By The Mountains - Love Reloaded

By The Mountains - Love Reloaded

12 mins 12.6K 12 mins 12.6K


It was a day much like every day. Just another day like all the others in Delhi.

Sandeep swept through the door from his own cabin into mine.

‘Finally, the news we were waiting for has come,’ he broadcast contentedly.

I raised my head from the file I was studying and shifted my brain into neutral. Already, it was very chaotic. Continuously sitting at one place for more than an hour has already alarmed my body.

The day has already played with me well. All my beliefs regarding the goodness of number 13 are almost devastated today.

In my knowledge, number 13 has always been lucky. It represents the divine father into his three forms-BrahmaVishnu and Mahesh. Number 13 is also a numerical representation of the divine mother in her three manifestations - KaliLakshmi and Saraswati. At Jesus Christ's last supper, there were thirteen people around the table, counting Christ and the twelve apostles. In Shia Islam, 13 signify the 13th day of the month of Rajab (Lunar calendar) which is the birth of Imam Ali. 13 also is a total of 1 Prophet and 12 Imams in the Shia school of thought. The Moon moves 13 degrees around the Earth every day. It takes 13 days to change from Full Moon to New Moon and 13 days to change back with 1 day Full and 1 day new to equal 28 days of the Lunar Cycle.

But today, calendar focusing 13th October was killing me like it never did. My training has extended. 13 senior management people raped all my knowledge I accumulated during my graduation. Large Nine foot 4.5' x 9' table, burdened with 13 files in front of me, was staring at me like any giant dracula. Message from my boss that all files need to be submitted by 13:00 hour of the day, round about choked my windpipe.

For a second, all unluckiness of number 13 encircled my mind and it dawned on me that 13 is considered as an unlucky number in some countries. Charles Stewart Parnell had an irrational fear of the number thirteen.  The end of the Mayan calendar's 13th Baktun was superstitiously feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon that cataclysmic or transformative events would occur around 21 December 2012. Fear of the number 13 has a specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia, a word which was coined in 1911. The superstitious sufferers of triskaidekaphobia try to avoid bad luck by keeping away from anything numbered or labelled thirteen. As a result, companies and manufacturers use another way of numbering or labelling to avoid the number, with hotels and tall buildings being conspicuous examples (Thirteenth floor). It's also considered to be unlucky to have thirteen guests at a table. Friday the 13th has been considered the unluckiest day of the month. 

And likewise, fear of number 13 steamed my mind. All my surrounding started haunting me like 13 number on calendar, 13 files on table, 13:00 hour alarm set on my cell phone, number 13 on my work station, a wall paper entitled with 13 ways to be happy.

And finally this round faced, slim, with extra curly hair on his head Employee No. 90013, whom I count as one of my best friends, suddenly entered my cabin with his one hand skillfully hanging in his blue denim Levis jeans and another holding a parker pen half inserted in his mouth.

‘Finally, the news we were waiting for has come.’ Sandeep’s eyes were continuously amplifying my nervousness.

‘News…. What News?’

‘Mean you have not checked your inbox till now.’ He frowns and departs to pick up the phone that was ringing in his cabin.

Checking inbox is such a grumpy task I never liked, especially, when more than half of the inbox is flooded with trash. I leaned back, massaging my tired nerves so as to dig in to check the mail.

WTF’ words appeared on my lips as in bold letters heading ‘13 unread mails' caught my attention. Indeed, from the day, I don’t think number 13 will ever mesmerize me; still a thought came in my mind that thank God, Lord Krishna is still with me.

It didn’t even take a minute for me to understand the news. Not news exactly, it was one of my dreams till then. I was thrilled enough to read the mail and it was like a dream come true.

Trekkiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnngggg’ this was how the last batch had introduced it in a single word and we were desperately waiting for the same by then.

I smiled. The action was relaxation in itself.


From:    Sahil.Kapoor

Sent:     Friday, October 13, 2010 11:44AM

To:       Partho; Dhruv Gupta; Ankur Sangwan; Pramod Kumar;

            Amandeep; Deepak Kumar; Sonal Arora; Nitin Gautam; Sandeep Kumar Malik;   

            Shweta Gabba; Swati Bhardwaj; Shilpa Nair; Manish Anand; Anjali Sharma;

            Dwarka Nath Murli; Pinaki Sarkar; Anshuman; Anshu Jayent; Nishit Sehgal; Namit;

           Vivek Kaushik; Mandeep; ………..

Cc:       Suniti Sachdeva; Ashok Chauhan; Milli Gupta

Subject: Outbound Leadership Training

Attachment: Batch-1.xls; Batch-2.xls; Booklet.pdf; Batch-1.pdf; Batch-2.pdf

Dear All,

We are pleased to inform you that Leadership course (Outdoor) is being organized in two batches in the month of Nov/Dec 2010.

The details are as under:

Program:  Outbound Leadership Course

Dates: 12th Nov to 21th Nov and 7th Dec to 16th Dec 2010

Venue: Uttarkashi


You have been nominated to attend this program as per the enclosed list of batches.


The participants are required to reach the base camp at Uttarkashi on 11th Nov 2010 & 6th Dec 2010.

Accordingly, you are required to depart from DELHI, a day prior to the reporting date of Uttarkashi.


My name was listed in the Batch-2. The news filled me with a sense of ecstasy and excitement; excitement to be away from work for so many days, excitement to being solace, excitement to be free from all obligations, excitement to climb rocks, excitement to live in Jungles and excitement to trek 13,500 feet.

Well, the excitement was even more essential for me to come out from the stress of work, especially after today’s magic of number 13 and indeed, from the memorable memories of Shubhi.

Whoa!! Off from work for days, break from a snarky boss. A sudden wave of tickling sensation pierced through me, although Shubhi had already preoccupied that part of my time, when memories could haunt me.

We were thirty-two people in total, heading towards Uttarkashi for a real fun-cum-adventure.

Aah! How can I forget? With the word adventure, most of the widespread stories in the world are adventure-centered and from the day I’ve heard some adventure stories from my peers, adventure seems to be pumped in my blood. The thought of living it every minute, every hour, every day seemed very much exciting. One could easily feel that excitement on my face, especially my parents, who had been gauging me continuously during the whole month of November. The trip was actually enticing for me after the strain of last six months. It was a chance for me to be aloof and it would definitely help me to heal the rift that was growing in my heart. I needed to build up myself again as it had taken such a bad knock since Shubhi left.

From the day, astrology grabbed hold of my wits and I grabbed hold of sun signs, moon signs, horoscopes, planetary system and meaning of different names, I acknowledged that Shubhi means good luck, sometimes, may even stand for auspicious, however my sentiments never comprehended the same.

So, just in a hurry to go, despite the fact that my clothes, medicines, camera and all the other items were in a mess on a spine-chilling evening of departure – 06th Dec, 2010, I ate mitha dahi from the hands of my beautiful mother and rushed towards the assembly point. It seemed that now finally fear of love would be out of my system, now love will never pierce through me like any pain, now those feelings will not blow me apart again and again. With every step, I moved freely with a smile on my face. And unaware of the reality what God had actually written for me, I was ready with all my positive energies to welcome someone unwelcomed in my life.


‘She will reach within ten minutes,’ Swati said to Mr. Rajesh, our team coordinator, a very gentle personality, just sitting behind me. Half-bald with pointed nose and little moustache under rectangle framed glasses on deep dark eyes, Mr. Rajesh in his mid-forties, actually discussing the route plan with the driver. 

It was about eleven at night, driver Mohan Lal was just ready to take off. Everyone was delighted, chatting; some were grooving to music, others having snap shots – girls perhaps to flaunt on facebook to fetch maximum attention of boys and boys for sure, vice versa. And in addition to all, I was calling my parents.

After all, we would take off in sixteen minutes. Ten minutes for the arrival of her because of whom we were already late by half an hour. Well, girls can never be on time on any occasion. Then another five minutes to place her luggage; which definitely, will be heavier than her. And the last one for me to compose myself into smiling and then have a power nap.

So, calling up Sandeep, I turned into my seat, wishing fleetingly that at some point of time – just once would do – someone would fill my life with blossoms and bring me some good news.

Sitting on my seat, I noticed absent-mindedly that a girl was striding towards me, her pink colour handbag swinging. Automatically, my brain shifted into an analytical mode, and I classified the footsteps. They belonged to girl who had charted her own course in life and who knew exactly where she was going to – and why.

Eyes to the ground, I pressed on, conscious that the time I had allocated for catching a nap was flying by.

‘Is there something wrong?’ a deep feminine voice brought me in present. The footsteps had ceased, their owner was addressing me.

I lifted my head and looked straight into her eyes that were like the sea below a clear sky, black and deep and fathomless. I went headlong into their depths, plunging, drowning, with as much chance of coming up for air as a diver floundering out of control.

Smell of shampoo made me half cynical. Wow! Girls smell so good.  

Distractedly, my subconscious filled in the rest of her face. Her hair was loose and straight, swinging off her shoulders. Her face was narrow with sharp features. There was planted a short nose, the fine forehead, dimples forming in the cheeks; attractive chin, the sensitive fullness of lips, making her subtly-cute. Above all, there was the overpowering presence of a girl.

Those lips moved again. ‘You look,’ they were saying, ‘as if you have the troubles of the entire population of the world on your shoulders.’

I surfaced, gasping for air, my lifeline reconnected. I broke into a laugh.

Shaking my head, my thick black hair swinging, ‘Not the entire population, only a very small section of it,’ I answered with an improper wink.

‘Idiot,’ she muttered while glancing at her watch and moved further while pressing some numbers on her mobile.

At the turn, I glanced back. Oh, yes, she knew where she was going to. And, by the proud angle of her head, I judged that she would surely go to the last seat where she would be alone so that she could hang on her mobile.

Sandeep was continuously staring at me. Moving near my ears he commented, ‘sweet, beautiful and sexy!’

‘With the most beautiful eyes you could hope to see in a girl,’ I said.

He was still staring at me, may be to draw some fun out of this.

‘Aah! C’mon, give me a break man; love again, seems impossible now.’

‘What do you mean by - Now?’

‘Oh! Nothing. I urge you to leave the topic. Some girls make a grab.’

‘Is that so?’ Sandeep laughed hard, refuting what I said, ‘But may be you are interested to know her name.’ He looked at me again with a smile and all of a sudden we both shared a hearty laugh.

“Anjali, that’s her name”, I heard along with the noise of horn, that driver Mohan Lal pressed while manipulating the thrust of the engine in order to leave the busy crowded roads of Delhi. I peeped through the window into the dark night which beautified the approach to the large modern buildings, twinkling with electric bulbs; doped beggars crowding at red lights; big malls shutting down their small world; dogs chasing big cars; row of glowing streetlights with few flickering elements, and some lonely characters like me wandering here and there. But it seemed that now that I finally having the desertion of my ex-girlfriend out of my brain, Shubhi will be away from me forever and I will be happy again.

But my relationship had taught me a few things – the sad things actually, and Shubhi’s memories were still afresh in my mind. I wished I could turn back the clock where foggy memories never existed.

Two arms came around me and smoothened cheek rubbed against mine. Replacing herself, she turned slowly into my arms and tears came then, reaction to her quarrel with me, to her uncertainty as to whether she was doing right in wanting to stay away from me, the tug inside of the child she was intending to deny the guy she loved so deeply, when I wanted her so much.

‘Take Care’ were the last words she said while handing over me the letter that caused havoc in my life.

The mobile ring thrust a misplaced trill into the atmosphere and I came out from her pull. I didn’t really feel like receiving any call, but I wasn’t about to let my mood ruin the time for Shubhi.

Well, I hoped with a faint sigh that was the one problem that would not knock on my door now, pleading to be solved. If I still suffered from a residue of despair, or even badly battered psyche, I will try to battle it with the positive energies that were somewhere taking birth in my soul. I would hardly seek out any comforting shoulder, I was sure.

‘Maybe I was just kidding myself. But as far as I was concerned, though, things couldn’t have been worse,’ I thought.

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