Written by Prachi Shrivastava
Friday, 6 June 2014
Written by Prachi Shrivastava
When I turned 25 in August last year I promised myself a five-year life plan to “play the big hand” without bogging myself down with aims for the “winnings” I collect or “losses” I make out of said hand. I resolved to go for the kill in every possible way and live life queen size without worrying about the actual “queenly” possessions I amass in the process.
And boom exactly two weeks later the universe picked me up and dropped me at the smoothest gateway to accomplish this life plan. Out of the blue I was put on a hike through a strange jungle, in the company of chronic wanderers, and the universe said: “Here child, I give you one ground to learn how to go for the kill. Go fulfil your resolve!”
I was gifted the jungle and I was gifted the company of the chronic wanderer and today, a little over nine months and countless literal “into the wild” excursions later, my heart has been cut open to receive risks and unseen possibilities like never before.
Through several beautiful yet painful scars on my heart, mind and body from these last few months I have learnt important lessons of spontaneity, adaptability and letting go. But the most important lesson of all that I have learnt is to honour myself before honouring those who teach me new lessons.
In the wanderers I met since August I befriended, loved and shared intimate and exclusive corners of life with a certain species of living organism which likes to call itself the “Not a tourist but a traveller and an explorer” (NTTE). By repeatedly throwing ourselves into the wild, I believe, we gradually become the wild. Now since the NTTE and I both pride ourselves on this innate “wildness”, it was but natural that I very quickly grew an inspired awe for the NTTE and felt a deep connection to the NTTE.
Consequent to this deep connect with the NTTE I learnt new ways of life, and consequent to getting to observe the NTTE so closely I learnt how much I value certain age-old things about myself.
The NTTE has a remarkable ability to “move on”. I have a remarkable ability to “add on”. While NTTE men and women shed friendships and relationships like snakeskin as they move ahead in life, my life is one big never ending Ferris Wheel where the party keeps on growing in size! I have learnt from the NTTE how to bid adieu with a smile instead of blood tears, but I have also learnt how much I value “deep attachments” moving on the highway to “deeper”.
In my travels, I collect souvenirs, and bring them back and decorate my home and hearth with them and carry them with me in suitcases to new homes, where I again take them out and decorate them and watch them rust beautifully, lovingly adoring their age.
The NTTE implores me to “think less” and “question less” in life. I am impressed by the number of places thinking less takes him or her to, and the variety of things questioning less has helped him or her try. Sometimes shutting my eyelids and numbing my brain to looming questions has helped me let go and experiment, even when there was no hand to hold in case I fell.
However, I’ve learnt that in seeking the truth experiments are only the allergens that help uncover the most optimal atmosphere required for us to survive. It is not the mountain peak which changed my life. It was my perception of the climb up that mountain that I carried home.
Also had I not deployed my “habit of thinking and questioning” to understand a different kind of intellect, the NTTE and I would never have become friends in the first place! Travel has taught me to open my heart and mind to different tribes’ ideologies, instead of just sticking to my own.
I think therefore I am.
The NTTE is brazen about his or her sexual pleasures, I, on the other hand, am brazen about wearing my heart on my sleeve! To the NTTE, nights of passion are possible keeping one’s flow of emotions gated and restrained. I applaud the NTTE for unapologetically connecting purely from the body with people who watch the moon from the other side of the planet. But I contrast this with my own bravado to take an emotional chance on people who watch the moon from the other side, and I give myself a pat on the back.
I trust, and I trust again, and I paint and I paint a beautiful picture again, of that scenery which shook me and scarred me and almost demolished me – because I am wild enough to!
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
.... Terry Pratchett
Monday, 12 May 2014
Someone recently asked me about my one main personal reason to trek. He said that for him it was the mental piece that trekking up a hill brought. I said that for me it was the motivation to fill the empty pages of my travel Moleskine with helpful notes and bizarre nomad tales. But then this weekend happened. And what has actually driven me to trek regularly all along revealed itself – somewhere near Kareri village.
Kareri village is a Gaddi village an hour (22km) out of Dharamshala (by motorable road) featuring vast fertile lands lush with wheat, icy gushing streams, Sherpas herding sheep, a few huts, about a hundred village folk and a poultry farm. If one ventures on a 16km trek up the green undulating slopes upward from this village, one crosses some breath taking meadows and a number of impressively crafted shelter caves to reach the Dal lake – a pristine lake situated at a height of 4700m up the Dhauladhars.
Before we get to the weekend’s revelation – my personal reason to trek – let me get into its contextual setting. 25 of us from Delhi and Chandigarh set about to trek up to the lake and camp for the night by it, this Saturday. We parked our tempo traveller by the village, picked up our tents, sleeping bags, ready to eat and ready to cook food, water and rucksacks, and began stepping up the trail. However, the sight of the lake was not to be for 20 out of the 25 trekkers.
The 20 who did not make it, did not suffer any casualties on the trail – far from that, they lived a gala adventure. From tracking down the half of the group which initially lost the trail, to trekking almost the entire way up in heavy rain, to crossing a fiercely heavy stream in the dark, taking inadvertent ice baths in it and continuing up the trail in the darkness. Finally again losing the trail, splitting from the group and climbing a 70 degree incline to pitch tents on a hill at 1:30am and surviving on the insufficient food and water left with their part of the group. However exertion and a time constraint got the better of their will to reach the lake the next day.
The five, including me, who meanwhile made it up to the lake the next morning did it on 4 hours of sleep and empty stomachs – but oh the beauty of the lake, the meadows and the homey shelters on the way made up for the toll the two hour climb took on us, and how!
But over the weekend all 25 of us gained something in common, regardless of reaching the lake or not reaching it, crossing a stream expertly or slipping into it, managing to lose the trail or not losing it. The common gain was – a fabulous weekend on the road less travelled, in its preserved and unexplored trenches, in the company of people who do not say die when they have to climb a mountain.
And that is, and has always been, the actual reason which drives me to trek so often.
The unmatched joy of landing a cave in the lap of nature, previously hit by a select few on the power of their physical and mental endurance, and clinking mugs of Old Monk with similarly privileged buddies. I am in love with the echo that our laughter creates in dark valleys at such heights the prospect of climbing which does not charm every other tourist. The wait for another weekend of gossiping until the fire dies down at another newly discovered nature marvel, is too long for me.
In this weekend’s life-sized film, my heroes were: the debutante trekker in our group who jumped into the middle of the river-crossing action to help others despite his inexperience, the experienced one who didn’t let his energy die until the very end despite skipping several meals and lifting several rucksacks, the ones who kept the smile on and the chatter and jokes coming even at the prospect of having to continue uphill way past bedtime and in never-ending rain, the group leader who literally bulldozed an entire tempo traveller out of damp muddy pits with his one tiny body – instead of resigning to wait until the wet road becomes motorable again, and then the five of us with a one track mind focussed on reaching the lake instead of on our own weary bodies.
Why do we climb up a hill? Just because! And life is too short to create enough memories on caves and ridges and streams and in forests with all my “just because” buddies. Which is why I am already up planning my next one, and so are some of them from what I hear!
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Kinnaur - The Land of gods, The Land of Strong culture and beliefs, The land of fairy tales and fantasies.
Undecided to travel alone, finally I took a bus to Shimla and further cab to Rampur and again Bus to Kinnaur. It was the one of longest journey I have ever done. Multiple modes of transport including auto, around 12 buses, cabs and campers thats how I happened to visit various places in Kinnaur. This long journey was worth lifetime and if I had more time I would love to travel more.
As soon as I entered Kinnaur, backdrop started to change to a drier and extreme with Rocky Mountains, deep, narrow valleys and steep slopes.
First stop in Kinnaur was Babha Nagar from here I started to babha valley and Kafnoo with few local friends. Valley is located along the river Babha and has a splendid picturesque, reservoir lake and alpine meadows. Kafnoo is the Base Camp for Babha valley Pass and is the last road head. No wonder, its amazing beauty makes it an ideal place for the tourists and trekkers. Trekking route begins from kafnoo and leads to Muling, which is almost (5-6) hours walk including a steep climb through the forests of pine, birch and cedar. Enroute was covered with heavy snow. We just covered half the way to Muling and came back to Kafnoo. Night stay at little wooden kitchen can beat any luxurious stay. We cooked our food, did bonfire around traditional chullah and had a cozy sleep there.
In morning we started journey to Sangla and Chitkul. Sangla is a small town located between Karcham and Chitkul from about 20 kms from Karcham. The town itself is a concrete town with small shops, some hotels and restaurants. As I stepped out of the Bus I had amazing views of snow-capped peaks and took few pictures. Though I didn’t spend much time there but I am sure there would be lot more to explore down the valley of Baspa River. Next stop was Rackcham, beyond this point transport was hard to find but we were lucky enough to catch a Camper which was going to Chitkul.
Chitkul a small village with the little population surrounded by snow capped Himalayas on one side and Baspa River flowing on the other. It is last village on India - Tibet route and one can encounter Dhaba clamming 'Aakhri hindustani Dhaba'. It adjoins Tibet on one side and Uttrakhand on other.
The moment I reached Chitkul, I was sort of awestruck. A spectacular sight of Chitkul village and its surrounding left me speechless. The Himalayas cover this village from all the sides and that view is breathtaking. Glaciers were close that we could easily reach out and touch them in the month of April. In centre of the village was Mata devi temple, beautifully wooden crafted temple, you can’t get off your eyes from such beauty. Walked around the village, found another solo traveler and we moved a kilometer further to top where we sat and enjoyed the beauty. Suddenly it started snowing. It seemed that nature is giving us a grand welcome in the village of Chitkul. After spending hour in snow we walked towards the homestay. Abhishek homestay what a beautiful wooden house it was. From a room window I could see it was snowing heavily now, so I decided to go out and take a walk for while. I walked around the village talked few locals clicked pics and came back. Now it was time to warm ourselves. House owner gave us local liquor called MOORI made out of wheat. Just few pegs did it all and we were High.
Next morning when I woke up and looked outside window it was still snowing. As we have to reach Kalpa and there was no transport today so we decided to move early. It was a walk to remember lifetime. No words can describe the feeling of being there. All covered in snow we walked 13 Kms till Rackcham. After that Changing cabs and buses we reached Kapla at 6 in evening. Strong culture and beliefs of both Buddhism and Hinduism prevails concurrently here. The only point of visiting Kalpa was to have a look at Kinner Kailash peak, but that came true next morning only. Early morning as I walked around village I could easily spot Kailash peak. This was spectacular sight early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and golden light. Snow laden peak was brighten up and looked amazing with first sun rays hitting on it.
Now it was the time to head back and most difficult part of journey. Finally I took bus to Chandigarh from Recong peo. While on the way I saw boards saying 'Shooting Stones. Be careful'. It became reality on the way. A huge part of mountain slided down on the road and road was all blocked. No transport could move to the other side. Authorities came and tried to clear the way but rocks were too huge so they decided to do blasting. After waiting for 1.5 hours I crossed to other side and decided to take another bus from there.
This journey ended here but a new journey started there as well, a journey of Wanderlust to come back again.
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
It was the month October. It marked my fourth month in the national capital. I had been a bit disappointed by Delhi in terms of food, people and art it had to offer. I later realized that I could not make judgments about the city unless I had met different people (by different I mean people who were not from my college or locality) and covered almost the entire city. I have never had a very competitive attitude and despite the rigor which MBA had subjected me to, I never felt anything close to challenging (except for DMM, i.e. Decision Making Models where I had to save my ass despite scoring the lowest internals among 180 students).It was during this time that I came across a trekking event organized by my friend Suman. Needless to say, I registered for it because I wanted to escape boredom and not out of any uncontrollable fascination for Mountains. The trek was going to start from Bhagsu Nag near Dharamshala and end at Indrahara Pass. We left on a Friday night and we were expected to return by Tuesday morning.
Indrahara pass is a very popular trekking route that is usually accessed from Dharamshala or Mcleodganj. Located at an altitude of 4,342 metres (14,245 ft) above mean sea level, it forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh. The Indrahara Pass trek is considered a moderate to difficult trek. The trekking trail passes through the popular camping ground of Triund, Laka Got, and Lahesh Caves. Popular camping stops are Triund at 2,842 metres and Lahesh Caves at 3,475 metres. For all the effort required to get to the pass, the spectacular views more than compensate for it. thestunning Dhauladharsof Himalayas form a backdrop of the trail for the most part of the trek.
Day 1- 11th Oct, 2013 (Friday):
I board a tempo traveler from Connaught Place in Delhi and see 12 odd strangers to accompany me. I had met Suman and Geetanjali once at CCD. I happened to meet Sunanda an hour before meeting the other strangers since we both live in the same locality. I was more excited than bothered among so many strangers. We left Delhi at 9:30 PM and had our dinner at ‘Sukhdev’sDhaba’ inMurthal. The journey was tiring and I had become friends with 3 people by now. The person sitting next to me was Akshay. I was really comfortable in his presence because he spoke fewer words than me.
Day 2-12th Oct, Saturday :
The road was not really good and I was completely awake for most of the journey. Moreover, a girl’s Whatsapp notifications prevented me from catching even a decent nap. I remember falling asleep around 4 AM. Someone wakes me up in the morning. I am not bothered to look at the time, I get down, brush my teeth and enjoy morning tea at this place called Kinnu. We continue our journey and I prefer to remain awake and not miss the beautiful landscape that had welcomed us with a faint shower.
We reach our hotel at Bhagsu around 11 AM. After getting fresh and telling my parents not to expect any communication for the next 3 days, I head for the breakfast where I was joined with 4 another strangers- Harry, Pradeep, Rohit and Gill. We exchanged greetings and then I ate like an animal eats before hibernating (I had stopped counting after 6 Paranthas).Porters could not be arranged and so we kept our luggage in the traveler and then started the trek at 1:30 PM with essentials, sleeping bags, etc.I was walking a bit faster relative to others, except those new 4 strangers. I soon realized they were supposed to guide us upto the Indrahara Pass. The entire group of 17 had split into 4 different groups and my group lost its way initially, but we soon managed to meet the other groups at a common point.
Our guides tell us that that the route is not difficult. I bonded well with Anshul and Akshay, because of cigarettes and camera respectively. I am not a good photographer myself, but I have a decent knowledge of photography. We meet other members at the ‘magic café’ which is supposedly the oldest Indian chai shop.At there, I also met a childhood friend who had come from Gurgaon for camping in Triund.
The trek gets steeper after this point and I wanted to reach the top as early as possible, just because I was enjoying the physical drill. We encountered really good sceneries on our way.
I registered the images in my mind while those with a camera clicked some beautiful shots. I increased my speed beyond this point and left everyone behind. I took out my player and played the ‘metal’ playlist. I reach the top at 5:30 alone and had the best moment of my life on seeing the mighty Dhauladhars suddenly appearing in front of me.
I see two people waving hands at me. They were Rohit and Gill. I was the third person to reach at Triund. I went inside a chai hop and played Guitar to kill time. It was almost an hour now and the weather was chilly. There was no sign of other members and these two had gone to make some arrangements for the night and later help others in reaching the top since it was dark now. I am then joined by Anshul and Akshay around 6:30 and within next 20 min everyone arrives. We head to a forest department’s guest house, have bonfire sips of old monk to combat the cold weather accompanied with rain. I had a good time chatting with strangers and Harry and I become friends instantaneously when he plays Led Zep tracks on his mobile. We finish our booze and come inside the guest house for dinner. It’s a bliss to have hot Rajmachawal served at this altitude amidst cold weather. I talked to Prachi over general stuff and soon everyone is in their sleeping bags.
Day 3- 13th Oct, Sunday:
Sun rose from the mountains and I preferred warmth of my sleeping bag over the scenery. I wake up quite late and I am still feeling sleepy. I try to freshen up and the chilled water brought my all senses alive, thought the areas it touched were turned numb. We have our tea and click a group photograph.
3 people turn back from Triund thinking that the trek was too demanding. We were 14 now. We start our trek for Laka, which usually takes 2 hours from Triund, to reach the Snow Line café. Suman had a leg cramp and she made the wise decision of not going beyond Laka. Few more people decided not to accompany us any further. I have a good chat with Harry and Pradip just after our lunch. It drizzles for few minutes and then we start our trek to reach the Lahesh caves at Ilaka. It takes us around 3.5 hours and we reach the caves before 6 in the evening. At an altitude of 3,475 metres I could not see even the faintest light coming from the town of Dharamshala. It was a full-moon night and the moonlit hills appeared too beautiful to seem real. We again have shots of Old monk. Harry sings a Pahadi song. I like the tune so I memorise it right there and join him. Altitude sickness had affected 2 people by now and they lay inside the caves. We were then joined by the other members. The night was harsh. I could not sleep the entire night. There was snowfall up the mountains and the negative temperature was unbearable, especially because of the winds.
Day 4, 14th Oct (Monday):
Akshay is running temperature and Anshul has to board his return bus. They decide to return from Lahesh. 9 people march towards the Indrahara Pass. This was the toughest part of the trek. There is no definite route and the path is really steep. One can easily feel effects of altitude when you gasp after every step. Fresh snow had shown.
The trek was scary at several points where a slip would mean death on the rocks. It was more dangerous for me considering my sub-grade sports shoes. I was feeling scared and exhausted, I could not walk more. We walk for few more minutes and Geetanjali decides to return, she is accompanied by Pradeep. This was a tough moment for me, at one side there where the mountains where I had wanted to be for the last 3 days while on the other side I had to only descend. I made a choice which I shall cherish throughout my life. We were now only 7. You can see 2 of us climbing the steep rocks.
The trek got the toughest just 200 metres below the destination. I could not move but Harry kept pushing me. I saw that everyone else was struggling. I see Prachi, the only girl there, moving ahead despite a bad health. I was motivated to reach the top. I stopped resting and Harry almost dragged me for the last 10 metres for cliclking a group photograph.
We reached there around 1:30 PM. After taking a rest for 20 min, we start moving back to Lahesh. The view from Indrahar on the Chamba side was spectacular.
After resting for 20 min, we start moving back to Lahesh. I was running high temperature and I ask harry to consider me as an 85 Kg baggage that can’t move. He helped me a lot during the initial steep parts of descend. I later discovered a technique of ‘ass climbing’ to descend from the rocks! We started reaching Lahesh by the evening and it was terrifying to see 3 of us missing. Geetanjali, Pradeep and Gill had not made it to the caves yet. The first two did not even reach uptoIndrahara. I was too tired to move outside the caves and Harry took my torch and started shouting on mountains for them. I could listen other voices, but if I stepped out then I would be fourth one gone missing. It was completely dark and those 3 arrived by 10 PM. We had cup noodles. We were supposed to descend upto Dharamshala the same day, but we could not send a message to Suman since there was no signal. By that time half of Mcleodganj knew that 7 people were missing on the hills.
Day 5: 15th Oct, Tuesday:
Next morning Gill’s phone miraculously receives a message from Suman and we convey her our status. We start descending down. It was dark before we could reach Dharamkot. We descended the mountain using torch light and I saw Suman waiting for us with cars to take us down. I can’t really tell if this was the best moment of my life or seeing the Dhauladhars for the first time. We all try to make ourselves look human and then board the tempo traveller for Delhi.
Indrahara was the first trek of my life. I have been on a forest trail before in Kodaikanal, but that was not physically demanding. Indrahara had broken me mentally and physically. I could not open my eyes fully. I had a frostnip. I lay my head on the seat of the traveller, look outside at moonlit Dhauladhars for one last time and realized that I had done something big as a first time trekker.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
I have been trekking and adventuring with Fireballs for six months now and during this time I have grown up from having a mere eagerness to adventure, to adventure becoming an extension of me.
I have been on long marshy trails full of waterfalls in the darkness of the night, been on boulders like the jaws of death in an oxygen- less 14,000 feet height, been hunched for silent meditative hours by a mirror-like glacial lake in knife blade-like chilly dawn.
I have been hunched over damp firewood in a fiercely windy cave yet cooked steaming hot delicious dinner over fire from the same damp wood, been on a day-long relentless and breathless climb up straight inclines to sleep in a meadow beneath the milky way, been at a wedding which I attended in trekking gear ornamented with a dry-fruit garland around my neck and a flowery traditional topi on my head, and been at a bonfire in a lodge surrounded by majestic snowy hills that turned the lodge’s water supply to ice.
What I had not been on until this February end weekend was a trek in knee deep, sometimes waist deep snow for the entire length of the trail.
Triund (5km climb up from Bhagsu Nag in Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh) offered itself up as the setting for me to get a taste of climbing up a snow-packed trail.
I had been to Triund in October when the rocky trail leading up to it was free of the slightest trace of snow or ice, and therefore this time my mind’s eye was exclusively focussed on the hypnotic breath taking valleys of clouds that change colours, that will greet us in a panorama at the end of the hike. The trail itself did not capture much anticipation. Until we began the trek, that is.
It is not that I didn’t know that the trail would be snowy. Fireballs had graphically warned me of the knee-deep snow lining it. But hearing that there’ll be snow and actually stepping on soft dense white layers for the first time, and realising that this is what every step is going to be like for miles ahead – both sets of knowledge differ in their impact on the curious newbie adventurer.
The shifting of layers of snow from underneath every step, to sit inside your now-drenched shoes and leggings and pinch your feet and legs to numbness after piercing them with daggers, makes one worship the dude who is leading the trail. This leader is creating easy craters for the followers to land their feet in. He or she would have to resign to keep leading and sinking first, because the followers would tend not to budge from pit stops until they see the next 20 minutes of feet craters ready to greet them!
The snow, on the other hand, is a blessing in disguise where speed is concerned. Stepping into mostly level feet craters requires far less exertion than climbing up rocks one after another. Colder weather helps save energy too. Our group moved much faster on the trail than it did in October.
During the trek I repeatedly fantasised of the dry warm comfort that would’ve been inside a pair of gumboots, but looking at people in sneakers slip around me replenished my gratitude for the wonder grip of my North Face trekking boots. Though slipping hardly hurts on the cotton wool like soft snow (beware of slipping on ice though, that’s harsher) thanks to these boots I walked effortlessly with my palms in my jacket pockets!
The volume, density and thickness of snow on the trail changed for us at three points. For the first kilometre, until Café Best View, there was mostly slippery ice and wet boulders but not more than scraps of snow. Here we focussed on dodging the ice and stepping on rocky patches or the soft snow which was right at the outer edge of the trail. This gave crow’s feet to a friend afraid of heights, from the continuous wincing.
Next was the 2 ft thick snow, soft enough to shift from beneath steps but firm enough to not crumble all around us but hold the craters the group leader was forming with his steps. This continued until Café Magic View – the mid-point of the hike, and during this part of the trek we lifted our heads up carefree and soaked in the cloudy sights and the snowy majesty of the Dhauladhar ranges.
The route up from Magic View tested our limits with 5 ft thick snow that was too soft for the feet craters to be of much help. We exerted creating new craters of our own at some places, widening existing craters, sinking up to our waist in snow, and I particularly wanted to cut my feet off with an axe.
It is at cusps where you want to severe a limb off your body that you truly grow out of your little cocoon and stop being a caterpillar. It was once I was told to go back to base if the discomfort was too much to bear, that my motivations for adventuring came back to me. I do not wander into the wilderness for comfort or discomfort, or for everything that is expected. I wander to be a sport and make the best of all that is unexpected. I wander to surrender to and soak in the ferocious. This was it. I was right in the middle of the wild. How could I shirk it?
I stayed put, determined again to climb up. I flexed my toes inside my wet shoes and gradually they adjusted to the terrain and came back to life – part physically and part psychologically.
Café 22 Modh (named after the 22 deflections, after this point, in the straight trail leading up to Triund) was as far as we went this weekend. We ditched the last 80 metres (or 40 minutes, by non-snowy standard time) of the trail in favour of not getting completely lost in the area of the Dhauladhar where no route was visible.
An Austrian, used to trekking in the Alps, deigned to find his way up using the compass on his wrist as we watched safely from 22 Modh, with our shoes and socks removed and our feet basking in the intermittent sunlight. But he only deigned. And returned after half hour of hiking to nowhere.
Making snowmen and snow-ghosts, and taking swigs of our poison of choice to the beats of music, or gazing unblinkingly into the human forms made by clouds concluded the trek. It is less about the destination and more about the journey you say? Sure, I’ll take that! Goes with this weekend’s flavour!
Though every Fireballs trip is completely different from the previous one, some things never change.
The voice of perfect silence in our abode for the night, broken only by the cheer of the trekking group high from spending an evening in the company of identical wandering souls. The person with the crazy drunk stories, the one with tales of astonishingly generous fellow travellers, the one with a story for every biking scar, the one who loves himself for discovering new tricks to traverse the mountains, and the nightingale with the inebriating voice.
And then there’s the one who sews all of this together, single-handedly runs a brilliant show, and cheers-on the one person whose whereabouts he had to trace several miles back on the road in the dead of the night, by commenting: “It is but legitimate to get this drunk sometimes in life buddy!”