Wednesday, 13 January 2016

ABU Diary

pic courtesy:- Gopal Zadafiya
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”
 – Tim Cahill

And this was 10 days long journey of Rock Climbing Course at Swami Vivekananda Institute of Mountaineering, Mt. Abu. It was not trip with close friends but it was cocktail of trip and course which gave me new friends and new connection with nature. 10 days without online/offline reading, TV and comforts of home and above all only 4 known people in whole batch of 79 students and 7 instructors. It was very tough for me to acclimatize in that physically as well as mentally hard schedule. From running to climbing and exercise to rappelling have changed my whole perspective of life. Not only physical stamina but your mental stamina should also be strong to adjust with those sloped rocks and jungle. I learned to do adjustment in unknown place with unknown people for food, stay and other requirements.

The best part was SVIM’s building which is old Christian Montessori on rock which is acquired by Government to run the institute. So, it is not like pigeon hold building and you have a unique feeling to stay. Rear entrance on slope of the rock and manmade trail got much hate of the students during climbing it up. And it was compulsory to use only that route of rock. But, on the last day we got to know that that route was very easy and near to main road compared to main entrance. Tight schedule and training made us very tired in initial 2-3 days and then we started to enjoy it. Morning exercise was painful but necessary to stretch body before rock climbing. And after 2-3 days rock climbing part amazed but thrilled us all 10 days. Firstly, I was fearing after watching some rock and we had to climb that only with rope, sometime without it. But, after climbing those rock what I got was unexpected and stupendous. I had good fortune to see rising sun, whole Abu and other mountains from height and for all 10 days from different rocks. It was like fruit of that climbing with minor physical  injuries and other mental stress. And I will never forget that moment to reach peak of the mountain and sit on the top while observing nature in morning sun shine. One of the reasons I climbed easily rather rappelling was that I want to go on peak in direct sunlight rather bear cold wind on the base!

Night trek and night halt in jungle were one of the awesome memories I have made. On that day I came to know real difference between trekking and mountaineering, actually night. When I trapped in Son Singh’s cave, it was worse than hell. Really, though I have not seen hell, I was feeling like that. In Gaumukh’s jungle, We deliberately chose not to sleep though night duty was decided for all groups. We felt strange fear in midnight below the sky full of shining star and beautiful moon. Night with weird and dark voices of monkeys, shedded leaves of tree and other wild animal made us good listeners and we kept our voice at such low intensity that we have never expected from ourselves. And one more lifetime experience of Kevin’s curiosity. He went in jungle without permission and telling anyone to "satisfy" his curiosity about nightlife in jungle. That incident frightened all of us for some moment and after that we could not stop our laugh.

8th day was very special for me in sense of my confidence, decision making and courage. Thanks to supportive friends who gave me confidence and good environment to complete the course and they were also exhausted by severe physical work. But, we enjoyed each other’s company and made everyone laugh during free time. The most awaited exam day was very lighter and easier than first 2 days. All 9 days we enjoyed rock climbing and rappelling wholeheartedly except theory class. Yeah, we got punishment and especially that duck walk was very painful to mind rather than body. Because whole team got punishment for one member’s mistake or mischief. But, to show team spirit and unity, you have to put aside your ego and logical mind.

Now, the time to show gratitude towards instructor. Sometime they were strict and sometime very liberal. Their demand for extreme discipline was very hard to follow. But, we achieved new skill of mountaineering because of that. Their motivational experiences made us more courageous to complete the course with enjoyment. Though there was restriction on photography during training, their liberal nature gave us lot of opportunities to capture amazing moments. Thanks to them we have lot of digital memories. One instructor was only 18 years old and he gave me lot of strength and also painful moment! He might have regretted that he could not teach me Stomach rappelling. Only one skill that I could not learn. We will never forget their dedication and love for mountaineering in this world where money is important, they give training on very poor wages and they had taken leave from their regular job for that training session. But, they maintained their hobby. And it was most inspirational experience of my life.

Last but not the least, I made new friends without interfering in their past. We enjoyed together. We endured early morning wake up alarm and physical pain together. We reached the peak with each other’s support and we worked in team. We shared our food and unforgettable memories. We had to experience some extreme mockery by most mischievous boys. But, it is part of teaching. Those two uncles should be inspiration for all of 77 young students, they completed whole course without any complaints in their 40s! And big kudos to those college mates who made me dance in their group in assembly.

In a nut shell this camp gave me lot of strength, confidence, ability to take any risk, connection with nature and respect for it, network of new people and new skill to entertain others. And for those who ask now and then, why should we do trekking or mountaineering and take risk? I have only one answer for them, it gives you new and fresh connection!

I am not the same, having seen the golden sunrise on another side of Nakki lake!

Some wonderful photographs by Gopal Zadafiya, Priyanka Shah and Kevin Pipaliya.