To say it’s cold is an understatement. It’s biting. It’s killing. Your teeth clatter as if there isn’t a joint to hold your jaws in place. Your fingers do not let you type without making terrible terrible groans and disobeying your commands cos they are numb. The task of opening the zip of your tent and putting on your floaters at 7 pm in the evening seems utterly beyond possibility – there’s a zip, there’s a forefinger and thumb, who in his right mind will get the three into contact. Everything, every smallest thing is a task. A literal task not due to laziness or exhaustion, but because of the numbness and the mind-body disconnect. The task of sitting crosslegged on the mat of the tent to write this causes the back to revolt, and all the while you are shivering as if there’s no tomorrow, your body is cold, cold to touch, while some part of you burns like a man with fever. 

3 more days of walking, climbing breathing as if your life depended on it. 3 more nights. Each seemingly longer and tougher than the previous one. No. Tomorrow’s night is going to be the longest. 2 am is the scheduled climb, the tent will be pitched in snow and its raining like crazy. But you are getting ahead of yourself. The only thing to do is to live this hour, this night, then think about the morning. The wind makes noises when it bangs the tent as if it is an urgent call to come out, an emergency beyond comprehension. 

It’s beautiful. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilerating. It’s numbing. Every small joy is being rediscovered – sunlight, knorr soup, a clean loo. Everyone is finding their own way to deal with their own challenges. 

The question remains, why? Why do i choose the most difficult way ahead in everything i do. Why do i have such a scorn for the easy way? To what and to whom do i have to prove anything at all. Every trek has a day like this – one among seven, when i question everything – whether i am running from something or whether i am proving something to myself or whether i do it just for the magnificent unbeatable views. I tell myself heaven cannot be easy. What will i take back? Will i ever know? 

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