It were the clouds, I swear. The fluffy white clouds soaked in the sunset at Fagu floating over the mountains like magic.
Spread over as far as I could see. With the sun rays making the blanket orange, then pink till twilight gobbled it all.
The next morning it was the dewdrops, you know.
I walked on the pebbled pathways with flowers keeping me company all through. While I looked at the peaks devoid of clouds, they danced in the breeze to seek attention, with dew drops shining on their shivering petals.
The dusk brought surprises too. The sweet scent of Serendipity of discovering a hidden valley of flowers in Sarahan while on a trail to see the Colourful tragopan. Walking on mossy tracks with forest fragrances rampant in the air.
It was magic I tell you. The rays over Shrikhand Mahadev lighting up the mountain and the bells of the Bhimakali temple Aarti announcing it.
There was energy and there was awe.
Wishes granted even before they were articulated.
It happened again. At the curves, when life was at the edge on NH 22, precariously holding on. With a deep gorge on one side and rocks on the other.
Getting lost weaved magic too. It led to goat trails and the roaring Baspa with deodhars lost in mist. It led to fairy tale houses and smiling locals in Batseri. It led to apples shining like red dots in the green.
And then next day it there was magic in solitude, in the silence in the thick mountain air, where I hear my own breathing, sitting on a rock with feet dipped in the Baspa’s coolness. There was a song in my head and an unsung tune. A happy one, leading to a spring in my step. All was well.
There was magic in this journey, in those lone walks of solitude, in finding bubbling streams and giggling rivers.
The magic returned. When drama enfolded over Kinner Kailash, with the mountains changing colours as the sun played hide and seek.
It returned with prayer flags fluttering in the cold breeze as I stood rooted at the monastery hearing Om Mane Padme Hum.
It returned when I saw the priceless smiles of the girls at the Baalika ashram and the kids who ran home after the school bell rung.
It returned when I tried to fathom the mystic energy at the sacred grove: of energy in trees and a song in the breeze.
It returned in random wanderings and silent ramblings. In the sound of singing cicadas and the rustle of leaves.
It returned when I encountered genuine hearts, helpful souls and a hospitality like none other.
When I stood on the edge of the Suicide point feeling grateful for this gift of life!
When I stumbled upon nature’s beauties : mushrooms shooting out of nowhere, unkempt, wild, beautiful.
It was there all along.
When I stuck out my head and let the mountain air hit my face on the winding curves leading to Narkanda and one of the most serene sunsets ever.
When the meadows of Hatu peak spread over like a green blanket with surprise encounters of birds and flowers.
When flowers popped out of nowhere and fingers encountered their warmth and softness and eyes their beauty!
When the slow, quiet pace of Chail enveloped me as life came to a standstill when I walked aimlessly under the shadows of these silent witnesses.
The mist swirled around the Oak and Deodhar before it submerged into the dark slowly and stars got out of their hiding place to come out and meet me.
We conversed for a long long time.
I smiled they winked.
They sprinkled happiness of a lifetime as I sat in silence, hands outstretched, grasping that warm, tingling feeling called magic.
Note: This piece is written to celebrate a year full of magical memories of that blessed trip to Kinnaur.
Doreen, I will be forever indebted!