Day 11, 18 Jun 08
7.00 am, In a ‘sleepy’ mode, we are bid goodbye by Mallik. He is still interested in another small trek to Neelkanth. It would be around 2 hrs of a simple trek, but none of us are interested, or rather should I say have the energy. Mallik is still enthusiastic to head back into the woods. I wake almost an hour and half later, a crisp morning in Hrishkesh feels splendid. I wake up Vj and ask him if he is interested in bath at the ghats. Rajo too agrees when I knock at his room. We wait for an hour till Amey and Nikhil get ready to be with us.
The Hrishikesh Ganga is cold as well !! But extremely refreshing. It felt like diving into a river of chilled Soda water, the rich silt brushing, with fizzling cool water running over the skin. Bathing with soap is not allowed so after 15 minutes or later (the sane period we thought would be good enough in the water without troubling our health !) we head back to our rooms for ‘proper baths’.
10.00 am, After a clean bath in warmer water we are hungry and wonder about our day’s breakfast. Vj has some Maggi packets left and we decide to prepare it. In a cool religious place, in an ashram you don’t realize how time flies by swiftly. It was almost noon when we finished our ‘breakfast’ and wait for Mallik to come back. Today is our rest day. So nothing more than rest and we are back on our beds.
2.00 pm, Yet again in our sleeps, its Mallik who is waking us up. This time he is coming back from the trek ! We all get back on our bums and listen to Mallik’s experiences about the small trek to Neelkanth. hmm.. this day is good, relaxing, chatting, easing out, one of our first days after the long trek and travelling. TPing.. its almost 4 when we realize we still have to have our lunch. Back on the streets move into the local food-joint trying to search for some appeasing menu item. We all were sick of the paneers, daals and big tandoori rotis. But that was not to leave us yet. After alu sabzi, daal and roti, we roamed in the adjoining street full of travel agents, middle-men, cyber cafes, etc.
Mallik check’s that his train has yet again flip-floped to ‘running’ mode. He has to leave today. Rajo gets home sick and wants to return to Sangli instead of Mumbai. Amey too doesn’t find the trip anymore interesting and wants to leave early. So as tickets get cancelled and booked, me and Vj wonder if sticking to the original plan is the right idea. However we stick to it. Amey and Rajo too are to leave today evening with Mallik and Nikhil. Mallik and Nikhil have got to leave by 7.00 to reach Haridwar for the next days early morning train to Delhi @ 6.00 am. Amey and Rajo book a bus ticket around 9.00 with the cyber cafe / travel agent for Delhi. All of them unknowingly having a flight from Delhi the next day.
6.00 pm, Mallik, me and Vj come back to the ashram. Mallik has to start packing, while others head off for marketing. By 7 Mallik has completed his packing and wondering why hasn’t Nikhil yet come back, who is to leave with him. We three venture out on the banks for the famous Ganga aarti. Over there the scene is captivating, just behind the big Shiva idol, is the west where the sun is setting behind a small hill, its golden rays piercing through the scattered clouds in the blue sky. A golden hue merging into the dark clouds. On the left the temple skyline is lit with a lovely pink/golden tone as the background.
Sunset at hrishikesh
Hrishikesh temple skyline at sunset
After capturing the aarti, Mallik decides its time to leave and yet Nikhil hasn’t come back, sticking to military-like plan he leaves us with a hug, the long journey with Mallik on this trip had finally come to an end. We watch him with his backpack till we lose him in the crowds. Around 8pm the trio appears. Nikhil is in a hurry, obviously he has lost the company of resourceful Mallik, and now has to manage on his own. He decides to leave with Rajo and Amey for the Delhi bus and would get down at Haridwar station, unsure, but now his only option. By 8.30pm we are just two of us as even Delhi bus trio leaves. We decide to go back to the Ganga ghat to enjoy the last moments in Hrishikesh’s banks.
9.00 pm, We come back and decide that we cant have more of tandoori rotis, etc. Bread and butter would satisfy us for dinner. I remember I still have my ‘cup noodles’, so thats on the platter as well. We share a laugh the mess reminding us of ‘Mukti’s cousin’. Its almost 10pm and we pack our big bags for yet another journey to Haridwar for the next morning. Its almost after 10 when finally the lights go out for the last time in Hrishikesh.