We pitched three tents, a little away from the banks of Kundalika river. The holding capacity of the tents was 2+2+3. Amrita, Shrutika, and I were in the larger tent. Anurag and Pratik were in one tent, and Roshan alone was in the third tent. Who was sleeping in which tent didn't really matter, as we slept for one hour only.
After we erected our tents on the neon green carpet, we started changing into swimwear. Anurag had carried a waterproof action camera and we took it to the river.
The temperature of Kundalika river was perfect--not too cold, not too hot. It was a divine time to swim. There was not a single soul apart from us. It was only us. Floating, splashing water, and marvelling at the beauty around. I had never seen such a breathtaking view; it was one of the best landscapes I'd ever seen. There was a valley with tall mountains and we could see the dense mist around it. Shortly, it started raining there and we could see the rain move along with the clouds. Such a beautiful sight!
When it got darker, we came out of the water. I was hoping the weather to be chilly, but it wasn't. In fact, all the warm clothes I'd carried were only a burden. I wish I hadn't carried warm clothes at all.
We changed into dry clothes, following which, the guide brought dinner. Roshan badly wanted to grill chicken and paneer. He started marinating chicken. Alongside, rest of us were trying to make a campfire. The worst thing to forget while camping is a matchbox; we had only one of it with us. We weren't aware until we had three matchsticks left. We tried using different stuff--magazine papers, tissues, deodorant, oil, logs, twigs--but nothing worked. The fire was alive for barely ten minutes, after which, we gave up.
We went inside the large tent to have dinner. Dinner per person cost us Rs. 150 and the carrying charges were Rs. 50 one way. So we paid the person total Rs. 950. The quantity provided was absurd--less dal, less sabzi, a lot of rice, and a lot of rotis. We thought the sabzi was insufficient so we mashed the paneer cubes and mixed into it. The guide had forgotten to bring water, so the boys had to get it from taps that were 10 minutes away from the campsite.
As there was no fire, Roshan's wish of having barbequed paneer and chicken was not fulfilled. We then served all the leftover food to the dog that was with us right from the base village to our campsite. He was sleeping outside our tents and had become a faithful guard. Every time someone passed, he used to growl. His growling was like a security alarm. Tommy, as christened by Shrutika, seemed hungry as he ate a lot of our leftover food.
We were unsure of what to do next, so we thought of having fun with the cards. Playing cards inside the tent was a big no, as it was way too hot inside. The bad thing about monsoon is the humidity; because of the humidity, there's no wind flowing. We would have died out of heat and suffocation inside the tent; plus, torches would have made it even worse.
So we decided to play cards outside. It was pitch-dark. I laid magazine papers for us to sit, and one more in the centre to keep the deck of cards. We were going to play Barbie Uno. The boys were reluctant to play it, but I told them we had no other option. We played around five rounds of Uno using flashlights, after which, it was about to be midnight.
We were constantly keeping an eye on the time as it was Anurag's birthday. We got up and cleaned the mess. We wished him at midnight, and it was time for a surprise! Pratik and I had packed a chocolate cake all the way from Mumbai in a round container. I brought the cake to him and he was surprised! He had not imagined cutting cake on a campsite, for sure! We sang the birthday song to him, fed him the cake, smashed the leftover on his face, and then cleaned ourselves up. What a wonderful way to celebrate one's birthday! Amidst the nature!
After the cake cutting session, we decided to take a nap. But it was hot inside the tents, so we came up with a hack instead...
Part 3 of the travelogue coming soon...