Been an exhilarating last five six days. For the first time ever, lead a trip to Rajasthan. For the first time ever, lead a batch of 30 trippers. And to top it all, Sakshi and I lead it together. While we always had reservations about lead a trip to a place without mountains or beaches, this trip has been crazy. Almost 25 people would stay up every night till 4-5 am, even 6 am, and in five days and 120 hours, I’d not have slept more than ten hours.
The group spotted a majestic tiger in Ranthambore, trekked up a hill in Pushkar, made fun of bhoots while we were in supposedly haunted Bhangarh, but more than that it was all the night conversations and games that would define the emotions in this trip. Have laughed like crazy, actually rolled on the floor so many times in the last five days. We danced like mad in the bus, to both Bollywood and Tamil songs.
When we got back to Jaipur on the last day, the rooms were too small to accommodate twenty odd people in one room, for our night sessions. There was a rooftop restaurant but the night was really cold. We saw some spare mattresses lying in the hallway, and I asked the group if we should all just sit in the corridor. And 25-26 people happily agreed and till 5-6 am, we were all sitting, huddled up in blankets, shoulder to shoulder, cozying up on these mattresses sprawled out in the corridor. To me, it defined the spirit of the trip. Most people just wanting to be together all the time, even though they had met each other only 3-4 days ago. Every other night, the same people managed to find a way to fit into one room. Some on beds, some on chairs, some perched on tables, some on the floor, some on top of each other. To me, this is more fulfilling than anything else on a trip.
There were people from the trip who had written to me prior to it beginning, telling me that they were very nervous since it was their first trip. And in those three four days, I saw how them blossomed, how they laughed, how they hugged rank strangers from both genders, how they opened up a little bit about their lives, how a few teared up and more. I know whenever I see them next time at any airport at the start of the trip, we shall be hugging tightly like old friends, and now these people will become part of a tribe of old trippers making other new trippers feel comfortable.
Thank you all for coming.
And now moving on to the last trip of the year, to trip number 100 for me as a trip leader, to snowfall and to new years. Auli, here we come!