On Saturday, 1st Dec 2012, fourteen Deerwalk employees and I went to Pokhara to attend Bikram dai’s wedding reception. We were supposed to leave Deerwalk office at 6:30 am. However, some of us had our clocks set to “Nepali time” and therefore had to leave at 7:00 am. The prospect of attending Bikram dai’s wedding and being in Pokhara excited us all. When we crossed Thankot and the road started winding around the hills, I felt a sense of freedom away from the polluted Kathmandu city. Ram dai took us to Naubise where we stopped for breakfast of “masu-chiura”. We continued on the winding road and stopped at Damauli for lunch. We got to the famous lake side of Pokhara to find a hotel and freshen up before going to Bikram dai’s wedding reception at Lekhnath.
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 all began with excitement as I was going to Pokhara after more than twenty years. Our hiking team – ManishS, KanchanP, SulekhaB, SubashN, ShakunS, JeevanT, AshayT, ArjunA, ShushilS, SangeetaM, SurendraA, and PrativaS – were picked up early in the morning at 6:30 AM. It was a long drive as we all had anticipated. We reached Naubise at 9:30 AM, and we stopped by Banepali Hotel for breakfast. Then we continued on our way. Some time later we made another stop to buy some watermelons to refresh ourselves.
Two years of continuous work without a long vacation had taken a toll on me. I had been on both sides of Annapurna and wanted to be on mountains once again. Sunil and I had been working on our project Makalu, for a while and we desperately needed a break. We set plans to be at Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) and taking several days’ leave rushed to Pokhara leaving office around 3:15pm on a Friday. We stayed in Pokhara at my home for the night.
Hiking for me has never been an enjoyable experience. It’s just a thing I feel like I need to do along the way so I don’t feel lazy. The reality of it is that hiking is a test of whether or not I can drag my unfit body up a mountain or across a field without hyperventilating or falling down. We weren’t sore, it was easy on the legs and knees, and it’s probably easier than hiking. The whole experience was really great and one I want to repeat it often!