. You don't have to pretend to be someone. Or you can pretend to be anyone.
When you are travelling with someone, you have to be someone too. You are either a friend or someone's boyfriend/girlfriend. You are either someone's husband/wife or son/daughter. You are either someone's father/mother or brother/sister. But you are someone.
But when you are wandering alone, you are just yourself and nothing more. You are in your most original form, the only form you feel you can't show it to anyone dear to you because you are afraid of being judged. But now you are not afraid of being judged by anyone.
You meet new people, you listen to their stories, you come across new experiences and then you bid goodbye to these people. Sometimes there isn't any goodbye. Suddenly, for a time being your life is connected with their lives. And when you bid them goodbye, you carry ahead with your life. You are back to your own world, with your own people but this time with a better perspective.
Sometimes, the stories that you hear and the experiences that you come across, change the way you look at life. It sometimes changes you as a person. And then you are never the same.
The only way we can evolve and keep evolving is when we give others a chance to express themselves and we do nothing but just sit back and listen to what they have to say. When you are listening, you are always learning. When you are talking, you will only talk about things that you already know. You are not gaining anything and the only person that is gaining anything out of it is the one listening to your story.
It does get boring at times when you have to eat alone or maybe sit alone. But once, you have learned to enjoy your own company, you can enjoy it with anyone.
The last leg of this trip proved out to be one of the memorable ones. I was supposed to return back to Delhi but then I don't know what happened. I woke up that day and felt like staying for another day. I needed one more day, I told myself.
Everything here is so fresh and pure that you don't feel like going back to the impure world.
You don't feel like going back to the simulation, where you do what you have been asked to do. You will work until you exhaust yourself and console your heart with the pay cheque that you receive on the last day of every month.
Here, even if you are a millionaire, the mountains don't care about you. You will have to climb to the top like every other soul. But once you are back to your world, you go back doing what you are best in doing - you wear a mask.
You hide your fear and insecurities beneath that mask. You hide your desires and aspirations beneath that mask. You are smiling but you are not happy from within. You know that you are tired of the materialistic world but you don't want to leave your comfort zone. You tell yourself, this is what I am supposed to do every day and you continue with your life.
You will continue wearing that mask for the rest of the year until you take another vacation and go back being what you are and who you are.
When I came here, I was carrying a baggage on my shoulders of recent past. I felt burdened with pain and grief and despair and betrayal. I felt weak from within. I felt angry from within. I was anxious all the time.
But each day, when I climbed these mountains, I realised I was feeling much lighter. While climbing these mountains, I obviously took a lot of breaks and pauses to catch my breath. And every time, I took a pause, it gave me ample amount of time to reflect.
I was sitting by the roadside, over a few thousands of meters above sea level with a huge mountain facing me. I looked at the gigantic mountain that stood tall in front of me and when I compared the size of my baggage with everything that surrounded me, they all felt too small. And I felt stupid to break my head over and over again for a long time.
Shit happens in life. And then, you move on. There is no point in holding yourself back. There is no point to remain stuck somewhere, which you know is only going to affect you and no good that will ever come out of it.
At the end of the day, what matters is that what you are doing about the issues. If you are doing nothing, then they might never leave you. And so, it is better to accept and embrace those issues and the choices you have made in life.
The choices that you have made, it will lead you somewhere. Some will put you on a dead end but then when you reach there, you have to muster up the courage you retrace your steps back and find a way out of the maze.
I always wonder how beautiful it would have been if I could always travel. It opens up your mind and clears your head. You bunk at cheap motels, carry only what is important and you travel the whole day. You eat new varieties of food, you pen down your thoughts and feel the thrill of belonging to everywhere and at the same time nowhere.
What good one gets out of living in big cities other than stress, boring and mundane life, pollution and the superficial stranger you become to please everyone around you. And you do it in exchange for a bunch of notes that define the entire human race now - money. And the money you make, you give it to everyone around you. You exhaust most of it by paying your bills and fulfilling your needs. You actually don't happen to do much with this money.
But then that is what the society has always taught us. We study, go to school and college and then we get a job. We fall in love and marry someone and start a family. We buy a big house and a big car and work our ass off every day to pay our loans.
You keep working tirelessly and aimlessly, only to fulfill the needs of your family or living up to their expectations or living the way everyone else is living. But why? Because we were told to do so. And so, you have to do it.
No one wants to break the chain and no one thinks about going beyond the obvious. Even if a few think about it, the lessons that were taught since childhood keeps coming back. And those, who break the chain are labelled as bad examples. But why? It takes a lot to survive rather than just leading a comfortable life.
Even I am afraid of telling people that I don't want to settle down at one particular place. I want to change cities every now and then. I want to live across the length and breadth of the world. I want to live across different planes and learn about the world and its existence. I want to explore my limitations and not restrict myself within a shell.
Living without the internet is the most peaceful part of travelling. You are not annoyed by constant notifications and messages and calls. You don't have to worry about replying to the messages or check your emails. And then you realise how much time one can save without using your phone and use that time to maybe explore, write, read, play a sport, listen to music, eat and sleep.
But we eat less, sleep less and spend most of our time either on phone or browsing or being worried about our work. Now, I am sure many people will form an opinion about me. Some would even say that a few days amid mountains have influenced me so much. Well, it only opens me up whenever I come here and I feel really sad when I have to leave this beautiful place. But then like everyone else even I am a part of a chain and unless I don't break it, there is no meaning of leading a superficial life.