+

Watch your step

‘Why can’t we inhale pine scented air all the time?’ my lungs, who have been at the receiving end of the substandard city air, seemed to say. ‘Don’t worry. Soon, I will settle in a cottage in the hills,’ I mumbled (I have been planning this for the last twenty years and shall keep on […]

‘Why can’t we inhale pine scented air all the time?’ my lungs, who have been at the receiving end of the substandard city air, seemed to say. ‘Don’t worry. Soon, I will settle in a cottage in the hills,’ I mumbled (I have been planning this for the last twenty years and shall keep on doing so as long as I live!).

My pupils were getting fully dilated by the picture postcard views all around. It was nothing short of a miracle that this picturesque area of Himachal Pradesh had escaped getting swarmed by the highly disruptive and extremely demanding species named the domestic tourist. This is precisely the reason why I avoid disclosing the exact location. Trekking with me were a few members of the nature club, thought of as freaks by many. Observing and photographing birds, butterflies and plants gives us a bigger kick than super strong beer. We were descending a path paved with stones- a simile for the journey of life. With a walking stick in my right hand, I felt as surefooted as a mountain goat.

Then I glanced upon a beauty- a butterfly with iridescent blue wings. I had to photograph it because it seemed like a lifer (naturalists’ term for a creature seen for the first time in life). But it hid in a nearby bush- as if a diva was avoiding paparazzi. Then misfortune decided to give a glimpse of it lest I developed the illusion that life was like a rose without a thorn. In a millisecond, my walking stick slid on the surface of a rock and I fell down on the path with a thud. The right ankle cried for help- in the form of pain. In true filmy style, I asked for water and even rolled my eyeballs upward. My observant friends sensed that though I was injured, my reaction was out of proportion to the injury. So, they made me get up. Like a typical Indian, I tried to find a scapegoat. Parents, spouse, government, constitution, CM and the PM- none seemed to have a role in this. I had voluntarily chosen the less trodden path.

While I was travelling back, the right ankle slowly swelled to double its size. As soon as I reached home, my better half said, with some justification, ‘I wouldn’t allow you to go on such trips in future.’ But she relented after I reasoned, ‘Those who have a roadside accident don’t stop travelling. Also, nature watching keeps me away from the vices!’

The injury was diagnosed as a mild sprain and I had to walk around with a stick for a few days. My inquisitive acquaintances, while expressing sympathy, invariably asked me the mode of injury. I told them about the fall but avoided revealing to them that I was distracted by a butterfly. Otherwise, it would have been presumed that it was a metaphorical butterfly and not a literal one.

Few days later, there was a brainwave- could there be an issue with the walking stick. I decided to inspect the stick. The rubber cap at the lower end of the stick had worn off- the probable reason for my fall while trekking. Ordered it from an online store immediately.
A lesson for a lifetime, learnt the hard way.

Even adventure should be planned- as if it is a venture!

Tags:

AdventureOpinionTDGThe Daily Guardian