Fri, 23 Feb, 2024

Those Two Days of Life: The Story of My Hike

By Abhishek Khatiwada

…... Whose phone is ringing? Somebody shook me. A small light beam struck my pupils. I turned the alarm off. Whose phone is that? Where am I? How did I get here? The room was cold and I had one blanket on. Cold breeze was hitting me. Boro!! Where's the other one? Three people were supposed to sleep here. I thought he was beside you.  Oh that's Bimal dada! I scanned that room. Bishal was on the other bed. “Bishal, you slept real fast man,” I exclaimed. I had a flashback. I remembered some conversation with Bimal dada before going to bed. It was 2 o'clock, then I didn't remember anything. I felt asleep I guess. We arrived at our lodge at around 5:30 pm. A room with three bed total capacity of eight people. Surendra Adhikari, the Campus Chief, and Bijay Shrestha, the Academic Coordinator, took double bed room. The hotel owner unlocked another room beside the big one which was small and had one bed. Thupka or Chowmin? I was the coordinator. We started with tea and biscuit followed by Thupka and Chowmin. Is there a load shedding, what's the schedule? We need to charge our phones and cameras. “Didn't you see the broken transformer on your way? There's been no electricity since Thursday,” said Bishal. Oh god! I have to shoot the next day as well; there are many things to be captured. “What's the plan sir? Are we having a barbecue?” I asked. Surendra Sir took me to the side of the hotel and showed me some firewood. We went to the kitchen and asked the manager for chicken and requested him to turn on the generator.  Thank God he agreed to turn it on for two hours. The fire was ready. I went upstairs to call everyone. They were playing cards. Yunish was winning every hand so he was reluctant to leave the game. Finally, everyone huddled around the fire. “Let's play a game. All of us take turns and talk about the most happiest moment of our lives,” said Surendra Sir. We were thoroughly enjoying the game and didn't miss out on the opportunity to crack jokes at our friends. In between all the fun, one of the chefs in the hotel brought a skew full of chicken and placed it above the fire. All our mouths were watering, except Bishal’s. I went to the kitchen and brought him some potatoes. We took some coal out form the fire and baked the potatoes. All of that was followed by the sound of music. Bijaya Sir sang some of his original pieces from back in his hay day. The sky was littered with stars. It was dark all over. That was the quickest two hours I'd ever experienced.  The manager gave us some candles and Surendra sir and Bijaya sir decided to call it a day. Finally! Our door was also locked. We gathered around one of the beds and continued the game of cards. I started singing some classics and my friends joined me. Bishal was already off to dreamland before all the fun. He woke up all of a sudden just a few minutes before we had decided to go to bed. “You slept way too early man.” Bishal was already awake and had already begun taking pictures. “We’ll move out in 30 minutes boys!” Bijaya sir's voice echoed across the room.  O wow! Touching the water almost felt like I had a frost bite. “I brushed my teeth with my gloves on,” said Bijaya Sir. After a quick breakfast we checked out form the hotel and our second day of hiking begun.