Being blessed to be born in a world without cell phones was a boon, more blessed are our generation who have seen the transformation in technology and got trained to adapt to the required transformations. But the most blessed are those who have been on a camp or a hike in their childhood days and I am one such blessed soul.
The air became thin and our bus came to a halt for a short break it was mid day and all if us were damn excited and tired at the same time and very eager to reach the campsite. There were veterans describing about their experiences on spotting a few animals, the does and dont’s, the flora and fauna and what not.. We had stopped in a mountain town..
Driving through the last few hairpin bends, the narrowing roads, we reached the Berijum Lake. The shores were clean, the air thin, the mercury taking a dip, the water well settled and clear, most importantly the adrenaline rushing up and down for this was the first time. This was just the beginning.
It was our first camping experience and added to it we had come out together with our friends away from home for a night stay accompanied by our teachers of course. we learn’t what sharing means the day when the tents were allotted. What did we share? Rugs.
Before that we were told that camping is all about team work, now we started experiencing it. Setting up the tent to make it livable especially during the night was a challenge. This was the first team task where we had literally used the 2 rugs for the floor and other two to cover us while sleeping. Thinking back and trying to do it now would be a little more difficult to achieve I presume.
The second day was the real challenge, walking in the shoals exploring the rich fauna. Getting a chance to feel what forest was like, taking a nap in the middle of the forest in the afternoon after a dip in the waterfall, meeting with new friends from other schools and the long trek. Here was the time were we saw carcass of a bison hunted by a tiger. Getting to see a variety of mushrooms and getting to pick a few on the way back to the camp were the tastiest.
The stream walk to the origin was a breathe taking experience that followed on the very next day. The pine forests were dripping with water droplets from the recent downpour since the rain gods had no mercy and this added the challenge of walking in the marshy terrain with dripping rain coats. This was the time we learned on how to break the step and follow the lead.
The final day was for spotting some wildlife but with no luck, this was a short walk to the other bank of the lake where there will come a chance for us to see any wildlife, here we all wondered were there anything wilder that us human beings?
We had no other choice than to return to our camp to have spotted just a few birds. The Kingfisher being a very common sight.
The camping experience was totally incomplete without the camp fire which a fellow camper will call a forest fire and make the camp director freeze. The art of mastering the perfect spot to sit to enjoy the camp fire was something to be mastered. Too close will mean too hot and too far you are cold, Against the wind again hot adjusting to the wind nearly impossible until finally a perfect circular audience was formed.
Each hour spent in the camp was learning something new, each talk was knowledge gained, each act we did was shaping up towards letting the EGO off..
Today when I see the Sholai hills from a distance, I am thankful for the very important lessons learnt and expecting to go camping once again…
Camping to me means learning unlimited..