“I’ve never felt so alone in my life”, she kept muttering to herself the night she was to leave for her solo trip. She laughed at the timing of her solo trip. Here she was desperate to be held and to be loved, and the next thing she was going to do was hop on a flight to go off to discovering a new place for 10 days all alone. She knew how she was making her loved ones feel by saying it over and over again. But she was alone and she felt alone. And she couldn’t hide it anymore. She tried being nice, tried camouflaging her emotions but boy was that hard. Eventually she gave up.
“Maybe it is coming at a good time. Maybe this time alone will help me get some perspective”, she tried to console herself as she settled into her seat by the window on her flight. She looked out and saw the city she had been living in since she was born. Never before did it make her feel like such a stranger. So many people, yet not one who could make her see the bright side. The flight started to rumble as it readied for takeoff and she shut her eyes, praying. Don’t know for what… but just praying.
When she opened her eyes, she found herself in the lap of mountains. The travel, the hotel, the food; she skipped it all. Her memory seemed to wipe off everything that happened from the time she landed to the time she arrived at the camp site in the valley. She looked around and saw that she was the only one sitting at the bonfire. The bonfire was also slowly dying. Clearly she had been here for a while, only she couldn’t remember anything. Nor did she feel any pressure to try and remember. She saw some families in the distance, settling in their camps, calling it a night. As if she wasn’t alone enough, suddenly all those around her also disappeared. They all seemed to retreat into hidden crevices of the hills. She was engulfed by the darkness and the mountains.
All she could see was the beautiful, dark and empty night sky with a sprinkle of stars. The mountains, tall and strong, staring down at her and the crackling sound of the dying bonfire. It was so quiet that she could hear herself breathe. There was no breeze and she felt as if she was floating in a little bubble, as if she wasn’t on the ground.
Back there in the city she had a thousand voices going off in her head at any given time and today in the lap of stillness, she didn’t have a single thought. Her mind was blank and she was empty. She tried to think of something, of someone… anything. But nothing came to her. It was just her. Plain and empty. She looked up at the mountains and they seemed to look down at her as if mocking her. Years come and go, and so do seasons, but they never move. They stand there, tall and proud. So stable in the wake of everything around them changing.
“It’s annoying! Are you mocking me? For being so little? So fickle?”
They didn’t say anything. They stood there, still looking down at her. After a moment of restlessness, she sat down and looked at the bonfire in front of her. The smoke was starting to rise as it reached the last of it life. Her eyes were fixed on the burning log of wood. She was still, as still as the mountains. And it was then she realized the conversation she had with the mountains. They were no longer looking down on her. They became her. The mountains and her were looking at the bonfire, with the same calmness and the same surety. At that moment, she shut her eyes, feeling completely at peace.
The next she opened her eyes and she was back in Mumbai, getting off the flight. Her mind was buzzing again, there were a million thoughts running through her mind and there were more people running past her. And all she had left was a memory. A memory of the night the mountains called out to her, to become one of them. And now she was no longer afraid of being alone. The mountains were calling and they had something important to say.