It was early May. Anil stood before the mighty Himalayas. A law professor by profession, most of his life was spent in a class room. At 35, he was single and loved it that way. He was wary of relationships and responsibility. Weekdays in college and weekend in bars had been his life. He was tired of teaching same subjects year after year. He looked for freedom,from repeating the same words before batches after batches. He wanted a change, a stark deviation from the dumb chores. And this was it.
Before finalizing expedition he had considered a number of options including bungee jumping. But he would jump once and the whole thrill for next would be over. He wanted something long lasting and a different try. So he decided for an expedition to Himalayas. He had small history of mountaineering and Everest would be his biggest bet. It wouldn’t be a full-fledged expedition but enough to give him the excitement he cited.
“Do not get carried away. Keep up with the plan. I will still ask you to stay back. We’ll start tomorrow, Anil”, Tashi requested him from behind.
Tashi was a Nepali Sherpa. He was 40, but with attractive boyish face and effervescent energy, everyone mistook him as less than 30. His profession of guiding expeditions was passed on from generations and he had carried it fairly with a moral responsibility. For him, reaching summit was important, but not at the expense of one’s health.
“You should have left with others in the morning. You can’t go alone” Tashi repeated. “I’ll catch up with them Tashi. They won’t be far” Anil pleaded.
The concern was evident in Tashi’s voice. They were at base camp. The original plan was that the team would climb up together to half way to the next campsite, for acclimatization and then come back down. The next day they would head up again for camping. But diarrhoea had grounded Tashi. While the other professional trekkers left, Anil stayed back. But after one hour, Anil decided to do a solo. There wasn’t anything to be worried of, but Tashi had observed the clumsiness and eagerness in Anil and which made him restless.
Since morning he had a bizarre feeling of ‘Something’s gonna go wrong’ and his intuition was a thing that Tashi, like all Sherpas, trusted and reckoned on.
Something wasn’t right!
...to be continued