Hope and Mountains

Mugdha Joshi
Class XI

It’s always fun to take a long drive to nowhere in particular because it has the air of an unplanned adventure. However, I’ve got a story that has a great significance in my life as of now, about a drive to a small place. This place was my grandparents’ town, and we were exhaustedly eager to meet my beloved grandma and grandpa after what seemed like a very long time. The bags were stuffed into the trunk, everyone slid into their seats and there was the traditional last minute frantic check into whether the stove and lights were turned off. And thus, we set off on our journey (I won’t use any adjectives to describe ‘journey’ coz it would be overly melodramatic and bollywood-ish). It was a smooth ride with my dad maneuvering the car expertly. I played some travel music and we swayed our head to the rhythm, talked and laughed and felt carefree. We eventually stopped at a little resto for lunch, and had some delicious food and drink.

Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, we continued. Around this time, we started on a mountain pass called ‘khambatki ghat’, full of twists and turns (literally). The winding road made me rather nauseous, but I reminded my innards that they were doing’ a great job keeping the food in and that seemed to work.

The road continued, and we traversed still smoothly. Some parts were rocky and bumpy, but they were small and negligible. And we soon came upon a tunnel. And then my dad said something very strong.

“You see that tunnel up ahead?”
“Remember the mountain pass we crossed?”
“They were both paths made from a mountain.”
“One was made by working around the problem.”
“The other was made by working through the problem.”

And it clicked! I could work around my problems, but the solutions obtained wouldn't be as efficient as the ones obtained if I worked through them instead. The rest of our ride was fun and once we reached, my grandma buried me in a hug. She gave me some gulab jamuns that she had made the day earlier, dripping with sugar syrup. They were delicious! We stayed for a couple of days, and came back. It was a fun vacation, but what my dad said never really left me. It was cutely stored in the back of my mind, and I never really ended up using the advice because corona started and my problems grew in size. Life kinda started to feel like it was at a standstill, depressing. Staying at home for months takes a toll.

After the constant messages and news about corona began to die down, I started hiking a bit. The fresh air and refreshing trees really helped me get back on track. Hiking is a test of endurance; if you wanna survive, you gotta keep going. I went hiking today, and there was a point when I thought I’d surely slip [and die (cue dramatique musique)], but I didn’t. And then those words came back to me. There wasn’t exactly a way to work around the obstacle, but I’d gotten through it. It wasn’t exactly easy, but it worked. I could relate this to my struggles with anxiety. It felt like I had hit a dead end and that things would never be okay again, but my almost-slip on the mountain reminded me that I could overcome my problem if I looked into the heart of it and worked on myself. All that I need's a bit of optimism and resilience, and there would surely be hope for better times.