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Go Solo Go Rishikesh

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It was a regular month of April, hot climate, Delhi to Gurugram traffic, fighting in finding a cab in the morning to reach office. I was following a monotonous routine, waking up, travel to work fighting the traffic, confronting the chaos, opening the laptop, checking unread mails, getting myself caffeinated followed by meetings, boss’s internal reviews, growth analysis, breakfast, calls, wrapping up my laptop, same traffic and cab fights then finally home for a few hours may be to just eat and sleep, then setting up an alarm for the next morning.

The traffic and cab part Delhi/ Gurgaon/Bangalore/ Mumbai people will relate to.

One fine office morning I was hallucinating on nature, while working I was imagining seas, beaches, a book in my hand, getting tanned and a fine cocktail by my side. But for this, I have to take a good week’s off which was not possible at that moment. I wanted to break the monotony and my monotonous ass get going. Just to compliment my thought surprisingly long weekend was waiting for me to say YES. I asked a couple of my friends if they like to tag along but none was available. So I decided to take a Solo trip to Rishikesh.

It was Thursday already & managed to book a seat in UPSRTC,  it’s a govt. parivahaan arrangement. I had boarded the bus from Kashmiri Gate on 18th night  at 10 PM. Single seater, a random, good looking chap was sitting right next to me. Wait! There is no Ahaan moment just a passenger going to Dehradoon. We soon hit NH 334, the journey was pleasant so far. The bus stopped at a Dhaba near Meerut and we were asked to freshen up & eat at 3.30 AM. There were 8 buses already parked there, making that Dhaba nothing less than a market hub. I somehow grabbed my tea and lit a cigarette & wondering “If I miss my bus who will come to my rescue? Who would inform me? May be the guy sitting next to me will help?”. Lost in my thoughts and smoking, after 2 minutes that random guy came rushing to me and screaming “ arrey bus nikal rahi hai”. I looked at him and started to laugh, scary much? But hey comeon it’s a little spooky as I just imagined the same scenario inside my head a while ago and it happened.

Moving on, I had finally reached Rishikesh ISBT at 7 AM. It felt so fresh, cold breeze tussling my hair, clean air, mountains, greenery ah! blessings to my eyes & lungs. I took an auto to Laxmi Yellow Guest House (hotel) in Tapovan. I chose OYO Rooms for budgeted and decent stay for single person. I checked in, unpacked, took shower ordered sunny side up on butter toasts with mango juice & took a good nap as my tummy got the yummy meal. I woke up at 1 PM, wrapped up some office work, got ready and soon hit the roads of Rishikesh. It was crowded but vibes were so positive, enthusiastic and full power. I rented a black Activa for two days worth Rs 500 per day. Fair deal is it ?

The next steps i followed : Engines on – Check, Helmet on – Check, Bluetooth speaker – Check,  Bike papers – Check , Good vibe – Always.

I planned to visit Beatles Ashram as I am a fan of their music so curiosity drove me there. That Ashram is located on eastern bank of Ganga, one has to cross Laxman Jhoola if living near Tapovan.It is originally Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Asharam who invented Transcendental Meditation technique. The Ashram got the attention when The Beatles attended the Ashram during 1960’s. I covered 10 Kms to reach the Asharam, paid Rs 100 as en entry fees just imagine! There has to be some discount, Indian hone ka fayda? The moment I entered, it was beautiful, meditation caves, huge area with flora & fauna all around. I walked there for a while and discovered a Maharshi and Beetle’s museum. There were different empty chambers but the walls were not as empty as I thought of. You can feel and see the creativity spreading from one wall to another The Graffiti. It was not just “Another brick in the wall” but vivid colors, quite artistic, people were jamming, singing, listening, munching and chilling there. Four hours flew by without any realization, into my own world of floating thoughts.

Below 1st image from the left is meditation cave and right image is a portrait from the museum

Sun went down and I wanted to grab something to eat. So I took off from there and started exploring the nearby restaurants, cafés, dhabas. I found a café called “Little Buddha Café”. The exteriors were not noticeable, seemed shady but that café was so chill, one could not judge the place by the exteriors. It has hippie vibe, people from around the globe , psychedelic theme and good food. I made myself comfortable and met Isreali people, relaxed with them, talked about cultures, values, world, issues, interests etc. Soon after I pushed off for my hotel, changed, did some office work & slept.

Next day, I had plans to go for rafting, so I asked my hotel manager to arrange it for me. The car came to pick me from the hotel at 11 AM and took me to the spot a little more farther from Shivpuri. We were 8 persons in the car & I met two Delhi based girls, very intellectual & talkative plus turned out to be good company & somehow traveling alone fascinated them to the core. We hit river Ganga around 12.30 PM with full enthu & screamed “ Ganga Mayya ki Jai” & almost sailed for 4 hours including the cliff jumps, swims and maggie point not to mention but the water temperature was very cold, yeah cold enough that one could shiver his jaws out irrespective the sparkling hot sun rays. At Maggie point one cigarette costs Rs 20… Just saying.

We had reached Laxman Jhoola where our ride ended, went back to hotel, freshen up, took my bike as I had an appointment at Ayurvedic Spa center near Laxman jhoola to give some treat to my mind & body. I asked my new friends the girls from Delhi if they wanted to have dinner together & they agreed. So we went to Pure soul café in Badrinath Road, perfect ambiance for an evening appetite.  We wrapped up from there around 11 PM and came back to hotel, nice cozy and close to perfection.

During my solo trip I have realized that how important it is to be aloof yet connected, new routes, unknown places & people but yet so familiar. Solo trips lead you to explore your potential and push you to achieve beyond your pre decided self limits, ultimately helps you find a transformed version of yourself.

I have started taking solo trips now and they always remind of the song – “People are strange, when you are stranger” by The Doors. With a small bliss I had during my weekend I respectfully said bye to Rishikesh and returned to Mi Casa.

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