Walks To Remember

It was freezing cold and our breaths were defined by clouds of white puffs in the air. We were
exhausted but all that mattered was we did it. Our hearts thumped with satisfaction and
happiness. We were living the moment. The moment we had always dreamed about. Trekking
with three best friends for ten days in the Himalayas was the adventure goal we had never even
thought of. Alefiyah, Ummehani, Ummekulsoom and me. The four of us had been together for
the past seven years and this trip gifted us with uncountable memories before parting goodbye.
These past ten days had been one of the best days of our lives. I would never be able to describe
the thrill and exhilaration in words, mere words. The first day of this adventure was definitely a
memorable one. We had reached Manali Base early in the morning. The view that awaited us
were the majestic ranges of the Himalayan Mountains, all in its glory. A cool breeze gently
swaying through the air, a ray of sunshine glittering over the city. The locals moving on with
their traditional life and just another normal day to the trip organizers. But us? We were excited
beyond words. Clicking at least a hundred pictures seemed like the ultimate goal. We were to
begin the next day, after getting some adequate amount of rest.

The next morning, we stood with our camping bags and trek supplies, looking like four year olds
going to their first day of school. It was an unexplainable feeling- the excitement of adventure,
the fear of unknown, the gratitude of having this amazing group of friends- all in that one
moment. We commenced the trip by introducing ourselves to the group. The group consisted of
twelve of us, including our guide. There were two couples, one female sole adventurer, and two
college friends on vacation, other than us four and the guide. We walked for two hours straight
before taking a food stop. It was funny how the only food we might be having for around ten
days was cup of noodles and canned beans. Beverages were limited to kettle teas and instant
coffees. While the other two were busy eating like that was the last cup of noodles on earth,
Ummekulsoom and I wandered around. We were eagerly waiting for the snow but we still had a day
or two before we reached that high altitude and low temperature. So instead, we went over to the
running stream nearby and sat on the rocks, breathing in the soft sounds of water crashing over
the rocks. In that moment we just stopped, taking in the glory of nature. But alas, when you have
this tech-oriented group of friends, it is not just enough to live the moment. That very second,
Ummehani came towards us, beaming her camera onto our faces. You know why? Because
everything we did was being recorded for the sole purpose of making a trek-movie. Me sitting on
the rocks- pondering, or Ummekulsoom posing for pictures, or Alefiyah eating those cup
noodles- everything. Even Ummehani writing that journal of hers was going in that video.
Because why not?

We slept the first night in our small tents. The group had a bonfire every night and we sat there
playing lame games, sharing all our stories. That bonfire turned us into a family- our trek family
of twelve. We sat together in a circle, bonding with the flames of friendship and companionship.
But, actually it was just freezing cold and we needed the fire. The other 9 days of trekking was
almost the same. But if you looked at those days from our eyes, that was a complete different story
in there. You know how they say that sometimes even those random, meaningless things you do
become a memory for eternity? Well, that is because of the people. They make moments to be
cherished forever. For example, on the third night, the guide told us that we might hear some
wild noises in the night but there was absolutely nothing to be scared of. Well, we were scared.
The two couples, each in the tents next to ours, kept whispering all night to just stay awake. And
in our tent? It was a whole classic horror movie. Ummehani kept turning almost every minute in
her sleeping bag, Ummekulsoom and me holding hands and trying to seem completely normal.
Well then there is Alefiyah- being herself- she slept noiselessly through all of it. How do I know
about all of this? Thanks to the camera we kept above our tent’s opening. That might sound
extremely meaningless to any stranger- but as I said, we lived each and every second of this trip.
From bright morning smiles, to freezing blue noses. From having a snow fight right in the middle
of nowhere, to losing our way back for almost an hour. We made memories worth a lifetime.

It is the tenth day of the trek, and I write this memoir as we all sit exhausted from the way back.
But looking at those three boring faces around me, all I can think is ‘It was worth it. They make
things worth it. They do. Always.’

-Sakina Tinwala
Ajman, UAE

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