If you missed earlier posts related to this one
In congregation one finds the answer
From Gobindghat our last base camp before the trek to Hemkunt Sahib was Ghangaria. Nerves were jangling inside me that evening but the calmness of the environment played its part in coming to my aid. Amidst the music of the flowing water sacred hymns could be heard. Perched on one of rocks the words flowed through me and suddenly a change took place. The anger soon began to dispel from my body, the fog of doubt dispersing over the horizon. As I sat shoulder to shoulder with my mum we both felt a renewed sense of confidence, with hope we had once again reunited. I spent most of the evening exchanging stories with members of the congregation, everyone had a story to tell. I was no longer scared.
Sri Hemkunt Sahib: where light fills faded hope
I was truly left speechless
We woke at 5am to prepare for our walk, the rain bellowed at an angle, pushing against our room. “Would we walk today” I said to myself? As I peered out of the window I witnessed a scene of joy. Men, half dressed soaped themselves and used the rain water to wash themselves down. “Worry not brother, it rains between 5-6 here every day” said one man with a cheery look. As uttered the rain came to a halt at 6am, we began our walk.
Unable to contain my excitement I decided to try and run the incline but soon ran out of stamina. Young I might have been but my fitness was lacking quite somewhat. Along the way we met many personalities of varying ages. Those walking downwards would shout words of encouragement “just a few km’s to go” they would say. We stopped at a small stall to consume a butter endorsed bowl of lentils. A much needed source of energy we continued walking to our ultimate summit.
Several hours later we reached the very top to witness one of the most beautiful sites my eyes had ever seen. I was instantly mesmerised and in complete awe of the scene unfolding in front me. Words didn’t flow at all, but the tears in my eyes did not lie. The darkness I had been carrying for the past few weeks had finally drained itself away. I remained silent all the time as I walked to the men’s cubicles with my uncle. Wearing special shorts I walked to the lake where other men were dipping into the water. It was cold, frozen but I was radiating with the warmth of hope. Remembering my beloved father I dipped my shoulders into the water and then sprang up again. I repeated this over 80 times only to be stopped by my uncle for fear of safety.
As we got dressed, the free kitchen handed us a large steel mug, tea brimming to the top filled with a few spoonfuls of sugar. This would bring the energy levels back up while we sat listening to sacred hymns sung by the resident priests. For the first in a long while I was at peace, a genuine smile had found its way back across my face.
The journey back down, the drive back to Delhi was a haze. It was a haze because I was not longer afraid. Not afraid of the narrow rocky roads, the crazy bus drivers, the sharp turns around the hills. I had made it to one of the most scared shrines against all the odds, against the storms that had been brewing inside me. My mother and I, my siblings, were not alone and I knew together we could overcome any challenge.
19th May 2020 will signify 27 years since the death of my father. His fragrance lives on in his children, in his grandchildren. Our mother has spent her lifetime allowing us to blossom and continues to be the bedrock. This post, and one’s from this week is a small thank you to our rock!