I stretched out under the heavy blankets, savouring the warmth they spread into every part of me. The heavy comfort of the mattress only belied the biting cold I would feel once I stepped out of it, amplified even more by the wooden flooring, on which I would have to step barefoot, because apparently, ‘traveling light’ for me involves not packing bedroom slippers *facepalm*. Idiot.
I snuggled in a little deeper, not caring that my alarm would ring again in 10 minutes, and then in another 10. Who even needed an alarm? Where did I even have to be? Let it ring, I thought, as I curled up into a cosier, cuddlier ball and let the happy, happy warmth engulf me once again. A satisfied smile crept across my face as I let me eyes droop and I drifted into a state of semi-consciousness once again.
This place does this to you. For once in my life, I was okay with not having a plan. I was okay with waking up when my body felt like; I was okay with spending hours in the shower under the steaming water; I loved eating whatever I felt like at whichever time I felt like. I was living according to what I felt like. What I felt. And I was LOVING it. Heck, I AM loving it.
I’m in McLeodganj, and the sights and sounds of Mumbai seem to be a distant illusion. Much like how this life was a distant illusion when I was in Mumbai. I’m among the mountains right now, albeit for a very short period, where life is slower. It has its fair share of challenges, but doesn’t everything? But you know what? This is amazing.
Yeah, I did wake up, eventually. I climbed the slopes (those are the roads here, by the way. Slopes.) of McLeodganj and went hunting for good coffee. I chased sunsets (chasing sunrises didn’t happen, obvious reasons). I clicked views that I stared at for far too long. I ate delicious food, and downed kickass desserts (zero guilt, because hey, slopes!). And then the cycle repeats.
I’m learning something about myself everyday. I’ve changed. I was someone who wanted to live life in the fast lane. Climb the corporate ladder. Race through life to get to the top of the mountain. Maybe it didn’t strike me earlier, or maybe I was in denial, but that life, while it came with its own perks, made me sad. I’d feel like my insides had been scooped out and I was left hollow, an emptiness no amount of money, food, shopping, whatever, could fill.
Today, I’ve realised that I do want to get to the top of the mountain, but it’s usually only to look at the view, not to find the next ascent. I still want to get there, but I want to do it with people that I love and care about, and keep adding to that list along the way. Getting to the top first doesn’t matter so much anymore. My journey there, the memories I make, the friends I make, the fun I have – that’s taken priority.
As I sit in this beautiful cafe in Mcleodganj filled with books, soft music playing in the background and a hearty fireplace crackling merrily away, I realise that maybe, just maybe, my journey has just begun. As I meet people from backgrounds and stories different from mine, I realise that maybe my story is still being scripted. As I write this, I realise that I AM the scriptwriter.