The once-in-a-lifetime experiences in life can be broadly categorized into two types. The first are those that are unique because the opportunity to experience them is unique and may not come by again. The second category is those that you would never be silly enough to sign up for again.
Our scheduled hike-up-a-mountain belonged to the second of these categories. Don’t get me wrong… I thoroughly enjoyed myself… but you’d really have to push me at gun-point to do it again and then too it’s probable that I’ll resist and take my chances that the gun misfires.
Our NGO organized this hike-up-the-mountain (as per the agenda) for us on a Sunday, and I had visions of a dirt track, boots on firm mud, a few gazelles drifting across the path, birds fluttering sweet nothings over the heavily wooded and beautiful landscape. The hike we got instead was nothing like that!!I strongly urge the content owners of the Chinese to English dictionary to revisit the word for hike.
|Project Goal Setting Tollgate|
|Whatever that means!|
The mountain is real… and while the 'hike' it is not, the journey up against the magnificent force of the Earth's gravity is real. And there are a goddamawful number of steps up… 3086!
Let me pause here. I understand that a good deal of my readership is senior management in impressive positions and used to seeing large figures on their monthly bank account statement and the figure above may have been simply skimmed over.
Three Thousand and Eighty Six Steps.
T h r e e T h o u s a n d A n d E i g h t y S i x S t e p s.
For my friends familiar with Hindi: teen hazaaar che-aassi (!!)
For my friends familiar with Roman numerals: MMMLXXXVI
Anyway, I proudly present a picture of the group climbing the stairs. Note that as I’m not in this picture, it essentially means that I was leading the pack.
|Looking relaxed eh? No clue of what lay further.|
There might be contradictory and defamatory pictures floating around in alternate blogs and I urge you to consider this perfectly rationale explanation for those pictures: Out of a sense of moral responsibility for the group I, being the broadest person in the team (in the absence of Carlos), eventually decided that someone needed to take the responsibility of bringing up the rear just in case one of the team members tipped over backwards. There! That sounds reasonable enough.
|Too late to discover a fear of heights.|
Denis and Sue made it up without breaking a sweat. Which is fine since I was sweating enough for the entire team anyway. Andrea and I faced a bit of a challenge on the way up but that too is easily explained by the fact that our project with the University is extremely grueling and stress levels have permeated from the mental to the physical. Had we been given a simpler project with a corporate or something, you would have seen us flitting from step to step and double hopping a few in the way just for fun.
|A head count on reaching indicated that we had indeed all managed. Some just about!|
The journey brings you close to the almighty… you either get to see the pretty Buddhist temple on top, or you topple and reach even closer to Him (though you’d probably be kept for a few days in the pre-heavens infirmary to get back to normal).
|Laughing Buddha? "Ha Ha Ha... see what you went through to get up here buddy?"|
|The temple of a thousand Buddhas|
|Some touch of Hinduism on display?|
Remember folks… once-in-a-lifetime. Strictly!