We were moving. On a bus. Drizzling in Delhi just got over. The road was even but I was jumping cause it was the last seat. My fellow travelers were chit chatting, so I was happy with my earphones plugged in. Jumpy but at peace. The last trip we made was to Dhanaulti, Himachal Pradesh and it sucked big time. We got cheated by our drivers. Both the cars we rented left us behind while we were gulping vodka early morning. We were clicking pictures and having off jokes when we found out that our drivers left us behind. One of the driver had an old glitch with one of our guys. And we made the mistake of calling that same driver again for the trip. It was the perfect place and time for the driver to take revenge. Now lets skip that old folklore, for I’ll be focusing on the future rituals to come. We were going to Kasol and from there we would trek to Khir Ganga. That was the plan. But that didn’t happen.
We were six guys. At 7:43 PM, Friday, we were at Pahadganj, Delhi.
We were inside the bus for 12 hours. I joined the chit chatting too at the end. At 7:24 AM we were at Bhuntar and from there we took another bus to Kasol. Spent an hour in a cool dhaba with view not too great but the weather covered that.
The fog was hovering around the small mountain and the river. Bonti took the picture below. She was the last one to confirm that she is also coming with us. She was destined to come with us.
Saturday, 12:00 PM – We were at Green Park Café, waiting for Sohail and Yanick to call us if they find a better place to stay. We were at Kasol now. The charges at Green Park Café was Rs 800/- a night. That’s both good as well as bad for us. Bad because electricity was not to be seen since the evening before. Even the guys there didn’t know when it would return. Good because it was cheap. You put four guys in that room and no one complains. We arrived Kasol at 11:00 AM and since then we were looking for a good place to stay. Sohail booked few rooms over internet but we couldn’t reach there for it was too far from the town. Walking along Parvati River, we did one hour trek through the valley. Everyone was tired. You see, we were not habituated with treks.
Found a better option to stay, the Free Spirit Camp. On our way to Free Spirit Camp, Sohail was raided by a group of mountain dogs. See for yourself, one of them was humping Sohail’s bag.
So it was decided. We were staying at Green Park Café. Not everybody liked Free Spirit Camp. The plans changed again and again and in the process we wasted so much time. Pro-trip, always book your stay beforehand.
And then finally we were at Himalayan Camp, inside a tent. Chilling with Eddie Vedder’s Society. If you ever travel to Kasol, do carry with you the soundtrack for the movie Into The Wild.
Awantika was sharing her memories of a trip with Sohail. Yanick was having a long chat with Bonti. Rishi was out somewhere, that’s what Awantika said. It was a beautiful evening. Went smooth just like the cream we smoked. We got out of our tent, sat beside the River Parvati and smoked and chatted and took photos. This is when Bonti got herself introduced to the DSLR in a good way, she had a good teacher to learn from. Yanick was teaching Bonti how to use the DSLR. They would end up marrying each other.
Left to Right: Yanick, Bonti, Rishi, Sohail and Avantika.
Getting cigarettes was a mini adventure in itself. Me, Sohail and Rishi went to get cigarettes through the beautiful river side road. School children were getting back home. What was adventure for us, it was day to day walk for them. We took few photos on the way.
And then we came back to our tent.
On our way back to Delhi, the bus was stopped.
What? Who’s that? I was thinking.
Your fucking boss motherfuckers! Get up from your seat! It’s a police checking.
First Sohail and Yanick were checked for hash inside the bus. Then me and Rishi. How can we be spared right, specially me and Sohail looking like guys who goes up the mountains just for the smoke but people don’t understand that we love nature more than weed. Out of more than 30 people sitting inside the bus only the four of us were frisked. I asked God why? And God showed myself in the mirror. I didn’t ask any further question.
So the most tensed moment of the trip is penned down. Now let’s get down to the fun part.
At the tent, Saturday night, we got one and a half bottle of rum and some hash. Everyone drank but Rishi sure drank the most. He had to finish the whole bottle before he sleeps and in the process he would ruin everyone’s sleep. Played Bipul Chetri’s Ram Sailee ten times in continuance and asked everyone to wake up and listen.
Next morning was Sunday and it was going to be the most awesome Sunday for me in how many years I don’t know. The owner of Himalayan Tent told us not to go to Khir Ganga at that time because it was raining and the hike would be slippery making it dangerous and we altered our plan for Tosh. It was only in childhood when I enjoyed Sunday as I did that day. We went to Kasol market area to get cash out of the ATM only to find that the ATM wasn’t working. So we got up on a bus to Manikaran to try the ATM there but the Gods were not happy with us, maybe Satan was smiling? God again blessed Sohail with the idea of getting cash from a travel agency where you will be charged 5 percent every 1,000 rupees. Anyway our work was done. We got the money, to pay for the tent and the food.
While back from Manikaran to Kasol we walked.
The view was so good that it couldn’t be tiring.
We said goodbye to Kasol and headed for Tosh. Waited for the bus for an hour and in between Sohail and Yanick were rating the foreigner girls from 1 to 10. From what I know they couldn’t have given any girl less than 6, otherwise they must have been thinking of themselves as Tahir Shah. Me and Awantika were doing the same thing but we were checking out everything about them, their physique, their way of speaking, their habits. One of the guy was checking out Awantika and it caught my eye. I passed the message to her, and man, ask me how happy she was when I told her that. She was like, “Thank you God! The purpose of my life is done. Now you can kill me.”
Rishi and Sohail bought sun glasses for 200 rupees. I checked my wallet, 20 rupees. Someone brought mutton momo, fried chicken and eggs. Thank you whoever it was.
So the bus came. We climbed it. Got seats. Then again got into another bus for Bershaini. It took few hours to reach Bershaini. And then started our trek to Tosh.
In picture: Sohail(L), Awantika(R), behind Bonti(L), Yanick(R). The people behind took a short cut.
Rishi was as tired as you and me could get after doing what you don’t want to do but forced to do – walking.
Awantika seemed to enjoy the trek the most. She was always talking, something or anything. Man she can walk and talk.
After an hour’s trekking we reached the village of Tosh.
We thought our trek was over but the walk inside the village was the most challenging of all the walking we did in the last two days. You had to share the road with cows and horses. The horses were so smart that they would stop 10 steps away from you if you were going their way. So I decided to let them pass and they made it quick so that I don’t have to wait more. That was cool. After looking at three hotels we settled with the wooden floored one with the best view.
And then time flew. Drank vodka, smoked and ate good food. Everyone was drunk that night. The best place was the balcony where everyone sat and drank the same peg.
The next day
Had a healthy breakfast.
With this our 3 days trip ended. Thank God it was not more than that. I was penny less the whole trip and there is this feeling of guilt. You know what I mean.
Now hold on there. The story ain’t over. I got a question for you. We were checked at the bus right. We had the hash. But they couldn’t get it out of us. The police were given just one job and they couldn’t even do that. How did we get pass them?
This innocent looking girl had the hash, who didn’t get checked. You can tell that from her smile.
Legend has it that she still owns some.
It was one of the best trips ever..I really miss it. Thanks Manab for sharing this. Very well put into words and the photos are amazing. Makes me wanna go back in time and relive the moment. Gone but not forgotten!
Thank you Sohail. Glad you liked the read. We will soon travel together to make new memories.