We met three fabulous people on the trek through Kuari Pass in Uttranchal Himalayas (India) this June. Sonu was our guide for the trek and Vikrant and Virendra owned the horses that carried our luggage. I have talked about in a post before.
This tale belongs to Sonu and he told it to us when we asked how he became a trekking guide? I am writing it from memory and in English, although our conversation happened in Hindi.
“I started as a porter on one of the treks that go beyond Badrinath. The first time around I had no idea what it involved. It was cold and I was not adequately dressed for the weather. On top of it, I was wearing thin-soled Tennis shoes. Every porter is supposed to carry 25 kg. of weight and I was not prepared for that either. Half way through, my shoes wore out and I gave up. I returned and they didn’t even pay me the full amount for the number of the days I worked. But after that, I was better prepared. I worked as a porter for a few years and when I learnt the routes well enough, I started working as a guide. Now, I only freelance and do not get tied with any one agency.”
All this was told with such good humor, without any trace of bitterness or malice toward anyone. It was only when I sat down later and talked to Sesha, we realized how tough it must have been for him initially. Otherwise, Sonu made it sound almost like fun!