Its a late evening in Dehradun. The sun is about to set. A bike, a Royal Enfield, patters through the city streets, music to some ears, to others a hassle.
After a while, the road straightens a bit. Traffic is more mellow here, except a few adventurous bikes and scooties, skidding and zipping through, leaving a tang of their blaring ‘beeps’. The shops and their numbers dwindle. Greenery ensues.
A couple of kilometres more on the Rajpur Road, the altitude rises gradually and its almost no traffic. Barring a bike or a car far ahead. The shops and their numbers have whittled down to a handful and that too in a sporadic manner.
The bike now saunters through the smooth road, and its turns, with an air of regality. Its late December and the wintry air is getting more and more chilly, by the minute. I can feel the cold wind course through my hair (whatever is left of them.). My hair swaying a bit with the wind, my face numb and smiling, my eyes closed, mind lost in a serendipitous ecstasy.
Don’t worry, I am not the one riding the motorcycle. My cousin’s riding it. I am… well I am enjoying each moment as it passes.
The mountains, which just stood far away earlier, start materializing. I feel dwarfed, not that I ever felt ‘enlarged’ at any point in my life. The gigantism of these mountains is somewhat humbling, intimidating. But wow! They are exhilaratingly beautiful.
The air here is so great. Its so sweet, so pure. It feels like I was barely breathing earlier. I never inhaled so deeply, and never smiled when I took a breath. It always was like an essential thing, to live, of course. But now, it feels like an unsolicited luxury, a gift from a higher power or something.
The sun was about to set, it was already half beneath the shoulders of the mountains. Faintly glistening in its reddish, golden hue.
I could see some lone houses, far away on some hills. It was not yet dark, but they were lit. I don’t know, I just imagined how peaceful it would be, to just stay like that, live like that for a while. It would be peaceful. To sever all ties with the world for a while. Live far away on a mountain, fresh air, fresh water, trees, that melodious silence, among all these absolutes. Inexplicable. Incredible.
We stopped at a roadside tea selling shack. And the scalding hot tea tasted heavenly. It was dark now. And I could see lights in the distance. Along the road. On the mountains. We sat there for a while. Seized by the tranquility. Awed by the beauty. Laughing at our worries and squabbles we left back at our homes. Thinking what life actually is. Not that we got an answer. Just… wondering, surprised by our own selves. This place had hit home, and touched our hearts. And home is where the heart is.
But it was time to go back. It was just a long ride after all. The mountains looked like dark shaped grandiose sentinels of the valley, stout and still. Still amazing, still beautiful.
On our road back, the gentle wintry breeze had become relentless. And I was freezing. I had no gloves, no cap!! What was I thinking? My face was numb, and I was chittering, absolutely, and sniffling by the time we got back to the same traffic snarls of the planes, it was no longer freezing. Thanks to the people and vehicles for their heat. And we were back in the same old mire, the palpable beauty some minutes ago, just a memory now.
Its not as if those mountains are thousands of miles away. But yeah, they are not our homes either.