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My mind foresaw a distant horizon and drew me forth. For trips may come and go, leave a mark down the memory lane but my last trip was nothing less than a trophy of gold. An everlasting impression engraved in beautiful bold letters, never to be erased, never to forgotten. A stunner of a trip with unknown destinations, a blank itinerary, places with no network connectivity, brilliant people, great food and an equally great bunch of friends. That’s how it was- a once in a lifetime, grad. Trip.

With initial plans of having some clichéd good time in Bangkok- shop, party hard and do stuff while Gokarna was a second option, plans somehow didn’t work out for us. Series of mails in different threads, opinions, differences, confusions and what not… and we were eventually left spoilt for choices. We couldn’t finalize on a destination and it was left unplanned, exactly the way it should have been. Though the destinations were less than a mere four hundred kilometres from home, but having packed an open mind before setting out made it an unforgettable experience.

We travelled extra, beyond the place of drop off and eventually landing up at Nainital. It gave us a much needed respite, away from this sweltering heat of Delhi. Bun-oms, quick noodles and tea for breakfast and a walk down the mall road in rain and mist landed us at Sakley’s. The place has decent food, the pasta seemed particularly good. We finally decided on Pangot as our destination over brunch. Known for small treks, a bird sanctuary and other not so important activities the place doesn’t attract much tourists during this time of the year. This unknown destination, got us disconnected from the rest of the world. Without connectivity in the middle of the sanctuary (where we stayed) life was simple, meals consisted of butter toasts, soupy maggi and scrambled eggs for breakfast and simple dal, roti(indian bread), sabzi (curry)and chawal(steamed rice) for dinner. Time seemed to slow down amidst beautiful trekking trails devoid of any human habitation. We crossed small waterfalls and streams where we bathed in ice cold water, jumped over rocks and chased butterflies.

The trip picked up some pace the next day when we set forth for Bhowali (on top of a jeep), to stay at Vrinda’s beautiful farmhouse. A perfect night with great food and drinks left us all tired of laughing out loud before we dozed off. Next morning Viniyata and I went for a small trek up the hill behind the place where we were staying. The hill had a three layer (barbed wire) fenced house at the top, covered with mist. (Reminded me of Tesla’s house from the movie prestige) Though we couldn’t reach all the way up, the small trek before breakfast was a perfect start for the day.

Breakfast was great fun (Thanks ladies)! Fluffy chocolate pancakes dripping with butter and honey, grilled butter toasties, a mammoth bowl of scrambled eggs (consisting of 18 frikkin’ eggs) was just so good! We took a taxi from there and reached Sattal. Surprisingly there were no one over there except us. The lake seemed haunted and we put on life jackets for a great session of kayaking. Kayaking with Gazal gave me stronger arms, (she sang and didn’t row- Our guide splashed water to get us going) and eventually we were thrown off the boats, it was a fantastic experience. We bade farewell to Sattal with a steaming cup of lemon tea.

Nainital gifted us with a brilliant dinner at a not so fancy place. Thanks to Drishty for taking us there. Great food, dirt cheap! Try out fried mutton momos, chicken manchow soup and dried chicken thuppa. This place deserves a mention in all the books which tells us why Nainital is worth a visit. The trip ended with a brisk walk down the mall road towards the bus terminus after a heavy dinner. In a matter of two days, we visited (and revisited) four different places, cooked, drank, swam, kayaked, had dinner under the stars, met great people, bathed in ice cold streams, chased butterflies, laughed and did everything we could have possibly asked for a graduation trip.

I don’t know if all us will get to travel together ever again, with people moving out of town for jobs, higher studies etc. But all I can say is, the trip had moments which left me awestruck and never before have I seen my friends this happy! I live for such trips, I realized I spend those three days staying in the present forgetting about the past and the future, I lived life…

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