The climb was strenuous. She opted to halt, but her friends pushed her forward. Words of encouragement flooded her way. Did she feel glad!!
She questioned her friend, 'How further is it?', every ten minutes. She checked her phone a number of times. There was no signal at all. Of course, she thought. They were in the middle of the jungle. Thankfully, her bag had a bottle of water, and her friend had powdered glucose with him. If not for both, she would have dropped out. Moreover, somebody sang for the batch, made by six-seven heads. To lift their spirits up. To urge them so that they move ahead.
After having asked the question repeatedly, they reached the peak. 'Ah!' she celebrated. She instantly, called home. Screaming in to the phone, she voiced her jubilation. She was beaming with happiness. In fact, everybody was. Afterall, it was quite an achievement, 'wasn't it?' she thought aloud. All the goading and famish finally resulted in something very pleasant. She assembled everybody at one place. Wanting to capture the smiles on different faces, she clicked photographs.
There was a faint orange glow around the peak. Seen between strands of dry grass, the setting sun looked beautiful. A low hubble-bubble rang about the place. As per directions pointed out, a friend and she walked to a tap. A mountain rivulet was fashioned into a ever-flowing tap. Fresh, clear water was flowing from it. She splashed some onto her tired face. Refreshing, it was!
Perhaps, that is the magic of fresh water form the hills, she thought. She declined the snack that was offered to her. A bottle of juice was shared between a friend and her. A voice called out her name. The others' were preparing to climb down the hill. The sun had already set.
They had to pass a cliff. A path lay on the edge of cliff. She glanced down the cliff while on her way up. It was steep. On the way down everybody was ordered not to look down the valley. Tasking, it was. The climb up had made her tired. Scratching herself against brambles which blocked her way, she stepped down. The rest of the group also sported scratches. Each one, thus realised.
The crowd kept themselves company by chatting. She was requested not to talk loudly, in case some wild beast was roaming in the nearby forest. The requests turned into orders, when the latter were not found to be useful.
On reaching level ground, they group halted for some time. A song was sung for us, a popular beautiful track. She checked her watch, it showed seven. They resumed their trek. Her feet started killing her. A story was told in order to divert minds. The forest was pitch-dark. A slight sound, would startle anybody. People talked in whispers, not to arouse the forest. Pin-drop silence ruled the surroundings.
They reached the starting point at about nine. Somebody could be heard at a distance. Our friends had arrived ahead of us, to find the place empty. Where was our bus?! Phones were taken out of their hiding places. They walked about the clearing in order to find signal, in phones whose screens were lit up. Dratted! In vain.
As time passed, more faces could be seen as light was shone into the path. A few dropped down, a few sighed; suddenly a babble was heard in the otherwise quiet forest. It was fun. A crowd of youngsters, stranded in a pitch-dark forest in the middle of nowhere. A lime was peeled. Ten hands shot up. The lucky ones got a sliver each, while the unlucky ones grumbled.
Nobody knew where the bus was. A professor had gone to the nearest town to get them food, they were told. Headlights came their way. A shout of joy rang through the clearing. The bus finally turned up, assumed everybody. A jeep came by. The driver stopped. He was shocked to see quite a large bunch, there. He informed that the last bus had gone. They'd missed it, and that they'd to spend the rest of the night in the forest. After a few audible gasps, the situation was explained to that guy. The guy shrugged, and drone off. Into the bright darkness.
The watch clicked away. The same four-wheeler was noticed by them a couple of times. The excitement reached a low.
A dim hum was audible form the distance. A larger automobile was observed this time. A hurrah! went up. The bus finally could be discerned, with bright headlights. Climbing into the bus, she was given a plate of flavoured rice. Tired that she was, she shoved morsels of food into her hungry mouth. Deciding that she was too worn out to eat anything, she passed her plate to a friend.
As the bus snailed it's way through sharp bends and curves inbetween mountains, a strange feeling of gay, satisfaction filled her. Turning towards her neighbour, she found the latter smiling.
It was a memorable day. A memory for an entire lifetime. 'How wonderful!!' mused she. Despite all the odds that they encountered, the battered body, toes which were burning.... and everything else.