Went to the ISKCON temple in bombay. met a prabhuji with a plan. got carried away with the plan. almost booked a ticket and a spot on a trip he was taking. felt super nervous. didn't book. happened to talk to Niyanta Diwan Parekh about it. got carried away again. booked this time! still felt nervous. counted days till departure. counted hours till the ridiculously early morning flight. got to the airport just in time. had a layover at delhi airport. ate a pizza for breakfast. sat and watched (in complete awe) a piano that played automatically! made it for the next flight. landed in dehradun. walked out of the airport to see just mountains everywhere! found the driver. Drove to Chilla (just outside haridwar). Stopped at least twice to click pictures. Did not stop oohing and aaahing at our surroundings for the entire 1.5-hour drive! realised the rest of the group were going to be delayed by at least 10 hours. got our driver to show us haridwar! waked the streets aimlessly. gathered the courage to only dip our feet into the super cold water. got followed by random guys. ate amazing rasgulla! rushed to find a good spot for the Ganga aarti. sat for half an hour listening to some guy telling us how we must donate money for the aarti or we would regret it forever. did not donate. did not regret it either. watched the aarti cluelessly first. suddenly started spotting the giant aarti thaalis and flames. sat amazed. the number of aarti thaalis grew. chanted out loud with everyone. made our way back to the guesthouse. were warned to watch out for elephants if we planned on walking around. passed out! woke up. rushed to the jeep and Rajaji National Park. would not sit still. saw some deer. and more deer. and monkeys. and peacocks. did not see elephants or tigers. saw tiger pugmarks 🙁 sat still finally. met the forest rangers. got a bit shocked when they said their orders were simple. "shoot at sight!" drove to Rishikesh. did a real Ganga dupki! did not carry extra clothes. tried to dry off. froze! finally made it back to the bus. found a changing room with a ceiling full of spiders. changed faster than ever! slept all the way to mussourie. got woken up by Niyanta Diwan Parekh to see a mountain full of lights! stayed awake as our driver insisted on taking a u-turn on the tiniest and highest road possible. got my hand almost crushed by a terrified Niyanta Diwan Parekh. made it to Kempti Village. were forced to share a dorm room with too many people. tried to dry our clothes from the Ganga dupki. went to sleep a little annoyed. woke up to the most incredible view! walked around happy again. taught a little pahadi boy how to use a dslr camera. learnt from a pahadi woman how to tie a headscarf. decided mussourie was too close to not see. convinced a couple with a car to let us borrow it. got dropped off at mussourie market. wandered around looking for Kalsang restaurant. walked a good 45 minutes. Saw a lot of the market. found it! got a table for 2. ordered for 5. couldn't get over how amazing the place and food was. noticed the tables and the tissues full of reviews under them! added our own one! walked around some more. shopped a little. realised it was going to rain! found a cafe/ bar. had a beer and watched the view literally disappear amidst clouds and then reappear. watched my breath fog! got picked up by the rest of the group. slept all the way to Dehradun! Tried to dry our Ganga dupki clothes. woke up realising it had rained all night and our clothes were wetter than before. decided it was time to be super adventurous and part ways with the group! booked a car and a one-night stay at Silver sands campsite in Rishikesh! Drove through clouds, tried to spot elephants. spotted lots of monkeys instead. decided to stop in the middle of a hill and try the pahadi maggi! watched him make it on a chulla! heard a goat while we waited. went and found the goat and adorable little puppies! went back. inhaled the maggi! sipped the chai and proceeded! drove past the campsite by mistake. drove back. got off. walked down to the campsite with heavy backpacks and high chances of falling! were showed to our tent! spent the next few hours coming to terms with the beauty surrounding us! saw a familiar but unknown face. went from strangers to friends in 1 glass of beer and a few pieces of chocolate with Niladri Mukherjee. picked up my book. Read about hanuman while keeping an eye on the monkeys running around on the other side of the river! Used an eco toilet! was pretty fascinated by it! realised the closest place to charge our phones was a village 15 minutes away. let my phone die. drank local rum by the campfire. chatted with strangers. learnt how to find the north star (it's somewhere on the left of the big dipper?). went to bed. woke up way too early and excited! got ready to go rafting. picked a raft. were asked to go in the other one instead. got annoyed at the guy in front of me for being a terrible rafter. got over it. jumped in every time Manoj (our guide) asked if we wanted to! Felt super happy on the rapids. watched the raft behind us (the one we wanted to be on) flip on the golfcourse rapid! watched the panic. almost panicked! sat still as people got pulled on to our raft. tried to help. made it to lakshman jhulla! ate some more maggi! changed. said goodbye to the best guides ever! stopped at Tip Top dhaba. had the BEST chicken ever! Continued to the airport.
Made it back home WITH CLOTHES STILL WET FROM THE GANGA DUPKI AND A LIST OF AT LEAST 8 THINGS I DID FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE in just 5 days! #sabbatical