This is a post I have delayed for much longer than I should have, because of the amount of effort it would take me. Now that I have a week to a very important exam, and virtually no knowledge of my syllabus; I deem it a perfect time to chronicle my experiences in my FIRST ever trip without my family.
Meh, I’ll just put in random things that I did, that stuck in my head; (and I’ll try not to deviate too far of track.)
It was supposed to have been cold,(we went to a hill station on the foot of the Himalayas.) but when we got off the train, jackets and scarves felt way over the top.
Fat things off, shades out and on, scarves over our head to keep off the wind, we set off on long stretches of mountain roads that kept winding round and round and round again (all of us had popped anti-nausea pills)
I had never gone to mountains in the entirety of my life with my senses ( my parents gave up on vacations after I was 10) so I stared in wide eyed wonder at everything.
I even tried to take pictures of what I excitedly pointed at calling “mountains” before my more-world aware friends informed me that we would be seeing MUCH bigger mountains.
ME: B-but look so much green! And they’re high!
THEM: Yes, we will be going up that, then you can take pictures.
ME (eyes wide) : We will climb THAT?
yes, our car did go up those hills, and I stared in awe at the unending walls on one side and the jaw-dropping precipices on the other.
My friends had been here before, so they mostly played songs and took selfies, we screamed a lot, but a part of me was glued to the bleakness, the magnitude of the roads we in-exorbitantly wove through, leaving clouds of dust in our wake.
After hours of driving, our ears began to pop, as we turned on a bend, we suddenly found civilization. Nestled within humbling hills I found myself standing before the first monastery I have ever seen.
It was built on the side of a hill, you had to walk up a road that was partitioned from the sliding-down-into-nothingness with the help of a railing (that you could easily vault through and into nothing)
Perhaps now is a good time to mention I have acrophobia (fear of heights.) Also, I despise any sort of barrier or fence or railing that has gaps. As a kid I couldnt climb down staircases which had gaps in the side rails, because I was convinced my foot would slip through it and I’d dangle forever. (I still have that fear, just that I choose not to let it paralyze me, so it just terrifies me.)
But I had with me, two people who know me better than I know myself, and I don’t think I can ever be terrified for long with my best friends around. ( A theory that was tested in this very trip, more on that later though)
The road itself, it was made of pitch, had been drawn on with white paint (or zinc-oxide paste) while onside was the bare mountain wall, the otherside (the one with the railing) looked out into real mountains. Yes, the one with snowcaps which seem to be more a part of the sky.
As we went on, it seemed like we had climbed up into a platform in the sky.
It was the strangest feeling.
All around us monks in their trademark red wrap (I am sorry I do not know what It is called) went about their daily works. They were so content, not once did they stare at stupid tourists coming in and encroaching on their place of worship.
The other people we had gone with began to take insensitive amounts of selfies while we very legitimately stared at these monks ( who, quite frankly looked bad-ass even in their monk attires.) We drank in everything like hungry trolls, the red painted buildings, with its signature yellow designs, the bells and the spotless cleanliness of the quadrangle.
The serenity of Buddhist style architecture is not hyped upon, I can tell you that. Aside from the pack of uneducated street thugs we had gone with, not one person made a sound. These men, who withstood the ever-blowing chilly wind in their sleeveless garments with an air of complete contentment made me realize, that they might be onto something close to peace here.
If someone plodded into my home and took selfies posing infront of my God, I would be mad. They looked at us like we were errant schoolboys who would figure it all out sooner or later.
That might have been a natural reaction if they were old shriveled up people, but no these were really handsome men at the peak of their youth.
If forty-six eighteen year old girls came strutting up to any other place where women were prohibited and men had renounced everything worldly, you would not expect such response.
We , (two of my friends and I) were more absorbed in the biceps of a particular monk to really take pictures, the only selfies we took were subtle tries to capture their cute faces while pretending to pose for the cameras.
Totally not what you do in a monastery, but hey, we took no vows.