Waking up came as a shock that day, for the car door’s knob had banged pretty hard against my head. Feeling the throbbing, rapidly swelling lump, I woke up to see the rising Sun. Poring from the car window, I (still rubbing my head) saw the looming blue and darks of hills, like giants sitting patiently on the horizon.
Probably in a deep slumber.
I took off the headphones, rolled down the glass, in a bid to touch the raindrops that had just started pattering against the windscreen.
There was thunder, looming in the distance; and as lightning cracked its whip at the clouds, a thundering boom sound made me notice. The rolling landscape had become clearer, the flowers looked more colourful, the moist soil smelled lighter, pine and eucalyptus essence that rode the wind was, of course, sharper than any other smell. Asking the driver to stop at a tea stall, I stepped out. The Sun that was on the verge of a rise when I had woken up, felt like a dream now. For the dark, water laden clouds were strewn far and beyond.
The storm that was brewing in these hills, the lower Himalayas, brought in fresh, sharp gales of wind. My very senses were set on fire, responding with an intensity that was ferocious than ever. Well, that’s supposedly the magic of mountain air. It makes you think clearer, it zooms in on the visions around, it brings to ears notes that are noticeably sharper, smells that are more than heady, stars that feel closer, wind that touches more than just skin.
A bee’s buzzing makes you tilt head, while a sparrow hopping near the pine needles on the ground stands out from the same colour soil, the smell of grated ginger tea wafts in the air, as if just for you. And the biggest surprise of all, it makes me a talker. For somebody who likes keeping to herself, the chai wallah, the lanky guide, the ever smiling driver, the hotel guys, the shepherd hauling his sheep in, everybody turns a friend.
All in a good day’s travel. Somebody said it right, “Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve; they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”
That’s what hills do to you, to me.
Image Courtesy Flickr, Wikimedia Commons