It’s never easy saying goodbye. After an eventful 6 days in the mountains, it was time for us to head back home. The trip from Dalhousie to Gaggal Airport (Kangra) would clock 3 hours. I dreaded having to traverse the winding mountain roads again. Our driver was the same young guy who had driven us to Kalatop Sanctuary. He was surprisingly chirpy at 6:30 in the morning.
For the first hour of the journey, I tried to close my eyes and forget the familiar feeling of queasiness. In between winks, we saw army personnel training in the darkness. I couldn’t imagine running along the mountain road in the blistering cold. There was a point, beyond which, I couldn’t take it anymore and rolled down my window. The cool wind continuously hit my face and after a while – caused a sharp shooting pain in my right ear.
A breakfast halt provided respite from the travails of the journey. We stopped at a local dhabba (highway lunch house) and ordered two aloo parathas (flattened wheat rolls with potato stuffing). The sun was good and breakfast even better. After a break of half an hour, we were on the road again.
We had an hour before we reached the airport. We had already made it to the Kangra valley and the only mountains that we saw – were in the distance. As we passed fields and bridges, the mountains stood there, unshakeable and awe inspiring. The Dhauladhar range was much like a shadow that never left the Kangra valley.
I was in better spirits by the time we reached the airport. I couldn’t say the same for my throbbing ear and blocked nose. We waited patiently for our flight and were pleasantly surprised to see it scheduled on time. And as we made it to the flight, we glimpsed the last fleeting view of the mountain range. Despite feeling sick, I made a mental note that we had add one more place to our bucket-list. Hopefully, we’ll see the Himalayas again.