We were unprepared. No, we were kind of prepared, we had a plan but as things happened, things didn’t go accordingly. When my best friend Maya and I decided to go for a short hike one weekend, we thought we had it all figured out. She would make me breakfast and we would head out from her house, park the scooter somewhere, buy snacks and water (because she didn’t have any bottles at home) and walk. And as planned we had an amazing breakfast, rode till Godawari buspark where I showed the path and went on. But the plan I think went off-road when we were searching for the base of the hiking trail so as to park the scooter, and where we hadn’t still realized we’d already passed a kilometer from the base. With no snack and only 300 ml of water we parked the scooter and started to walk.
To be honest, I always wonder why I agree to walk after walking for five minutes. I love walking. And I love wandering. But my body has low stamina and it always curses at me when I go for a walk, especially when going uphill. And I usually give up easily but I didn’t want to this time. I wanted to reach the top and see what the fuss of Phulchowki was all about. But more than that I didn’t want to give up because I had been haunted by the fact that I am always giving up – on people, projects, work. That I always ran away.
And so, along the way I kept calculating our water. I thought if we had one sip just to drench our tongue, we could survive. Onward the uphill climb, which we did slowly (by the way), I kept on remembering this part from the book ‘The Valkyrie’ by Paulo Coelho, where Coelho and his wife are saved by someone who found them severely dehydrated while walking on a desert. In the book, Coelho mentions that dehydration is one of the easiest ways to die, especially when you’re walking – you don’t realize you are getting dehydrated, so you feel exhausted pretty fast and you want to rest. Which basically prevents you from reaching your destination faster. Or makes you pass out on the way. In the meantime, you sweat a lot and you try to take out the layers of clothes which fasten the process. So, by the time you’re discovered, chances are – you might need IV like Coelho and his wife did.
The thing about dehydration, at least in my experience, is that you don’t know how much your body craves water till your tongue tastes a drop. So, when we both decided to take out first sip, after walking for one and half kilometers, we didn’t stop with one sip. “I don’t need to know how much dehydrated I am right now.” Maya said. I agreed, because although I already had two sips, my tongue was still craving more drops of water.
After our second stop to drink, I declared that we are to turn back the moment our bottle emptied. For me, it was the wisest move. Because continuing further would mean the walk back would be waterless. We ran out of water after walking 6 kilometers, with 5kms more to go. We turned around without any words feeling sad that we had only reached half the hill. But this was a risk we couldn’t take; we still had to walk 6kms down the hill without water.
Now looking back, I realize that I am always holding on to things – to people, projects and paths. And most of the times, this holding on, gets me stuck. And I feel scattered with these people and projects and paths. And that makes me more anxious and stressed. And it ends up making a vicious cycle of going from one person to another, one project to another, one path to another.
In just this one year, I had been engaged in many projects including my personal ones. But despite my utmost belief and love for those projects, as I prioritized on what was important to me, I had to let go of a few. The same went with the people I had in my life. I became very choosy about who I was spending my time and energy with. And that’s something I learnt from this trip as well. It made me realize that maybe sometimes the smartest move in life is to know when to let go – of people, of projects and hiking paths. Because by letting go, you not only create space for new possibilities, but also can give enough time to yourself.