This was in a beautiful untouched part of India, in one of the oldest homestays in the Tirthan valley, at the periphery of the Great Himalayan National park, where we had trekked the last five days as a group of 13 members , 3 families. Now this isn’t about the beauty of the place or the cottages but a strange experience I encountered there.
It was the concluding day of the 5 day trek, an arduous yet most memorable experience at GHNP. We got back to the homestay ( a group of scattered cottages) where we started from, on concluding the journey . We had opted for the top most cottage to stay (a family bungalow types) . To me, climbing up and down the mounds, between the cottage and the common homestay dining area, in itself felt like a mini trek.
Now, that day, I was quite out of my elements with severe knee cramps. We had to head down for dinner . I told the rest of the gang to carry on, as I was certain I would take a much longer time limping my way down . I wanted to take the walk easy and slow with no pressure whatsoever. So once everyone had left I slowly started my walk down, practically inching step by step.
It was around 7ish yet quite dark as one would expect in the mountains. There were a few high rocks I needed to navigate amidst narrow pathways. I sat down on one such rock took my time and stepped down carefully to avoid any pressure on the knee. I had barely managed a few steps after that , and was heading down a curvy downslope when I saw a shadow walking up (visible under the lamppost light or was it the moon?). Taken aback I stopped, the shadow stopped Instantly . A weird few micro seconds followed. The shadow (or something that looked like it) was not in any particular shape just a big one like a huge block, like that of a huge rock or a hippo for that matter and it was ‘only’ a shadow and no originating object. I found it so strange and instinctively felt it wasn’t normal . I heard the homestay dogs barking at a distance and coming towards our way ( sounds like a movie am sure, but that’s true). Now, I started moving rather fast to get somewhere. I felt the shadow started moving too once I passed it. Somehow I felt certain it wasn’t a good idea to look back at what that thing was and I did not . I do know it was ‘something’ which did not mean to harm me (was taken aback by me possibly) though what it was I still wonder. I was not really afraid at that point of the shadow, as I was of the heavy dog barks.
As I got down, now a bit closer to the dining cottage, the dogs were still heading towards my direction. I panicked big time , but thankfully they sort of calmed down before they came closer and another group staying in the place shooed them away on seeing my plight.
Just one of those things I wished to put somewhere …the fact, that some ‘things’ exist. At that point of time, I fancied it was possibly death, but not intended for me (Terry Pratchett effect). Later I thought it could have been some soul dead or alive. I even thought it was possibly a shaman or similar kind of mystic, making his way somewhere, changing forms. Well whatever !!!! The guess games continue.