I did not sleep well in the night at Rishikesh. Initially I thought it was traffic noise that was waking me up. But after a few hours of waking up intermittently I realized there was a stiff wind blowing outside. The noise was the rustling of peepal tree leaves near my window. The auto driver who dropped me to the hotel was supposed to come and pick us up again the next morning. I tried his number at 5.30 am and it was switched off. I decided to wait for the daylight before hailing another auto. That gave me much needed half an hour more to laze around.
At 6.00 am Chhavi and I came out to find an auto. The good thing with Chhavi is that she gets up at any hour you wake her up and will fall asleep if she gets a comfortable seat next to me. We found an auto in less than a minute from our hotel. We went to the bus stand and took a bus to Rudraprayag. Our guide Sohan Singh Ji would meet us there. The bus was not full so Chhavi sat comfortably next to me and fell asleep. She woke up in a while and unexpectedly complained of vomiting sensation. We thankfully stopped for breakfast and I gave her medicine (as I anyway have motion sickness) but the poor child vomited after the breakfast. I was one worried mom now. Thankfully she slept till we reached Rudraprayag. Rishikesh to Rudraprayag took us about four and a half hours. The roads were reasonable.
We had about an hour before Sohan ji arrived. Chhavi settled down in that one hour. We ate lunch and I gave her the medicine again as we were traveling further to the Sari village. From Sari Village Deoriatal is a 3 km trek. By the time we boarded the shared jeep to Ukhimath she was happy and her chirping self. However as we reached a place called Augustyamuni my heart started beating in my mouth. The road was so narrow, in places of dirt. There were stretches where the edges were broken like a crumbling cookie. I looked at the road and I looked at Chhavi and I was left wondering what the hell was I up to?
If my father or sister saw that road I am sure I would have got sound scolding for taking Chhavi there, heck for even going there myself. However the people used it with great care, stopping for each-other to pass. We reached Ukhimath without any incident. It was still only 3.00 pm or so.I was left wondering about the nature’s fury that Uttarakhand witnessed this summer. It literally felt like someone broke the edges of the roads by drawing curved lines.
We took a jeep to Sari village and by 3.30 am we were there. After a cup of tea we walked to our lodge within the village. Sari Village has more than one basic lodges with attached bathroom. There were fruit laden orange trees behind our lodge. Chhavi told everyone that she wanted oranges. The women of the house took her and plucked two oranges for her. She kept roaming around the premises even though I knew she was very tired. The sun was already trying to set.
We sat down in the shop below our lodge waiting for dinner. Chhavi was jumping over a small ditch in front of the shop. I told her not to do it but she ignored me. I was too tired to get up and drag her in. In a while Sohan ji got out fast from his seat and even before Chhavi could cry, got her in. She fell in the ditch, thankfully standing and not hurt. With all her tiredness and shock of falling she started crying. She told me she wanted papa and she anyway never wanted to trek! She wanted to go back then and there. I was able to pacify her in a few minutes. After food we decided to retire for the day even though it was just 7.00 pm. In the hills, particular in the colder months there is not much to do once the sun goes down.
In our room Chhavi happily settled in and demanded a bedtime story. There is one ghisa pita story about a butterfly I tell her. Storytelling is her father’s department. She still listened to it and fell asleep in less than a minute. Even I was pretty exhausted and wanted to crash. But I took one last look at the sky and didn’t like what I saw. It was quite overcast and I was worried about the weather and the views for the next day.
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