I boarded the train from Delhi to Shimla in the starry nights of December winters. This was my first time ever to go somewhere all alone and that too unplanned. I don’t know what it was, my excitement or the fear of unknown or the cocktail of both but I was feeling something inside me, something warm and something which I haven’t felt before in my life. I was sleepless, the simple thought of wandering into the wilderness and being witness to nature’s song of beauty was itself enthralling and was enough to take away all the dreams. But who needs dreams when reality itself becomes so much like fantasy. I don’t know when I slept but when I woke up the train was about to reach Shimla. I deboarded the train and get off to embark on this journey of finding myself. In my opinion when you travel without purpose life throws you back to yourself, again and again, you find yourself, again and again. You are filled with new and strange sensations, which you think you can explain to others but only you can understand them. I asked the chai wallah at the station for the directions to the Kampa valley, seeing me from head to toe he asked “ to bhaiyya pahad chadne aaye ho ”, I, blushing, said yes and he explained the whereabouts of the valley and gave me the delicious honey tea to drink, “my specialty” he added as I drank up the tea a bit greedily. After that, I, all pumped up just by thinking about the prospects of hiking and wandering in the lap of nature, started off. I took a bus and took the window seat as if I couldn’t afford to miss a single view the place has to offer. I was continuously looking out of the window, drinking the scenery, the silence of the mountains was seeping inside me and calmness was closing all around me, and just at the right moment, I dozed off. When I woke up there was nothing but serenity and a strange ecstasy surrounding me like a blanket. I was seeing things differently, a new silence had descended inside me, a song of nothingness.

The journey had begun.       

Aashutosh Dube