All through the journey to Batal, the sky was overcast. It left me quite heartbroken. Since last June this has been the fate of all my trips to the Himalayas whether in India or Nepal. I was cribbing to everyone who would care to listen to me.
And then as the day progressed, Batal suddenly showed its majesty for a few hours. Just above my campsite was a small hillock. I picked it up as my perch to indulge in the evening’s photography. I had the big valley all to myself. There was a group of British trekkers camping nearby but due to some reason none of them were out clicking.
I am usually one happy person in the mountains. I suspect it is because of a much simpler lifestyle that we follow for a few days. No bath is available unless you wish to take a dip in ice cold water, you brush your teeth using stream water. In fact, finding a good water source and not polluting it is essential to camping. Food has to be carried from the plains and cooked on a stove. That is why we needed Ramakantji, our master organizer.
So, it was a very happy me sitting on the top of a small hillock in the wide open valley. The Dhauladhar Ranges reluctantly showed their face to me, as if grudging the fact. Batal which is at an altitude of 3950 meters was treating me kindly I had no symptoms of any altitude related discomfort. Then I saw those three dots moving on the road. I could recognize them from a distance because of their clothes. They were my nephew Dilip, Vishal and Bobby, all of them over 6 feet tall. And yet in the larger scheme of things dots is all they resemble. I am sure you will have to strain your eyes to see them at this resolution of the image.
Here is an version of the same picture that I like more as the dots are more like small lines. I wonder what it is with such landscapes and me being happy. Not even happiness, for those few days I was content. Needless to say, I feel my stay was way too short and I am sorely missing the mountains.