It is that time of the year again. A time when all my long-suffering readers eagerly look forward to, when I vanish into the mountains and give them respite from my relentless flow of words. AND, may I say, a small ray of hope which probably fills their days with roseate thoughts - that I may be seduced into trying to 'find' myself in some remote cave there, leaving them in permanent peace. THAT hope, though, is totally in vain, since I have long concluded that there is nothing really to find in myself - what is the point in scrutinizing a vacuum, square inch by square inch?
My hosts, from the night of October 9 to the morning of October 11, shall be the esteemed Indian Railways, whose scrumptious meals I shall eagerly look forward to, as the only means to break the monotony of the day. The problem with A/c travel is that you hardly ever get to really take in the landscape that you whiz past. BUT, alas, the problem with non-A/c travel for me is that I can hardly even take in the compartment I am in, so focused I am on the rivulets of sweat that wend their way along various parts of my body.
From the October 11th to October 18th, my long-suffering friend from my working days shall take over. I do not take those people seriously, who claim that murmurs were heard in the vicinity of his house on the lines of "I thought we were safe because June had passed and he did not come. How was I to know that this year he would choose to come in October? Otherwise, I would have planned to visit the Sahara for a pleasant holiday." No! He is a sweet guy and I am sure that he is bending every nerve and sinew to ensure that Delhi, even if it does not approach Bangalore, is more a city to live in, and not merely a giant oven to bake people for some humongous cannibalistic orgy.
From the 19th to the 2nd November, you guys will sorely miss the sight of me trying to make out like a veteran trekker while actually moving more like an overburdened snail - except, of course, that the snail bulges only in the back. That huffing and puffing arthritic zombie muddling along on the trails of the Upper Mustang trek in Nepal would truly be a sight for sore eyes and an inspiration to all novice trekkers - on the lines of "If HE thinks he can trek, then WE can do it easily" - but THAT, alas, does not lie in your fortune to witness.
The Indian Railways shall take over again from the night of the 4th to the morning of the 6th. AND, once I land back here, I shall have the pleasure of chasing up computer technicians and plumbers to get my laptop, a couple of valves and my water purifier working again. They decided to take a vacation along with me AND ensured that my return, at least, shall remind me of my working days - by ensuring that I come back with regret AND a vast displeasure to getting back to the routine.
BUT, meanwhile, it is heighho to the Himalayas!