Welcome to this blog! I am an amalgamation of personalities, dare I say - fairly interesting ones ;). And these personalities - most of them - quite enjoy expressing themselves and getting to know others as well.

Whether it's health at every size or size acceptance; whether it's the counselling sessions I do or the breakthroughs I have in getting to know myself; my experiences on the Walk of Hope or my corporate avatar; I learn every day and intend to put my insights out here.

Hope you enjoy reading and happy to hear from you!

The Trek

Summer this year saw my husband and I join a group of 166 people on a pilgrimage to Kedarnath and Badrinath. A part of this adventurous trip was a 14 km trek up to Kedarnath - the abode of Bholenath. Along with the excitement of visiting these spiritually charged and beautiful parts of the country was a severe apprehension of how I was going to make it up that trek. Being a very "healthy" human being and a master procrastinator in the physical movement department, not just I but all around me shared in this apprehension. To begin with I found out about alternative options of horses and dolis and helicopters etc but while on this search I felt a comforting inner voice say to me "You are coming to meet me and I will give you the strength to get here - so walk as far as you can with the faith that I am with you."

That voice whether of my inner self or Mahadev or a Divine presence was so confident, so loving and so insistent that I found myself convinced to walk as far up as my legs would carry me - hopefully to the top. This decision was met with much skepticism by my fellow travelers and much joy by my husband - a believer in physically challenging oneself and the fittest person I have ever known. Classic example of opposites attract ;)

So 18th of May dawned and saw us in the mania of Gaurikund, the base camp for the Kedar trek. Now in my mind and based on the google pictures I had seen, we would cross this mania and start on an idyllic path with the sights and sounds of nature along with a few fellow travelers. Little did I realize that the path would be shared by horses and their emissions, porters and dolis and many other travelers all pushing and jostling to maintain their pace not just to go up but come back down as well. So while there was the exquisite beauty of the forests and the waterfalls all around, for the first kilometer my attention was on the mayhem around me and I was in a state of shock. A snobbish city girl here I was wading in all sorts of muck and filth, pushed aside by animals and humans alike unable to develop any kind of pace and wondering how I would survive and what kind of cruel fate this was. And then at some point I heard the river rushing past and the bird calls and looked out on the forest beside me and saw the waterfall and I stopped in awe.
This was what I was here for, to enjoy this pristine beauty, and that's when I realized what I was being taught. Each one of us is on a path - long, short, steep, flat and it is up to us what we focus on while on the path which makes the journey enjoyable or not. We can choose to focus on every way in which the path does not meet our standards or we can focus on the beauty around it. As I started focusing on the view and the beauty, with every step the path became more enjoyable. Very soon even the horses and the smell and the jostling became a unique experience instead of something to avoid. As we crossed 4kms there was a strong wind that blew all kinds of stuff into our faces, and then rain we had no protection from, followed by an unrelenting sun as we reached the halfway 7km mark but even these were just an experience, nothing to struggle against.

A quick hot lunch and a brief legs - up rest later we were on the road to tackle the next more difficult 7kms of the trek. By now we had a beautiful view of the snow capped peaks that were awaiting us and the crowd on the road was reduced. As I continued to walk this 7th kilometer started to feel like it was never ending and I started questioning my faith in my ability to walk all the way - I was tired and this was a tougher terrain, there was no doli in sight to be hired and I doubted a horse would agree to carry my bulk. More than half the day was gone and I knew at my pace we would not reach before nightfall - an exhausting proposition. And as I was beginning to wallow in misery that same beautiful voice inside me said "when you can go no further I will provide for you, I always have and always will, take strength in that and walk for now." and as if to reassure me, when we came to a turn there was an empty doli and its bearers inviting me to use their services. And my mood lifted and I had the strength once more to continue on my path.

This was my second realization, many a times we give up on the goal due to perceived difficulties on the path. Little realizing our job is to focus on the present, placing one step before another with full faith that when we are too tired or need some extra strength, the Universe will provide it. We paralyze ourselves with the fear of the future, not realizing how perfect this moment is and how supported each one of us is. And so I continued to put one step before another, enjoying the view around, clambering over some of the shortcuts thus stretching my body and getting rid of the few aches and pains I had developed and the journey became beautiful again as we crossed 8.5kms and 9 and 10kms.

At this point we started seeing our destination, the town of Kedarnath. And while the view was stunning, my heart sank once more. It was by then 4pm and 4 more kilometers at my pace meant we weren't reaching anywhere before 8pm. Also the destination just seemed so near and yet so far and I started feeling my tiredness and soreness once more. This time the voice within me said, "enough walking, time to take a horse." Not one to give up easily I set the voice a challenge. The challenge was that a horse guy would approach me (instead of the other way round) with an offer to take me up to Kedar and would quote a certain price (lower than what was being quoted by the couple of horse owners we had asked). As we turned another corner exactly that happened and so the next 4kms I finished horseback. As I was trying to maintain my balance on the horse and loving the magnificent snow capped peaks all around us I realized one more thing. 

Sometimes, it is better not to see the destination and focus on just enjoying the journey. Most of us want to know what's going to happen, where it leads, how much longer etc. thinking that it will make the effort of getting there easier. But that day on the Kedar trek I realized how sometimes seeing the destination may seem so much more challenging than if one were to just focus on the path.

And so I did reach Kedarnath, the abode of Shiva and reached there on the strength of my faith and my inner guidance. I rose to what seemed an impossible physical challenge and while it was in no way easy and I was assailed by doubts and fears and regrets, every time an invisible force taught me something that led me on. I am now back in the plains and in the ivory tower of my city life but I intend to remember that all I need to do is walk the path while focusing on the beauty of it, place one step before another knowing that I will be provided with whatever I need when I need it and to have faith. And I no longer think too much of my destination. I know it's there and I will reach it but there's no need to try and figure out the when and the how of it. And thus the pilgrimage of life continues!


  1. Thank you Pallavi for this beautiful testimony. We all need to be reminded all the times this Truth. For, even when we know it, it is always
    so difficult to really experience it, or to want to experience it. Letting go, knowing that we will be provided with exactly what we need when we need it. So simple and though so hard to achieve. Enjoying the moment without worrying for the next moment...
    Thank you again for sharing this.

  2. Lovely piece Pallavi, and an inspiring one. It reminded me of my trek to Amarnath to meet the same Bhole. It too was a difficult and trying trek. 3 days of walking and nothing else, to the point of exhaustion. But one remembers none of that, just the exhilaration of having completed what you set out to do.

    Keep the stories coming, and keep walking.



You are invited to comment here!