Rishikesh Diaries: The Place Where I Left My Heart & Found Something Else

No, Uttarakhand tourism department didn’t pay me to write this (but they should).

It was with trepidation that I signed up to go to Rishikesh with 164 people from class. It was unnatural for me. I am a hobbit at heart. My idea of fun is lying in bed for 2 days with my laptop and snacks, if you saw a picture of me you would know!

Back to the class trip, Sir encouraged us to sign up. He said that the trip would rid us of our fears. That we could come back and study with vigour, it would enhance our preparation. That piqued my interest and I signed up for it – just me, none of my friends.

On reaching Rishikesh, I got to know that our trek was for a waterfall. I love water, so I thought yay, but I had no idea how hard it was going to be for me. I was out of breath by the time we were halfway through. I slowed down. Sir was the last to come. He pushed me like a maniac.

Photo: traveltriangle.com

“You won’t stop. You won’t look back,” he said.

I told him I wanted to throw up and he said, “You can throw up, you can fall but you won’t stop.” I asked him that how much further was the destination and he said, “I am not going to tell you just keep going.” He had a stick in his hand for his dog. I am pretty sure he would have used it on me!

Jokes apart, it is his yelling that has stayed with me. When I am too tired to go on, when I am lost in anticipation of results of my work as opposed to working without thinking about anything else, I can hear him yell. When I wake up in pain (chronic autoimmune condition) and I want to stay in bed all day, I think of that damn waterfall and I tell myself, “Don’t stop. Go on just don’t stop.”

Photo: traveltriangle.com

When I finally reached (with assistance), I didn’t go to the waterfall. I didn’t care about it. I sat there pondering, my purpose was achieved. I used to think that the end matters, means don’t. That changed. I didn’t need to see the waterfall, but I needed to reach there for another lesson. “If I can do this, something that I don’t even like or I am good at, then nothing should hold me back from doing what I like and am good at. There should be no fear then,” I told myself.

I have no pictures of the trip. I was immersed in my surroundings the whole time, yet I can’t describe it. It can’t be seen or read about. It wasn’t a holiday or an escapade. It was an experience.

My new-found strength, courage, conviction and peace, was what Rishikesh gave me. It is this that I have carried from Rishikesh and left my heart there in return.

Preview Photo: haridwarrishikeshtourism.com


Radha is a lawyer and preparing for civil services. She is a feminist (no that's not a bad word), environmentalist and potterhead. She loves superheroes but is an agnostic/ atheist.

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