A peek of the snow-peaked mountains from my favourite cafe at McLeodganj.
So, I told you all about how I planned a trip with my girlfriends. The key word here is ‘planned’. I actually did the bus bookings and the hotel bookings for the first time before a trip.
However, being the procrastinator that I am, I miserably failed to deliver on my promise of updating my blog immediately after I came back. In fact, it has been more than a month and I have done another work-cum-leisure trip in between.
So, today I decided to drag my lazy ass to my laptop and finally post an update. (And, it took a hell of a lot of convincing by the Bawse Lilly Singh aka Superwoman – if you don’t know her, you need to spend more time on YouTube – for me to be able to sit up after a busy day at work and pour my heart out.)
So, here goes…
A church peeking from between coniferous trees, monks debating Buddhist philosophies at monasteries, potato momos sold by an old lady by the road, fluorescent lights glimmering like stars in the valley and constellations clearly visible in the sky above, omelette, sausages, muesli and curd, fresh fruit and a large mug of coffee for breakfast and a cake and ginger-lemon-honey tea in the evening, the snow-capped mountains, peaceful meditation, boys sitting on the third floor of a house on a hilltop with paintbrushes in hand, painting the Buddha and Avalokitesvara, the thousand-armed God of compassion.
And, a little smoking up.
This is how I spent the three-day vacation with my girls in McLeod Ganj.
(Like James Joyce I just wanted to keep going, forgetting all about punctuations in the first sentence. Then I remembered, my journalism professors will give me a ‘C-‘ for it. The sentence is way too long and has way too many punctuations. It is impossible for the readers to understand, they would say. But, I hope you do :p)
McLeod Ganj is a quaint little town with a bustling market selling clothes, brass show-pieces, tea, incense sticks, and the tiny cafes with delicious cakes in the lap of the Dhauladhar ranges. (Haven’t I already given you enough reasons to just pack your bags and head out? And, if you are from Delhi, you can do the trip on a weekend!)
But, for me, the vacation was not just about the beauty of the place. It was also about the inner beauty.
(I know, I know, it is like a line picked up from the moral science textbook. But, it’s true.)
During the three days that I spent with my girls, something changed in me. I understood that I could be happy if I simply wanted to be happy. I felt motivated to do all the things that I have ever wanted to.
I looked in the mirror and I loved what I saw. Yes, I am obese according to my BMI, but I loved me after a very long time.
I don’t know when I became this negative old hag (or, maybe I always was). I used to wake up and criticise myself.
Criticise myself for not looking good, for not knowing how to dress up, for sleeping with a guy just to please him, for drinking more alcohol than I could handle, for not doing all the tasks that I had planned for the day (even though I know that I always over-plan and there is no way that I would be able to complete all of it.)
I treated myself as trash and let other people treat me the same way. Then, I blamed myself for not standing up for me. And, round and round spiralled the self-loathing and blame, pushing me deeper into a pit from where I never thought I would emerge.
But, then something happened in McLeodganj. The calm and peace gave me time to look at me, time to reflect on what I have been doing. The solo walk to the church and meditation at the edge of the valley let me understand that how I feel about myself and, in turn, how other people feel about me, is completely in my power.
I realised I needed to love myself before falling in love, I needed to respect my work before trying to win awards, I needed to work towards fulfilling my dreams. And, I knew that I had the power to do anything.
“I am invincible,” was my mantra. I said it out loud to me. (And, then to a friend after smoking up :p)
I said it and I believed it. And, suddenly everything was a little brighter. Getting up from the bed and facing the world became a little easier each day. I started enjoying simple things – like waking up in the morning and yawning with arms spread out while standing on the balcony, sipping coffee while talking to a friend, sitting under a tree and reading a book. All of it started feeling magical.
This was the trip that made me a unicorn!!