They were five friends. They couldn’t think of a single thing without each other. Each was the other’s inspiration, motivation, love, companion, in short soul mate. They not only grew up together but had created their own world. Entry to their world was largely restricted and privacy was protected fiercely.
But whatever it is today, will it remain the same for ever?
As days passed by, they realised that things will not remain the same. They would have to build their careers, their homes. One priority or the other blocked the way of each. They realised that their sweet small world is going to be tested by time. Very soon, everyone would have to fend for themselves. Hence, they decided to spend 10 days together, away from the crowd where no explanation was required.
The friends made a plan for Sandakphu – a wonderland place for trekkers. It is located at an altitude of almost 12,000 feet in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. From there one can see four of the five highest peaks in the world and many other peaks of Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan in one single stretch of snow. There are over 600 varieties of orchids here.
Of the five friends, one was a girl. The girl felt complete amidst this group. She derived her strength from them. She had absolute faith in her company. She faced the society’s brutal remarks, heard humiliating comments about her character. She gave a damn to the mean mentality of the neighbours who did not understand the meaning of friendship between girls and boys. In all probability, people were offended because this girl was always happy. Therefore, keeping everything aside, she invested in this beautiful friendship.
No one knew where they were going, not even the family members. Trekking is not for the weak hearted and parents would not have allowed them, had they informed. They packed their baggage and off they went for Sandakphu from Kolkata by Haldibari Express for a journey of adventure, friendship, sharing secrets, memories and to get lost even if for a few days.
Initially, it was pure agony. They felt that everyone else was right when they said that trekking is not everyone’ cup of tea. They met two teachers from Darjeeling Convent who went, ‘What? Are you guys sure you can trek? You are too young. You have just started the trek and this is your condition. The last six kilometres is very tough and we can say that because we have been trekking this path for years. You may face trouble.’
They were definitely down but not at all out.
Through cold wind and rain, drenched to the skin, dog tired, they had the greatest secret of strength. Their friendship! When one of them fell, the other four rushed forward to pull that person up. They cracked jokes on the fall for hours. They started enjoying the beauty, that of the nature, the trek and that of the serene company. They completed the trek in four days and the first step on Sandakphu was like man’s giant leap to moon. No words could express the feelings after their greatest achievement.
They were the happiest persons in the world at that moment. Surrounded by the mighty snow-clad peaks, they were also surrounded by their best buddies. What could one ask for more?
They were a tad apprehensive when they took up the challenge. But they proved to everyone and to themselves that one’s mental strength, positivity, bonding and the eternal fire of friendship can overcome any obstacle.
This could be a small story about trekking but for all of us, it is about our sweet little family. The story of our own people. The story about our life lines.
As narrated by Mandira Banerjee