The Long Walk of Patience

Anurupa Ghosh

If you ask me what the hardest thing to master is, I would say it is patience! It is very easy to fuel your ambition with anger, motivation, and a competitive spirit. But it is very difficult to learn the art of patience- patience to calmly sit back and enjoy the journey without rushing into the destination. Life in the Himalayas made me realize that it is your self-imposed mental barriers that make you exasperated and impatient to reach the destination. It also taught me the importance of togetherness and team spirit. Meditating in the Himalayas made me realize the virtue of patience to witness the pains of a rigorous journey and the ecstasy of success when you reached the goal.

As a part of our SLC course, we had to trek around 14 kms to reach a place where we were supposed to prepare our own camp by the river and cook our own food. We knew it would be a physically hard journey but what we did not know was that it would drain us mentally as well. When we started the trek we did not anticipate the length and breadth of the journey that we had to walk through. Climbing up the steep terrains, watching our step while finding a rock to support our next landing, to braving the heat, we have experienced it all. When we were 3 hours into walking through unchartered terrains, our bodies nearly gave up. But the intense desire to reach the destination and relax beside the river got us going.

Human psychology is a funny thing. We think that it is our body that has the limitations but it is our mind that plays the tricks. When we asked our guide, how much longer it would take to reach the place;he would encourage us by saying, ‘Just a few miles more’. That invigorated us to increase our pace. We willed our bodies that we were tired and yet our pace did not slow down when we were baited with the reward of reaching the destination soon.

Many times throughout the journey I felt frustrated and impatient; the impatience of reaching the goal, and frustration because my destination was a long way to go. The only thing that calmed my nerves was the beautiful rivulets that accompanied me throughout the journey as if giving me company for my thoughts.

Surprisingly I found it natural to confide my frustrations to the flowing river and the calm mountains rather than to any fellow human. These elements of nature were great listeners. It seemed like they were coaxing me to carry on with my journey, assuring me of their presence throughout.

 Once I reached the destination, I vowed to take rest and not even get up for dinner that we were supposed to prepare. I already conditioned my mind that I would be too tired to even sit upright. That was when I was proceeding towards learning my 2nd lesson. The 25 reluctant but eager minds joined their heads together to devise a plan of escaping from the cooking task. Before we realized, from making an escape plan we started making teams about who would in-charge of cooking different recipes. The energy and gusto were surprising given that we had walked 14 kms for around 6 hours on hilly terrain.

The utensils were brought; recipe brainstorming sessions got started; some fetched buckets of water from the river to aid in the cooking process. We even had a few talented singers of our group who entertained and increased the energy levels of the crowd with their song renditions.Before long, we had a scrumptious dinner ready right before us consisting of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines.

I couldn’t believe how the day turned out to be. From excitement to tiredness, to frustration, to relief, to joy, and finally a full stomach, thanks to our self cooked meals, it was a roller coaster ride. When I was narrating the proceedings of the day in my mind, I didn’t believe that it was Anurupa who experienced it all. How did I manage to walk 14km? How did I manage to help in the cooking process with limited resources? Most importantly, how did I will myself to not relax even after trekking for 6 hours, let alone cook the food?

The answer was simple. Patience and teamwork! Patience can help you move mountains if you allow your frustration and anger to take a back seat. Teamwork can make any impossible task seem like a piece of cake.

The Himalayas have proven to be a supreme teacher when it comes to teaching the strategies for life and career. The entire expedition turned out to be a soul searching journey in the lap of the Himalayas.

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