A couple of trips are ruined by delayed travel plans and rescheduled trains but they are also ingredients for once in a lifetime encounter. This is perhaps the biggest remark of them all but I will say it anyway: my trip to Himachal totally changed my life.
Last week me and my friends stuffed our oversize backpacks with too many clothes, too many shoes and too many books before getting off to our destination: Himachal. For no reason other than a deep-seated love for experiencing this wonderful journey and seeing life through a unique lens, I always wanted to travel.
Since fog had affected the rail traffic, several of the trains were running late by hours. Ours got delayed by more than 6 hours. After reaching Kalka, we were not able to board the next train. Our toy train to Solan had been cancelled because of the landslides due to heavy downpour. Buses and cars were running in place of trains between Kalka and Shimla to help keep people on the move. A number of roads and railway lines remained closed after tonnes of debris fell on to the track and nearby road. Commuters had to face travel chaos in the highlands because of landslides and rain fall. Feeling like we were already a week late into our adventure, we booked a car en route to Solan. After a day spent in Solan and a night spent trying desperately to sleep through the incessant noise of stones falling on the road, we headed towards Shimla.
My memories from Shimla are the most vivid in my whole trip. The delicious food, the picture-perfect scenery became etched in my mind like a tattoo. We liked it so much that we altered our plans and stayed there for an extra day.
Finally that sunken feeling in your heart. Everybody is ready to go back home. Some people get their bags ready for the way back days in advance, relishing the fact that they will be going home soon to well-known surroundings, whereas others ignore their departure date until the very last minute when it is time to dump everything in their bag while the taxi is already waiting to get them to the bus stand. At each rest stop there was at least one restaurant or food shop, convincing the more skeptical of travelers that the bus driver must have a stake in those roadside establishments. I wondered what is next to come. Perhaps we will revisit Himachal one day.