If you missed earlier posts related to this one
Our salvation rested in us reaching Sri Hemkunt Sahib safely!
Good intentions speak loud volumes
When all the traditions had been completed it was time for us to embark on this journey to Sri Hemkunt Sahib. On leaving Delhi we travelled the following route: Meerut | Haridwar | Rishikesh | Rudraprayag | Joshimath and finally arriving at Govindghat. But two places and what happened between them stuck out the most.
This was our first overnight stop. The original plan was to sleep-over at a nearby Gurdwara (Sikh Holy place of worship). On reaching there and inspecting the living quarters I was less then pleased. In my infinite stupidity I refused the humble surroundings in place for a hotel, I felt the standard was beneath me! I look back now and it was an opportunity lost and my ego got the better of me. The hotel was OK but morning view of the mountains was breathtaking, especially when sipping hot tea on the balcony.
Leaving the hotel our small van (old day SUV), carrying five of us hit a sharp rock along the way which led to a leak in the brake fluid. Not able to drive any further we stopped over at a small village surrounded by a lake, still in Rishikesh. Frustrated at our misfortune, my uncle and I managed to hitch a ride with a truck driver back in the opposite direction to a nearby garage. My mum, my auntie and cousin remained at the village. My heart began to sink, further separation from a loved one, I felt more alone then ever amongst the passengers sitting next to me.
We managed to find the garage, engage a mechanic who then got the bus back with us. My downward mood was uplifted by the rest of the passengers who sang all the way back to the small village. They were en route to Sri Hemkunt Sahib themselves, filled with anticipation. Glad to re-join the family, the fix took a couple of hours and we were back up again. While brief our residency in Rishikesh was a memorable one. I didn’t realise but the bubbling anger inside of me was surfacing in the disguise of my ego, I just refused to recognise it. Despite what looked like a bleak moment that threatened our journey, our problem was solved. If not me then my mum was carrying good intentions, I’m sure someone had heard her plea.
You may not believe it, but I do
When a believer is testing their faith, toying with it’s existence, then something happens which reaffirms ones position. This is my view based on my experience and I do appreciate everyone is on their own journey.
But now Govindghat comes to mind as the second place of importance. This was to be the last stop before reaching the tip of Sri Hemkunt Sahib. Again I pushed back on staying at a local accommodation, opting for a hotel. It was dark and maybe not wise to continue driving. Having been given instructions on how to get to the hotel we drove off. The road snaked around the steep hills, a small drop welcomed us if we got too close to the edge. Our driver was experienced enough but not even he could have prepared for what happened next.
With a loud thud the van shuddered against the pitch black sky! Our gearbox, it seems had given way. As the van came to a halt there was an eerie silence around us. We were well and truly stumped and I felt very angry with myself for not listening. Looking back now I can say a cocktail of emotions were making me force my opinion. The adults, sensing my predicament went along with it, but I deserved to be put in my place! The reality facing us was we were deserted in the middle of nowhere, and on top of that had no torch to assess the problem.
I retracted back into being some stupid brat and thought this was some kind of adventure in the dark now. It’s only when my mum began uttering a prayer that the seriousness of our position sunk in. As the driver walked further on he commented we were perched right near a bend on the road. That meant, if a vehicle turned the corner it would have very little time to avoid colliding into our van. We couldn’t even stand outside as there wasn’t much room between our injured vehicle, the road and the drop. We all felt somewhat doomed but hoping no one used this road until sunrise.
So the testing of faith? My mum was the first to notice a small light veering towards the back of our van. As the round light got larger, a loud beep signaled the arrival of man on a scooter. A dialog ensued between the scooter man, our driver and my uncle. The conclusion was the man would use his scooter light to shine on the underside of our van, thus allowing our driver/makeshift skilled mechanic to apply a temporary fix. 20 or so minutes later we were patched up enough so as to get us safely to Govindghat. As we all celebrated this mini victory the light diminished and the scooter man was no where to be seen. There was no humming noise, no beeping, no nothing but us and the dark hills. Our saviour had vanished into thin air. I couldn’t explain it then and my mum would agree we can’t process even today. It was truly a personal experience for us all at that time. A force provided a lending hand when we needed it most, when doubt had crept in.
So far I had excelled in masking my feelings, trickery that I was still firm to my faith and beliefs. But in truth, even before my plane left England I had forsaken what I had believed in. But whatever barrier I had built was beginning to chip away, its rotten foundation being questioned.
The sleepy residents of Govindghat must have heard the cheering, as the passengers in the little van slowly crept across the bridge.