Once upon a time was a young girl who used to love trekking. In the years to come she would expose her daughters to trekking right since their infancy. However, the young girl herself hadn’t been exposed to trekking the same way. She had come to love it. Her college had an extremely eccentric and enthusiastic Botany teacher. Constantly wandering away from the curriculum, he would beseech his students to join him for nature trails, where he would give them first hand Botany experience. These initial ventures into nature made Purnima a loyal and steadfast nature enthusiast. During one of her later adventures she came to have a ligament tear on one of her legs. She didn’t know how or when it happened. There was no definitive incident like a fall or a hit or an accident. Yet, she eventually discovered that her torn ligament would be significantly weaker even after healing. At least the doctors said so. Initially heart broken, she laid her worries to rest and tried trekking after sometime. The doctors, of course, tried to dissuade her. But then again, when had she ever listened to their over-cautious and paranoid advice? She went for the next trek with her friends. There seemed to be no issues as she trekked up the mountain. Almost giddy with relief she had the time of her life, now that she had nothing to worry about. They started their descent next day and every thing was going fine. Until she felt a twinge in her leg, like a wound-up spring being released. She collapsed on the spot, convulsing in pain. The first person who ran to her help was Rajendra, the group leader. He soothed her frayed nerves and made her gulp some water. Gasping in pain, she tried to explain her predicament. Obliged as a group leader, he promised to support her through the trek and get her through it safely. After the blinding pain became a dull throbbing, he helped her stand up. She tried to stand but collapsed almost immediately and would have fallen if Rajendra’s reflexes hadn’t jumped into action and caught her. She leaned on him heavily and hobbled down the well-worn path that she would have sprinted down otherwise. And just like that, they became partners for treks. He knew she was a good trekker who had the capability of beating him at it if she could. Even with her ligament condition, she still could if she wanted to. He respected that and let her lead the way on every trek they went. He trusted her instincts and capabilities and would follow her without thinking twice. And yet, if she faltered he would be right behind her to steady her step. If she fell he would be right behind her to catch her. And if she bolted ahead too fast then he would rein her in. Or maybe he would run along with her, just a step short. Eight years later Purnima and Rajendra married, and even today Rajendra keeps his promise. He supports her through her arduous trek of life so she never has to be alone. He had promised to get her through that trek safely, and even now he intends to make sure that he gets her through the trek of her life safely.
Purnima knows this, and knows that he respects her decisions and capabilities. She loves him even dearly for this. And she thanks God for that fateful day when he first caught her when she fell. And just like that, she knows she will love him forever.
It is with this story in the back of my head that we started descending, trying to reach the village before light deserted us. I was worried about my mother, Purnima. She never had a problem climbing the mountains; her problem lay in coming down. Normally, coming down was easier and took lesser time. Almost an hour or so lesser than the time required to climb. Thank you, Gravity. We were lucky this time though, because my mother’s legs did not make a fuss. Even after at least two water and food breaks, we were glad to reach the plains.