Last year, I was at Mussoorie and every morning as I looked out of my small cottage, on the winding road stretching out for five-six kilometers I could not resist the temptation of walking on it.
One morning I started out quite early. For about a distance of two kilometers, the place was just hedged in from both the sides with cottages occupied by the people but after that I found myself in a thick gave of pine trees. On all sides, their dry leaves and a sweet smell entered my nose.
A soft breeze was blowing and I felt like standing there and inhaling the health-giving air. That was the place I felt where one can live in the company of nature.
I, however, moved ahead and now the road started winding up. First there were gradual turns but then there came steep turns and also the road began to rise. I did feel some exertion but every time the soft breeze refreshed me. On one side, there were tall trees growing and on the other side, there was a sort of bush- land.
The bleating of goats and sheep could be heard and one could see at a distance the cattle grazing. At a distance on my right, I found a solitary hut from which smoke was rising. Who lives there? I question myself. Numerous ideas flashed across my mind. It might be, he was really fortunate in living under such peaceful surroundings.
The joy of walking alone now became clear to me. I was receptive to everything from nature and there was nothing which disturbed my mind and took my attention away. I went ahead with numerous thoughts of admiration for God which had created such wonderful beauty for man to enjoy.
After going for about 50 yards, I came across a small hill rivulet and its sparkling water was cool and refreshing and as I looked into water, I found it crystal clear. The rivulet was not very deep but its ripping water produced a strange sensation in the mind.
If felt like sitting there or sleeping there. I sat down to rest and tired as I was 1 did not know when I went to sleep. When I got up, it was already late in the afternoon and I was so fresh that I wanted to continue my trek. I are some fruit that I had brought with me and drank the cool refreshing water before moving ahead.
It was after three hours’ trek that I reached an open plateau with beautiful grass laid out like velvet. Here I felt that I must camp for the night. There was a small spring of water in one corner and I removed my knap-sack and relaxed myself. I lay down on the beautiful soft grass and prepared myself for sleep during the night.
The stars were shining in the sky and it was pleasantly cool. The moon was going up and it was really a delight to have this change from the sturdy bedroom of cottage at Mussoorie where I was staying. I was on the Tehri-Garhwal road and as I sat up on this beautiful lawn, I found the stars and the moon playing hide and seek with the cloud.
There was no likelihood of rain however. But I thought what might happen if some wolves attacked me. I felt very much upset at this idea. But then I gathered courage as the whole place was so open and so quiet. I slept like a log and when I got up the dawn was breaking.
What a pleasure it was to see the morning twilight break through and spread on all sides. This type of experience can never be had by those who have never stayed in the open. I was feeling very hungry and wanted to have something to drink.
I gathered some dry leaves and put a can of water to boil. Soon my coffee was ready and after my morning wash, when I drank it, I felt a real delight which I have never had from a cup of coffee prepared by the servant at home.
As day broke and the light spread on all sides, I found a strange music welcoming me to move on and on. I also heard the ringing of the bells. I thought that I must now leave this road and move for a while towards my right in the direction from where that sound was coming.
I thought of finding some people and knowing how they lived. So I moved on the right and after going for about 2 km., I found a small Bhotia village where the people were living a quiet life in the midst of their agricultural and animal husbandry.
As I reached this village, I felt that I was not able to walk as briskly as I had done before. I was feeling a little pain in my joints and it appeared as if I have also developed a slight temperature. Was it due to exposure at night? May be because in my joy, I might have forgotten to cover myself adequately.
It was good that I had reached that village because here I got something fresh to eat. The people were very kind and generous. They gave me rice and vegetables to eat.
The old man of the village immediately understood that I was having a mild attack of influenza and so he offered me one bowlful of some medicated drink and asked me to take it. In two hours’ time, I was all right. My cold and pain had disappeared and I was again fit to proceed with my journey.
As I turned my back on the Bhotia village, my heart went out in gratitude to those strangers who had been so kind and good to me. As a matter of fact, the whole place breathed the beauty of nature and whosoever lived had the inspiration from God.
With these thoughts, I was going ahead but I was feeling that one should be hardy enough to enjoy the beauty of nature.
City people like me who were accustomed to remain in the closed artificial atmosphere find it difficult to derive real pleasure out of the life in the midst of nature. So, one should have more treks and trips that will accustom one to the open air life.