The Curious Eye

Personal opinions on a variety of things

Posts Tagged ‘adventure

That was my moment, my time!

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I had recenty visited my native place with my family. This place called Taleran is in Junnar in Pune. It is a sleepy village where my family owns a small piece of land and a farmhouse. This place is laden with natural beauty and it is quite untouched thanks to it being landlocked by mountains from almost all sides. These mountains are pretty tall and among the top peaks in the state of Maharashtra, India.

On the last day of my visit and after spending a peaceful time with family, it was time to return the next morning. Throughout the entire trip there was one dormant wish in my heart that I wanted to visit a particular point in the mountains high up out there from where we can see the other side of the valley.

The beauty of this point is that, it lies between two huge peaks and it is surrounded by clouds most of the time. Its extremely windy and the view is amazing. As a kid I had been to this point along with my elder brothers and uncles. We took our own sweet time and helped each other out to reach there. The road to that point is not a steep climb but it weaves through deep jungle and dense bush. The wildlife in this jungle has reduced drastically due to various reasons, but nevertheless it is still prone to predators. So going alone is not really advised.

Now, since it was the last day and it was 4pm already, I planned to spend the last few hours of the day without doing much. But a thought just ran through me. What if I dont get time later to do this? I have been thinking of visiting that point for long but all life-reasons come in my way. The reasons are valid, they always make sense. But no matter what they have come in my way and the desire has remain alive, suppressed at the back of my mind and remained unfulfilled. And the only consolation I give myself is that I will come and visit soon. And it was then that epiphany struck me, that this is the time and the moment. There is never going to be a next time. Even if there might be a next time, it will be after many years. And who knows what reasons I will have then to visit or not visit that point.

Now this thought changed everything. It changed the whole game. There was a sudden urge within me to visit that point. I realized that this moment is ephemeral and logic is forever. Which one should I choose now? Logic or Moment? The odds were completely against me. The sun was setting and darkness was going to creep through forest soon. The tall mountains were determined to drown the sun behind them rapidly. I only had a blur memory that the point lies somewhere North but the path was unknown. I was alone. The jungle was dense. It probably had wild animals lurking in the evening searching for water and prey. Both my ankles were recovering from a sports injury and were prone to another recurrence if I expose myself to physical activity. There was no network or electronic device with me nor was there any safety gear or emergency supplies with me. No water or anything to eat either. There was nobody in the forest and the window to complete this expedition and return home safely was small. Time was running out. If at all there was anything it was this tremenduous urge to fulfil that desire. This urge was much more than merely climbing that mountain and returning back. It packed in itself the energy of all desires unfulfilled, obstructed by logic, reason and conditions all the time. It was a rebellious outburst straight from my heart. And I knew that if I suppress it now, it will be logically sound but deep down I will regret that I did not grab the moment when it was meant to be and for not taking my chances.

With all these thoughts my heart started racing wild. I knew I was going to plunge. I knew I’d hate myself later for ignoring such a moment. And so I plunged. Into the madness of my urge.

What kicked instantly within me was an instinct that I’d never experienced before. It was wild, determined, willing to go at any length to survive. Of course I was scared of the risk, the possibilities and all dangerous outcomes, and that’s what made it exciting. My brain was on super alert mode and making quick decisions. It was all happening on its own. The only thing I was very sure of was that I had to survive, no matter what happens. The jungle had many paths but all unknown to me. Every moment I was making sure my calculations were correct, my choices were right on all fronts. From the tiniest of the movements avoiding thorns, and shaky grounds to making sure the road I am taking doesnt meet a dead end into a dense insurmountable bush, I had activated some sort of super brain that I never knew I had. I was on an alert mode like never before. I was ensuring that I do not get bitten by a snake or a wild animal or my ankle doesn’t get injured by one wrong step or I do not fall into a ditch. I kept with myself a stone and a stick to repeal any wild animal attack. My instinct was automatcially running simulations of possible dangerous outcomes and guided me through them and made sure I am ready for anything that happens. Absolutely anything!
Not just precise and perfect movement through the jungle was necessary but also speed on an uphill climb had to be perfect.

I quickly learnt that how I chose my path made all the difference. I did not want to land in some other spot altogther. And given the tall trees, the visibility was low. It was difficult to figure out where a particular path was leading. Also, it wasn’t easy to switch paths as they were surrounded by dense thorny bush. So, if I had missed the right path I had to either go a long way back and take a u-turn or hope that the path will eventually merge into the correct one. So, the choices were difficult. To overcome it I had to use nearby tall peaks as my reference points. Without a reference point I would get lost, so I chose only those points from where I was able to find my directional references on a regular basis. And it worked wonders. However, I did commit some mistakes. The sheer visibility of a reference point tempted me to take up a path which was longer than required. Deep down I felt something was wrong the way I chose that path. It took me longer to reach the point. I later discovered that the other path which had lesser visibility had a shorter route to reach the point. Nevertheless having discovered that I have taken a wrong path, I had to speed up so I can get back on track and intersect the old path. There was no chance I could have taken a U-turn. I was deep into the woods already.

But speeding up meant even faster dodging of branches, rocks, slippery surfaces, not stepping on layers of leaves because they could be concealing small ditches, rocks or uneven surfaces that can injure me. Every step I planted on the ground also had to be right, else I would have severaly injured my ankle. And if I’d have screwed up my ankle that would have been a big mess. A huge mess infact! Because that means I would have had to limp all my way back to the village at a snails pace through the woods in darkness with no one around accompanied by nothing by sharp pain. So there was no fucking way I could have afforded to get injured.

Finally I knew I was inching closer, but heck I landed on the wrong mountain. And although I wasn’t very far off the point where I had to reach the connecting part between the two mountains was dangerous. The cliff was steep and if I’d missed a step, I would fall down. For a moment, I thought I have gone nuts completely. Let’s get back home. This is it. Enough of all of this. But I had already put all reason behind me and decided to moved on. I wouldn’t have taken the chances but deep in my gut I knew that I can make it. That I can cross it. So, I dropped fear out of my mind. Decided to remain cool about it, not look down and took one step at a time to cross the steep cliff. What makes it crazy is that I wasn’t on top of the mountain standing on some surface, I was standing on a slant slope of the cliff and without gear. Right now it is fantasy, back then it was survival. One step at a time I crossed it and wooohooooo, I fucking made it. I landed on the spot. It was the most joyous moment. There was no one. It was me and the beauty of that the spot. The wonderful view and cool breeze but most importantly, the realization that I had made it. It felt powerful. It was a ridiculously powerful feeling. I let myself experience that power that I had unlocked. I opened my arms wide and allowed myself to get drenched in the feeling of awesomeness of conquering fear, following my wild instinct and doing what my heart said. I felt emancipated. It is a moment I will always cherish in my heart. I immersed myself deep in that liberation and self-knowledge and power. The whole experience was almost religious. I am not a complete atheist, but it was that moment when I felt there could be a god and that god is this human desire to fly without wings. It drenched my soul.

I spent my evening out there. And then logic kicked in again as usual. I had to return. And this time I knew I cant go down using the same spot. One reason was because that path was crazy, esp the cliff part and another reason was that now I knew it and it wasn’t worth the experience to go back the same route. So yet again I took my chances and then walked on a completely different path. What I saw was one of the most beautiful scenes of my life. The sun rays were golden and horizontally slipping through the clouds and through the mountain crevices. The wind was cool and and the evening stars had started decorating the purply sky. There were large grass fields on top of the mountain and the they were dancing in the golden aura of sun and the breeze that was flowing through them was like a paradise river. If I have ever experienced a zen moment, this was it. I was alone and nobody in the world who knew me had an inkling of what I was experiencing. It was just me, my spirit and this beautiful nature. I decided to experience this moment as long as possible and walk the entire length of the fields. They were enchanting, mesmerizing and very beautiful. It was paradise on earth. I wanted to immerse myself in it as much as possible, as long as possible.

But like all good things, this too was finite. And by this time the sun was completely down on the village and the fields. The light was dimming fast now. And I could see my village far away from the point, but that particular route was going in the wrong direction. Now, I was on top of the mountains and the only way I could hope to make it in time was by taking a shorter route. Shorter route clearly meant – climbing down a cliff! How can I climb down a cliff without gear? I stood there for a while until it struck to me that I can by descend off a dry waterfall bed. And I knew that was it. So, I first stood on top of it. There were boulders embedded in the bed, protruding coz of soil eroded by water. The presence of those boulders assured that there is a good chance I can use them as support. But this time I did a thorough analysis of how I can climb down rather than just taking a wild plunge. However, once I started descending I had a realization – I thought that the rocks and boulders in the waterfall bed will be strong enough to support me while descending. But that wasn’t the case and instantly I knew this is going to be the toughest part of the entire expedition. But again there was no way out.

I began the descent. There were huge chances of getting injured. I had to carefully plan how much pressure I am putting on my ankle. One wrong step and I am going to fall onto ground directly, tumbling through the waterfall bed. Moreover, the bed was devoid of trees. So there was no support except for some creepers. But these creepers too were flimsy and using them as support ropes meant disaster. The smalled boulders embedded inside the vertical face of the bed had exfoliated due to heat, so they were breaking into pieces even if I crush them with my fingers. Moreover, most part of the slant surfaces where I could step was covered with dust, pebbles and dry summer leaves, making it extremely dangerous and slippery. It was becoming adventurous. At every step I made sure I find my proper support and only then descend. That’s common sense right? Yeah it is but the surface was scary and I spent a lot of time groping around sensing the strength and stability of each supporting rock, creeper or crevice. And time was running out! It was getting darker. I had to improvise support using whatever I could find and descend safely. At one point there was no support and I was completely stuck. The only choice I had was to leave the support completely, leap towards a nearby branch of a tree and hope that I catch it and hope that it supports my 85kg weight without breaking. Even if it does break I had to make sure I fall correctly on a slant surface, without plumetting downwards rapidly. There was absolutely no other alternative than this crazy stunt. I would not say that the jump was long and that I was airborne like an arboreal jumping off trees. But it was quite a scary jump. As I leapt, I clung tightly to the tree with all my limbs. Pheww!!!

After the high drama, the remaining part was more of improvisation. The slant had already reduced but the slipperyness had increased. I was able to descend gradually using a long solid stick as an extra leg. Finally, the descent became easier and I was able to wade through the rocks and bolders of the water bed towards the village farms.

When I reached the farms after all of this, some villagers who were busy wrapping their farm-work approached me and asked me about my whereabouts and what was I doing in the jungle alone. I told them about my short trip to the point. And they were shocked to know that I went so fast, all by myself and came back in time. Some of them had seen me run uphill when I was at the base of the mountain so they were pretty curious of how I managed to do all of this quickly. Ofcourse that’s when you get to play the role of an action-hero who walks away from fire without looking at it whenever he achieves something great, right? This was my moment, my climax. I was not going to be modest. I said “bleh, that was easy buddy” and smirked and walked away in style. But inside me my heart was still pounding. Although I was feeling like an action hero (Tom Cruise from MI – Though I did not have his exploding glares), I was more or less like this joyous child feeling proud to have done what was meant to be done. Yes, I made it against all odds. I followed my heart and made it happen. It was great. It was stupid, but great!!

This was my moment, which I grabbed from the universe. For myself. The feeling was ecstastic and it will remain forever with me. 🙂

Thank you and hope you enjoyed reading my experience!

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Written by pghode

April 7, 2015 at 4:48 am