The weekend of February 2019

It is funny how life works. Like clockwork, every December I find myself setting goals for the next four seasons. Apart from the usual suspects like eating better and procrastinating less, I thought 2019 will be the year I would cover as many national parks as humanly possible. Remote, physically challenging, breathtakingly beautiful – NPS of US has everything that an introvert traveller like me yearns for me. Talking about national parks, Aaron Sorkin once said Yosemite makes America the greatest nation on earth.  I do not know what makes the greatest nation in the world but am pretty good at spotting a beautiful place when I see one.  It helps that I can go there using public transport. Yes, I do not have a car and also find driving a wee bit stressful.

As the year rolled by, I found myself lusting after another trip. As soon as the shutdown was over, I found myself looking for a place to stay inside the park. Thus far I have never managed to stay inside the park. I wanted to go on Feb 9th but there were no reservations for that day but there was opening on 16th Feb and 17th Feb. 18th Feb being a holiday, that worked fine.  This mundane detail had a lot of foreshadowing of how things worked out for my trip. As things stood, I got the terrible flu on 8th Feb and was bedridden for most of 8th Feb. Even if had booked a trip on 8th, I would not have been able to make it.

 

Speaking of foreshadowing, this was not the only alteration I had to do for my itinerary. there was heavy snowfall on 8th and all reservations in campgrounds for my trip were cancelled. But I had decided to go no matter what. I made an alternate arrangement and found myself staying inside the park for one day and just outside for the other.

Picture: On the road

 

 

 

Picture: Yosemite under the moon light

On the day of the trip, I woke up at 3:30 and took the bus, train and another bus to Yosemite. Did I say I really wanted to go during the weekend? After having booked the trip, I also found that my trip will be near a full moon and the valley will be bathed in snow.  I was pretty excited to hike in moon-lit snow. I reached the park without any incident and basked in the reflection of the rays of the moon or as some dictionaries in another language will say “Himangshu Jyoti”. Yes, that is my name and it literally means “Moon’s light”.

 

 

 

Picture: Start of upper Yosemite

Due to the heavy cover of snow, many of the treks were closed. I did my reconnaissance and found out the open treks. Early next morning I went out to hike Upper Yosemite Falls. A hike I had done one a half year back when the tracks were brown and stony.  I found out that the entire hike was not safe but it was safe to go to something called “Colombia Rock”.  This was going to very different. The brown soil had given way to a thick blanket of snow. I kept climbing and noticed there were few other hikers. Even as an introvert solo hiker, I like to meet other people on the trail for safety reasons.

Picture: One for the profile pic

 

 

 

Picture: The paws that made me run away

 

 

 

 

Picture: Colombia Rock

 

 

 

After some time I was startled by mini avalanches but I kept going on because I saw fresh footmarks in the snow. Eventually, I met someone returning who told me it was safe till Colombia Rock but that there was a bear prowling beyond it. I was worried about overshooting but kept on going. As I had feared, I overshot the lookout and kept on going. I had not met another trekker for quite some time. That gave me a pause but I had enough time to catch the bus back so I kept on going. All this story would have made for a great climax if I had a selfie with the bear but in an anti-climatic fashion, all I came across was paw marks. It was a bit scary all alone with fresh paw marks. I ran back double speed to human civilization.

 

 

 

Picture: Mirror lake that made me overstay

The upper Yosemite hike left me with four hours to kill during the day. So, I went to mirror lake. Mirror Lake was so pretty, I became a bit stupid and overstayed my intended stay by the lake. Long story short I gave myself very less slack to catch the bus. Due to heavy snow, most of the road signs were not visible and I got lost at just the worst moment and missed the last bus. So I found myself on the 17th of February in a snow covered national park without any way to get out. With no way out, I now was at the mercy of humankind.

 

 

 

 

 

I started asking for a lift to all passing cars. Of the fifteen-odd cars that passed by me over five stopped by. Sometimes, it is easy to get lost in the negativity going around but intrinsically all humans like to help each other. One of the cars was going in my direction. They hardly had any space but they decided to save the unknown soul and I found myself on a car out of Yosemite to El Portal. They drove me to a gas station which was a few miles from the hotel. Unfortunately unknown to them the hotel was another 5 miles away and it was a bit risky to walk on the road due to cars. So, I again found myself in a situation. Like before I got another lift to the hotel. Things were only about to get even better. Next day I was back in the park and while coming back, I found myself on the bus crossing the horsetail falls as it was about to turn bright red. I never knew about the Yosemite Firefall but there I was witnessing it from the comfort of my bus as the slow traffic ensured I got a very long glimpse of the miracle of nature.

Picture: Firefall a rare natural phenomenon

 

From the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank Saina from Portland who thought of saving me out of pure humanity and Suhas from Sunnyvale. I hope I can one day of some help to another human being like you guys were to me.

 

When one word speaks a thousand words

As a matter of lack of choice, or rather as a result of murder of choice, not a day passes by in my life when I don’t come across some arrangement of Roman alphabets that always makes sense to my literate mind.But there are some words that are forever condemned to have their existence intertwined with our distant or not so distant past.When I come across those words, a divine orchestra of words fill my day dreaming mind.

One such word that comes to my mind is “melancholy”. If I had ever done grave injustice that sprang to my mind. The first line of this para would definitely find its place as a stinking specimen.  For an inaudible whisper of the word “melancholy” flooded my mind with memories that I had to let it out in this blog. In my not so distant past, I had to study a subject called alternative English. In my school days, it was a subject that definitely compete in the race to be my favourite. You hardly got marks. There was no such thing as right answer or wrong answer. It all depended on how much your teacher liked your answer. But it sure had some of the finest specimens of English literature still not lost in the pages of history.

Wordsworth, I really hope I am not messing up with the name of the great nature poet for I have resolved not to look up the literary piece that forms an integral part of this post. This is done with a misplaced sense of self-righteousness that I can do justice to my memories only if my entire post is untainted with anything but my memories. “Misplaced sense of self righteousness”- rings any bell. In my mind, I hear an explosion of bell metal that numbs my sense of hearing. These words always teleports me to the seats of inox kolktata, and I see joker mouthing these words to batman. Dark knight is a part of my recent memory and weeds have not yet attacked this castle. So, I shall try to quickly pass through my neighbourhood and zoom to my past.

About Wordsworth , he had written a poem called solitary reaper. I really don’t recollect all the words of the poem but a few words have stood the test of time.This was the poem that told me of the existence of the word “lass”. I first heard someone using the word “melancholy notes”. I found myself wandering across the world trying to help Wordsworth decipher what the beautiful lass was trying to sing in a language that he did not understand but in a voice that touched his heart.But therein lies an allegory of my life, whenever I hear the word “melancholy”, a smile spreads on my lips, I race to my school days, and I fail to sympathize with anything and everything sad about the collection of words that needs the word melancholy to describe itself.

The window that every geek craves for

By conventional definition, every engineer is a geek. By conventional definition, every person who manages to study his way into fooling an impossibly skewed filtering process is a geek. By conventional definition, a geek likes his workbench(computer) and knows how to use it.By conventional wisdom, a guy falls in love with a girls, dates and marries.

But if you are an iitian, none of the conventions hold true.According to some disenchanted iitians,if male female ratio is 991, our number starts from 992, the guys for whom God refused to make a girl assuming pairs are made in heaven. There are few who managed to buck the trend. But for many it is the reality of life. To give you a clearer picture of what I am trying to say let me elaborate more on the curves of the background. If as a matter of exception you(reader) happen to be a girl, please do take offense to the use of word “curve” for the only curve we are familiar with are the ones on our computer screen.Well I was trying to draw parallels with the strokes of a painter on his canvas.

Coming back to the point, we spend most of our times in front of our computer. so we definitely know how to use it. Computers and the lan is our lifeline. Movies,gtalk, music,games and occasionally for some work – we run to our computer to satisfy all our needs(pun intended).But we refuse to call all of them geek. for us a geek has to like linux and ha to hate windows. I shall not justify the reasoning behind why we chose such a convention. But among other things, peer pressure, ease ranks high. for me though, it is freedom from virus.

So, now I have established that we geeks in kgpland hate windows. Now returning to the title of my post. according to one of fellow iitians, all girls who are open to the idea of having a boy friend already have it. And while the rest of mankind used their precious college life to follow conventional dating wisdom, we dream and day dream of a never land where male female ratio is more than 20 :1000. so, I extended the hypothesis, that now that we are about to reach heaven, we shall be rewarded for our misfortune thus far.But then where are the promised forty virgins.So, i set my sights lower and I realised that breakups among couples are gods apology to singles like us.Justification:

1) We wont be a party to it.( we are singles or we know that we wont get a second chance)
2)Girls open to having boy friends will be single.
3)Girls will be most vulnerable and hence we can sympathise our way into their hearts in this window of opportunity,

Boy, we do love break ups.