“So we start the climb for the day ” said Yash, the trek leader.
After climbing two rocks, Shivanya was out of breath. She called out to her trek leader,
“Hey! Yash! Please hold my backpack and give me a walking pole”.
Shivanya increased her speed a little.
However, the climb was cruel .
“ Why did I not prepare for this trek? “
Yash gave his hand.
Shivanya held his hand and climbed quickly.
However, there were other trekkers who needed Yash and Yash had to rush to help them.
Now Shivanya was left to her own devices.
“O Lord Shiva!” Shivanya cried. “ I came to Parvati Valley because you meditated here for 3000 years …..but I can hardly feel your presence… !”
“Is everything ok?” a young male voice was heard.
Shivanya looked behind to find a young man in his early thirties. He was tall, muscular and strong.
“ I need water! I am thirsty!” Shivanya cried.
Shivanya watched with absolute shock as the young man jumped down the steep rocks with the ease of a mountain goat and filled some water from the stream running below in his bottle.
He offered the stream water to Shivanya.
Shivanya grabbed the bottle and gulped it down.
“Do you live here? What’s your name?”
“Rudra! Yes I live at a place called Min Thatch!” the stranger replied
“ That’s where my trek-team is headed…so I have company…but please don’t walk fast….as you can see I am the slowest in my camp!” Shivanya got up and now picked up some speed.
As she was walking, suddenly she saw a snake gliding in the path. Shivanya screamt.
Rudra simply smiled and asked Shivanya to stand still. Shivanya held Rudra’s hand tight and they both froze till the snake slithered away on its own.
“I thought you would click a selfie with the snake!” Rudra joked “Usually if you don’t react, snakes mind their own business, it’s as simple as that!”
“Looks like they are your close friends!” Shivanya remarked .
“ Have you come here alone?” Rudra asked
“ Yes. I joined this Himalayan Trek alone. But there are 10 other people in this camp, who have all climbed ahead. And here I am, lagging behind!”Shivanya answered .
Suddenly, there was thunder and in a matter of seconds, it started raining heavily.
“ Not now! Rains go away!” Shivanya angrily said.
And in a minute the rains were gone.
“Wow! The rains are obedient!” Shivanya laughed.
As they walked, they came across of a large herd of mountain goats.
Shivanya was delighted to see the goats, but suddenly what she saw ahead made her cry.
It was a ravine and Shivanya had to climb down!
“Oh no…one mistake and I will be gone!” Shivanya said, tensed.
Rudra laughed, “ See, if you breath in, Shiva is in you. If you don’t breath in, you are in Shiva! So any which way, you win! There is nothing to fear!”
Rudra’s words had a calming effect on Shivanya. She gathered some courage and took the first step downward. But unfortunately, due to the rains, the rocks had become slippery. Shivanya slipped but Rudra caught her in time.
As Shivanya was trying to come in terms with what lay ahead of her, they heard a noise a behind them…..
It was that large herd of 200 goats!
Rudra told Shivanya to hurry up, otherwise the mountain goats would trample them under their feet.
Shivanya started breathing heavily. “Is this the only way?”
Rudra comforted her, “ Ok I have another way . I will carry you on my back! “
Looking down, Shivanya made up her mind within a second. She got onto Rudra’s back like a child. And Rudra descended the slippery rocks in a matter of few seconds.
When they touched base, Shivanya got off and told Rudra “You are my God! “
Then Shivanya noticed Rudra was wearing Rudraksha beads “ I love Rudraksha!” she exclaimed
“Look I can see your camp there……..” Rudra said.
“You have to come with me…I want to introduce you to Yash- my trek leader and tell him about how strong you are…” Shivanya said
Rudra laughed…. “I may have strong biceps but you have a very strong muscle too……it’s your heart…you are a braveheart girl!”
Shivanya looked at him fondly “Your company made me brave !”
“I am always with you…! And now I am late……… my house is a little ahead of your camp, on that small hill there!”
“ Oh no! You have to come with me…..just for some time!”
Rudra replied , “Ok you go ahead…I will join you!”
Shivanya walked ahead and her trek leader started clapping when Shivanya arrived safely
“Where were you?” he asked curiously
“Oh I had company! Let me introduce him……” snapped Shivanya
As Shivanya looked behind, she saw the herd of mountain goats
The trek leader started laughing….
Shivanya couldn’t see Rudra anywhere.
She asked the trek leader if there was any human settlement ahead of their camp.
The trek leader pointed out to a small hill .
“Oh I see….that’s where Rudra lives! “ Shivanya thought “Let me go and get him!”
As she climbed the hill, she came in front of the entrance of the tiny building and it was not a house but a Shiva Temple!
As Shivanya rushed inside, all she saw was a tiny Shivling.
“Rudra!” She called out….
She looked around and suddenly, her eyes fell on a bracelet of Rudraksha lying near the Shiv Linga.
The bracelet was the same one that Rudra was wearing!
Rudra’s words came back to Shivanya, “ I am always with you…in your heart!”
Shivanya’s heart skipped a beat. “Was he… ?”
As she fell on her knees, she felt a mystic presence around her. She shut her eyes. She was no longer looking for Rudra.
“Thank You Lord Rudra for helping me climb this mountain!”
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