Sometimes we get tired of work, and the city, so we plan a getaway. We try to mix some writing into it and like to call it- Poetry Retreat. If I am not loosing count this one was our fourth such retreat.
On this rainy Friday I decided to ride upto Dhulikhel on my motorbike, everyone else was travelling by bus. Nischal was at Banepa Stay, Emily, Brendan and Illya were already in Dhulikhel. Emily said that they would get there a tad bit earlier to see some of Dhulikhel. I told her, that was a fantastic idea.
The rain first found me in Jadibuti, I had a windcheater on and that did not protect me much. I only found shelter in Kaushaltar, by then my pants were all muddy. I guess I waited for about twenty minutes for the rain to stop. I called Ujjwala to check if they had boarded the bus. They hadn’t yet.
The rain found me for the second time in Sanga, but this one was a light drizzle. My clothes were almost dry and the wind cheater was doing its job, it could hold this one off. I rode slow. I reached Banepa only slightly wet. I got my Motorbike serviced and cleaned. It took over an hour. Just as I was done getting my bike serviced, the damned rain was back and I had to wait another thirty minutes. Sometimes I think I should get a Motorbike raincoat. But I have always found them very ugly.
I called Nischal to see if he was ready. I was picking him up from Banepa on my way to Dhulikhel. “It’s still raining here” he said. Nischal, at this point, was only one and a half kilometers away. It had stopped raining where I was. I waited another 5 minutes and rode ahead. Nischal was right. It was raining where he was. I went up to Rasil Dai’s Place, Banepa stay and Didi offered me some tea. I accepted it very happily. There is so much joy packed into an unexpected cup of warm tea.
As soon as the rain toned down to a mild spray we were on my bike and heading east. The gang was already in Dhulikhel. I was surprised it took me so long. If it wasn’t for the rain this stretch would have only taken me 45 minutes, on better days it would be 35 minutes.
But before we could make it to Dhulikhel the damned rain found us again.This time the down pour was heavy. Nischal and I had to take shelter in a roadside shop. The tea place there had no milk and the shopkeeper looked more intent on following a card game going on in his table than serving his customers. I moved to a different shop for shelter. I bought two mama bhujia type packs and offered one to Nischal. He reluctantly accepted it. He could not however finish it and handed me the packet, I finished both packets.
This place, the shelter shop, was not new to me. If fact it was only a kilometer away from my home. My last year of school when I was in grade ten I stayed at my school hostel which was only five or six building to the south from this shop. I remember the shop keeper. He definitely does not remember me. Today he is addressing me as Dai, he inquires about our journey- I do not tell him that I am from Dhulikhel itself. I say from Kathmandu to Dhulikhel. We are here for the weekend.
“Is it just you two boys?” he is surprised.
We decide to ride to my home and leave the motorcycle there. We take two umbrellas and walk our way to Dhulikhel. After about thirty minutes of walk we reach the hotel. The lush green forest stretched behind the hotel all the way up to the top of the hill where I can see,two telecommunication towers are perched. Tomorrow we plan to get on top of the hill and see the sunrise, hopefully we will see some mountains too.
The rain has stopped.
(Featured image: Mist by Emily )