Hiking to Heal a Heartache- Jogini Falls, Manali
Between suppressing endless yawns over a cup of coffee and glaring into the lacklustre computer screen I work on for 9 hours a day, come flashes of my travel memories of the past one year like a fresh breeze of air. It’s been a year and a month in Ludhiana, Punjab and even though I have gradually accepted this city as my home, the longing to run away into some wilderness doesn’t seem to shake off no matter how hard I try. And just like that I wander back to the memories of Manali when I had made the best use of a long weekend to heal my heartache. I came to Punjab with a broken heart and now when I look back, it feels like the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
Manali and its October Sky
Manali and its October sky looked like the perfect cure to life’s numerous problems back then. I will tell you my best hack to heal a broken heart faster. Though, it may seem impossible at first but revisiting the same places you visited as a couple can be an amazing way to heal. Why? Because in life, rewriting memories is necessary. Though the slate may seem messy after all the wiping has been done but it doesn’t mean that it is un-writable forever. Your memory is a clean slate, if you believe it to be.
Unfamiliarity in all things familiar is what Manali offered this time. I already knew the lanes and by lanes, the best places to eat sit back and relax and yet I was compelled to seek something new. Let’s name this “something new” as ‘Solitude’. I went to the same cafes I had been to earlier and at times sat at the same spots all of which brought back flashes of memory and yes my heart ached. But on a brighter side, I ordered all those things that I couldn’t eat the last time (Oh! the menace called vegetarian boyfriends!) and revelled in the company of Solitude. And solitude didn’t judge or mind me eating a fish instead of veggies.
Jogini Falls -A Hike to Remember
The last time I visited Manali, I couldn’t visit the Jogini Falls. So this time visiting Vashisht meant going a step further and seeing this magnificent waterfall. Not that this was a part of the itinerary but venturing into the hilly ascent across the village just came naturally. We kept walking through a maze of cobbled alleys of a village unknown, meeting the gaze of some inquisitive eyes for a fleeting second who instantly got back to their own businesses as well.
The dingy alleys then turned into a lush mountainous trail, beautiful and enigmatic. Who knew we would come across some amazing people in this almost deserted path to Jogini Falls. This beautiful Russian lady was busy packing up her makeshift stall displaying some exquisite dreamcatchers and postcards from faraway lands. Her husband is a photographer and they travelled the world, so wherever they went they sold their work of art to make some extra bucks.
I would have stayed there a bit longer but the sun was making its descent and reaching atop the Jogni Falls was still a long way to go. As me and Solitude took turns to hurry up the stony trails and rest awhile we heard the blissful notes of a flute playing somewhere near and far. Upon walking a bit further we chanced upon this mystical stranger by a small stream. Playing the flute in a state of trance, this man was also selling a bunch of knick knacks. Solitude wanted to stay back mesmerised in his magical music but I had to leave. At times life also finds us caught up in a momentary bliss, while you must revel at it, it is also important to move ahead because the onward journey is way more worthwhile.
We stole apples from the orchards and laughed as the juices spilled all over our faces. We lost a sense of time often looking at the green and blue hues of the mountains. Solitude enjoyed all these moments of distant distractions but I kept insisting that Jogini Falls would mind if we didn’t make it up on time.
Destination or the Trail, what would you choose?
Solitude was of a completely different opinion you see, destinations motivate us to carry on but isn’t the journey much more amazing? “Hasn’t it ever happened to you?” solitude asked. I pondered, yes indeed. There were times when I made it up to the Tiger’s Nest in Paro, though the sight was absolutely wonderful but till date if I want to travel back in time and live that experience all over again I would choose the trail over the monastery.
Read about my hike up to the Tiger’s Nest here
Finally we reached the spot where we could clearly see the waterfall gushing past the rocky crevices turning the air a misty hue of vibgyor. Solitude dragged me away from it and we both sat on the top of a rock that was surprisingly flat as if nature had laid a bed right there for us to sit and relax.
I was confused, “Why would you want to go away from that beautiful sight?” I asked Solitude. Solitude gestured lie down. The rocky bed wasn’t too inviting, for the dried goat shit kept on toppling all around like shooter marbles. I lied down anyway and when I looked up above at the blue sky adorned with cotton ball like clouds, I realized this was way more beautiful than my destination. We lay there for what seemed like an eternity. Simply staring at the sky, for hours together, trying to identify the dragon breathing fire or the elephant headed God and sometimes we also saw an apple or two and for a split second I thought Brad Pitt peeped in through the clouds.
The world seemed to hustle past while time stood still and in those moments of absolute bliss and solitude, I realized a broken heart is a doorway to your liberated self. It might hurt a lot to see everything fall apart but the pain is capable of paving new ways for you. Sometimes in life things don’t work out for a reason and that reason makes much more sense than your idea of happiness. While it may hurt like a broken rib at times but one fine day when you have healed and travelled a lot more, you will only cherish the good memories that once were a reality for by then you would have created many more unforgettable memories. Whoever said that travelling is the best way to mend a broken heart was undeniably a wise wise fellow and I am glad I listened.