How a trip with a group of men proved to be an eye-opener

I was thankful to each for dispelling my negative thoughts about their gender.

 |  5-minute read |   29-08-2016
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I had just completed my exam and had nothing much to do. The boredom had already killed me so I thought it was high time I did something exciting.

And yes, the plan went on to be much more exciting than expected.

I was gripped by fright when the unlikely scheme was on the verge of execution. Struggling with a hurricane of thoughts, I began my journey from Majnu Ka Tila in New Delhi with my co-travellers - three male acquaintances and one guy friend.

Oh, the plan was not conceived out of the blue. I had tried convincing a lot of my female friends to join me but some had work issues and some had family reasons, such as "you really think my parents are going to allow me?"

So I had the choice of either dropping the plan or just going ahead.

And here I was!

We stood outside the bus leaving for Mcleod Ganj, settling down our luggage and ourselves. My eyes constantly looked around for other women.

We occupied our seats; I sat next to my friend because he was the only one I was a bit familiar with compared to my other travelling companions. With a few short naps, the night passed by and the next morning we were amid the beautiful mountains.

The sun was at its zenith and the day looked perfectly bright as we walked towards our hotel.

mclg-embed_082916014258.jpg Beautiful Mcleod Ganj is a short trip from Delhi.

The hotel itself was at a perfect location, but my apprehension was that we had only two rooms.

Again, discomforting thoughts nested in my mind but my friend, let's call him Mr R, was extremely chivalrous and so I mellowed down - as I began to unpack my bags and took out my wearables, he walked out of the room asking me to lock the door properly behind him.

His gesture spoke volumes!

After resting for a few hours, we geared ourselves up for a hike and a visit to the local market. We purchased a few things like torch and raincoat- pre-requisites for trekking.

The day was well spent and by the end of it, we had known each other a bit more and were trying to befriend one another. We decided to have dinner at a restaurant that served Chinese and had the best music.

Soon, we were back at our hotel room and having a nightcap. While I was nervously thinking about having to share a room with a guy, Mr R did something that comforted me greatly.

He took his pillow and jumped on the room's sofa to fix himself up for the night. I realised he was probably aware of my unease.

I spent the night fantasising about the film Ye Jawani Hai Deewani, and soon dawn broke and we were to begin our trek to Triund Hill.

Also read: 5 travel secrets I don't tell other Indians

We walked relentlessly for a couple of hours and after a few kilometres, the road began to vanish in the way it does when you climb a mountain. The mobile network was no longer in range.

Tired and sore, I started taking baby steps. There were huge rocks to climb over and the guys courteously helped me walk over them. Two of them decided to walk ahead of me and two behind me to ensure my safety.

Needless to say, by that time, I had overcome my apprehensions about them and was feeling quite obligated. We soon reached our destination and what a relief that was.

It was almost dusk and the temperature was falling. We dressed ourselves in winter clothing. Obviously there was no changing room; and I reluctantly stepped into our tent to change my clothes.

But what pleased me was that two of my companions stood outside the tent, yes to guard it.

Our tents were placed with other tents on the hill and we could see many groups of people there. We befriended some and had stimulating company, however many people were surprised to see a girl travelling solo with four men.

Also read: Why I travel alone

I was glad to be there at that moment. Initially, a lot of negative thoughts had flooded my mind - I had wondered how the guys would be. Would I be safe with them?

None of them were well known to me, and I had earlier always been suspicious enough of men to never ever plan a trip with them.

This was the second night with this group and my beliefs about men had changed in such a short span.

I was now comfortable enough to share a tent with them. We had some wonderful hours of conversation and slept little.

The next morning was incredibly beautiful and we were all set to trek back to Mcleod Ganj. Soon, we were back to the pavilion, our phones finally in network range and I gushing about the trip and my companions to my mother and friends.

On the way back to Delhi, we exchanged the photographs we had clicked and had a good laugh seeing the pictures.

I was elated and thankful to each guy for dispelling my pessimist thoughts about their gender.

I realised men can be respectful and chivalrous and sensitive to others' needs.

Some relationships are beautiful when platonic.

Writer

Prativa Rathi Prativa Rathi @prativarathi

The author is a freelance writer.

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