A feeling of emptiness

At 12900ft above sea level, it was a feast for my eyes. The heaven-touching apex of Dev Tibba, stood like a giant in front of me. Swaddled around were small hills like the beads of a necklace. All around, I could see crisp, white blanket of snow. I felt as if the mountains were calling me. And then, it happened. I realized, I was not happy. A feeling of emptiness. An inner emptiness which I could neither abandon nor ignore….

In May, 2016, me and few of my friends went for a 10 day trek to the Himalayas. This trek starts at a place very close to Manali. On the 7th day, we trekked towards the point where we could see Dev Tibba base. Dev Tibba is a beautiful 20000ft high peak situated in Pir Panjal ranges near Manali. By noon, we reached our lunch point where all of us could either take rest or explore the places around. This place was beautiful, very beautiful. A valley of flowers, with many waterfalls, streams flowing gently aside and huge patches of snow. While many took rest, a small group including me ventured out to explore the adjacent peak where we could see the Dev Tibba base point.

The climb was treacherous with a steep gradient and no proper route. There were lots of rocks and loose gravel on our way. Initially it was tough, but soon we learnt the trick and in about 45 minutes we reached our destination. It was a feast for my eyes. Mesmerizing. All around, I could see crisp, white blanket of snow. And then, it happened. I realized that I was not happy. By all measures, I should have been very happy, to be at such a serene place, with nature in its pristine form. Instead of feeling content, it was a feeling of contempt, and I did not see any reason. I could not understand what was happening with me or within me.

So I decided to climb down. I reached the lunch point and met with my team. They were kind of dejected, because I had vanished into thin air without informing them. Looking at their faces, I felt I had let them down. They too wanted to climb up, but I went alone. I felt guilty. To make up, I encouraged them to join me.

“Come on let us give it a try”

“No Vineesh, it is too late”

“It’s OK, let us quickly go and come back”

“We are tired” “We had heavy lunch. May be next time”

“Next time?, When do you think you are going to come back here? Do you really want to miss this chance? Not every day we come here, Now is the time. In case you find it difficult, we will come back”

“OK, let us quickly go”

We 3 started off again. Though it was not an easy climb, I had more confidence this time. We took the same route. It was tough for them, however, in 45 minutes, we were there. The heaven-touching apex of the Dev Tibba, stood like a giant in front of us. Swaddled around were small hills like the beads of a necklace. It was a dream come true for all of us. We spent time playing with snow, throwing snow balls at each other, running, sliding, jumping, rolling what not.

We enjoyed for about an hour there before we came down. While we spent our time there, I could see the emptiness in me melting like snow. Our happiness saw no bounds. I felt I was the happiest person in the world.

Now when I look back, I realize something intense and powerful. I realize, happiness is not about achieving something alone, it is more about being with the team and celebrating the success together. What I experienced in the Himalayas is very much applicable to each one of us. Success is not about achieving great heights alone, it is all about being with the people who are close to and winning together.

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