I squinted against the stubborn glare of the sun and took a brief drink of water. My feet ached as I climbed up the stretch of steep steps. Our group was spread on the winding steps, climbing slowly and stopping to take quick pictures. I skirted around a pile of droppings, only to slosh water on my shirt.
In a crisp morning, we began our journey in a group of twelve. Laughter filled the van, as everyone was getting their share of being the subject of jokes. Our van suddenly came to a halt. Nimesh, sitting at the front seat told us to take out the camera. We leaned forward to look at a snake crossing the road. It spread its head flat when another van abruptly stopped close to it. For the first time, I liked seeing a snake in front of me. The highway was very familiar to me. My birthplace, Khairenitar in Tanahun district, was at a very short distance from the route. Our team kept reminding me to inform my grandparents that we were coming. I couldn’t tell if they were serious, and I even dialed the phone, but it was switched off. We reached Pokhara, and we parked by the lakeside. The rumors of strike around the valley nearly disturbed our plans, but gladly it was just a rumor.
It was a new year eve, a group of 16 people had a huge dinner at the office cafeteria, feed the van with diesel and hit the road for pokhara at 9:30PM. The speakers of the van were playing annoying songs, so everybody (not exactly) decided to play antakchari. Ram dai was concentrating on the wheels and others were concentrating on remembering the songs they could.