All the PCBs, optics and wirings in the camera were there on the screen. The CRPF personnel asked me where I was from. Then he asked me what I was doing in Jammu. I answered.
I threw my ticket, stepped out of the bus and searched for a taxi outside the bus stand. After some great bargaining and another 5 minutes wasted, I was on my way to Patnitop in Kallu’s Tata Indica for just 2300.
When I opened my forcefully shut eyes to a gloomy and hazy afternoon, the train was crossing a huge river and a board next to it read “River Tawi”. I had a “Oh that’s why.. ” moment when I learnt that “Tawi” is actually a river on whose banks Jammu is situated. The train pulled up at Jammu Tawi around 3 PM. Wow! It was the same station that was listed at the top on Rashtriya Atlas’s train routes. I had never thought I would travel this far from home.
On questioning the driver of that taxi calmly says “Delhi mein to saare circle ek jaise hain sir..”. That was daylight. This wasn’t. I was anxious.
Traveling is really not about conquering a mountain peak, but is the trek all the way up to the peak, crossing streams, rivulets, walking through dense woods. It’s not about going to different places to see the monuments, but it is the people you meet, the stories that are built around those monuments.