Its been almost 6 months since it happened. It will be a day that he will never forget. There were 40 of them. 11800 feet. 4 feet of snow all around. Snow still billowing around as though the nature will unfurl the fury any moment. He remembered swiss family robinson. If you see that the time interval between the lightening and thunder are reducing, then SIMPLE: The storm is nearing you.
They had started from camp 6 to camp 7. The guides themselves where quite shocked. He has asked them two days ago about the opportunity of seeing snow. All the kids in the batch who had just finished class 12 where quite excited about the idea of SNOW!!!
They had just trekked a full day in ankle deep snow to reach camp6 the day before. If it had not been for the man who had made him join the trek, he would have fallen about a million times. He then knew what friendship meant. What is the meaning of walking so that some other person doesn’t stop.
He woke up in the morning. Went out with a class 12 kid and unloaded in the snow. As he was unloading the content the snow started beating more furiously. He was wondering as he sat shivering whether the weather was going to worsen. Finally after they trudged back to the tent for a cuppa that was getting ready. The kitchen was just about 10 meters away, but somebody had to go out in the freezing cold and get it. The bravehearts finally did it. All they got by the time the tea reached the tent was nothing but cold tea. Nature can even turn 100 to 20 in a matter of 2 minutes.
The small man from Kingeri lead the pack, the guide was ahead of him. The snow was knee deep for the small man.
He on the other hand was with another girl quite behind in the group. Being over 6′ he managed to trudge through the snow. Everybody held hands and walked along for about half an hour, finally to realize that even 100 mts had not be covered. suddenly the voice cam over:”Get back”. Then all of them turned. That was the most difficult part. Went back to the tents. One of them(the tents) by now had ceased to exist. All of them huddled. His toes were already numb, the new woodlands with the ankle protect he had bought for the “GREAT HIMALAYAN TREKKING EXPEDITION” had become to look like as though they were antique pieces. He swore loudly” Why had he left the gloves in some bloody camp below”. He now had only one glove in the right hand. The left hand was already numb.
By now people were beginning to be scared. The pessimists wanted to go back down, the adventurous wanted to go ahead. He was thinking about the story he could tell.
The sun suddenly peeped, a voice came that they were ordered to march ahead. It felt as though that they would finally reach beyond the snow. The snow had lost its charm. All of them wanted wet slushy lands again, with atleast dry socks!!
It now came back to him, The time between the thunder and lightenting was coming down drastically. It had been 19 sometime back, now it was 12 and then it became 5. He didn’t even know how long had they walked. The right gloved hand holding the guy ahead and the other hand holding a stick. The stick was his life. He had to prod with it to know how deep his leg was going to go in. If he misstepped, he would FALL, and roll down 11800 feet of snow. The person in front of him had celebrated his son’s first b’day just 2 days back, you could see it on his face. all of them where beginning to keep smaller steps.
Finally a HALT. He heaved a sigh of relief, then realized that it was the the worst thing that could ever happen. NEVER stop walking in a blizzard unless you are behind a shelter. out in the open 40 souls prayed. Half of them confused, rest dazed. For the first time in his life, he saw people fainting due to the cold. Panic gripped him, What if he never went back, what if he never saw mum, what if he never went back and told people that he had trekked the Himalayas. All of them huddled together, the braver ones by now hiding their fear started consoling the rest. The old lady of the group, kept calm even as she could see her 18 year old 4’10” daughter crying. He then realized that all he could do was pray to HIM.
The guides suddenly declared that even they were lost. They couldn’t move forward without the other guide from the next camp.The pessimists started blaming everybody they could find. He still does not know how long the 40 of them with 2 guides waited in the billowing snow for the rescue guides from the next camp to arrive. The Snow all around him. With everybody holding everybody’s hands. With all hearts praying as one. With all of their faces showing only on sign:FEAR. With all of them wanting to go HOME. With all of them consoling the other. With all of them looking at each other and silently knowing that they were as helpless as the other.With all of them realizing how a strange bond was being established between them. With all them knowing that if GOD willed they could be there, Forever.
Suddenly a whistle pierced, the guides had arrived. They had been saved. They did not know whom to thank, where to see.. All of them blindly followed the man. He was like the messiah from above. That is when each one of them rose one step higher and helped the other. Possible or not, help was given. The person helped became the helper in just minutes.
After all of this. When the camp was reached. He took out his camera and clicked THIS:
Till date, this has been his desktop background that he sees everyday!!