I wake up to the sound of my mobile phone ringing, and itâ€™s Jasmine on the other end. â€œPrerana, itâ€™s 6:00 a.m. wake up. Iâ€™ll be out in 5 minutes, be there!â€ This is the way my old school friend Jasmine has been waking me up for the past 2 months. Reluctantly, I get out of bed and then out of my home. Half asleep I meet my friend in Chhetrapati (about 5 minutes walk). Jasmine has always been very punctual. We then walk towards Bijeswori â€“ where we will meet our mutual friend â€“ Sarwada. After about 10 minutes we meet her and then start our daily walks â€“ morning walk â€“ â€œTrip to Swayambhu.â€
Walking is the best exercise (or at least thatâ€™s what we believe) and all three of us enjoy that very much. None of us are not in the best of shapes – far from it actually – and walking together has provided us a way to take out time from our busy schedules and have fun at the same time. Itâ€™s been more than a decade since we have known each other and our friendship has grown stronger over the years. Although we meet everyday we are never out of things to share; thereâ€™s always an interesting conversation linking all of us in the 1.5 hours we walk. Everything from Facebook to sale and discounts in the market, from novels to movies and Pulsar Stunt Mania, from our office experiences to hospital duties. We always have so much to share and laugh at seemingly stupid issues which we do and makes sense to us.
Life has really changed in the years gone by. We have become â€œadultsâ€ and we find responsibilities, future endeavors, relationships to be the buzz words of our conversations. Talking about these things we reach the foothills of Swayambhu. We look at one anotherâ€™s face and then check the time. We start climbing up the long, never-ending flight of stairs. We perspire profusely and strangely are satisfied that we are burning some calories. Itâ€™s really difficult to climb those stairs, so when we reach the top after 6 to 9 minutes of continuous effort, the feeling is quite exhilirating, as if we had ascended to the top of Mt. Everest (a little exaggeration of course).
The view from the top is very beautiful. The cool morning breeze, the feeling of standing in some divine place, the chanting of mantras, the aromatic incense, great company â€“ everything combines to make me feel that the morning spent climbing the steepness of Swayambhu, instead of sleeping, is definitely worth it.
As we separate with a promise of meeting again the next day, I am deeply grateful that I have the best of friends for conversation and climbing Swayambhu.