Bhimashankar – The Return Journey [Special]
Our journey was complete and we felt at ease in His Divine Presence. We didn’t have enough time to look around the place and thus, had no choice but to return back. Our return journey, too, were filled with events that left a mark in our hearts forever.
For the return journey, our plan was to board any vehicle that would take us to Manchar bus stand. It was easy and would save our time if we were to board a bus from Manchar to Shivaji Nagar, rather than waiting for an unpredictable bus in a rural area. We already missed the final bus for the day towards Manchar.
There’s a big parking area outside the temple, few kilometers away, where all the vehicles were parked. Private cars, jeeps, private vans and buses were parked here. It was little crowded, and beyond that area was a deep valley. So before we would leave Bhimashankar, we thought of exploring whatever little we could in the time we had left. We went in to explore.
The extreme end of this large parking ground gave a scenic treat to our eyes. The deep valley was hidden within the dark monsoon clouds. Cool air drove us insane and we stood there admiring the beauty offered to us. Monkeys walked along the edges of the cliff without fear. There were three cute little puppies at a distance. We called them to us and gave them whatever biscuits we had.
After few inquiries, we were able to get a vehicle that would take us back to Manchar bus stop. It was a shared car – Sumo. A family seated themselves at the front beside the driver with their cute little kid resting on his mom’s shoulders. Four others got into the car before we could and made themselves comfortable in the middle row.
The back seats felt uncomfortable for all six of us!
We had not decided whether to take the car. The driver shouted loud to gather other passengers. And before other people came, we jumped right in and sat in the compressed space at the back. Outside the car stood three girls who have probably visited Bhimashankar temple like us. They got in and squeezed themselves at the back, opposite to our seat. The car started and we bid goodbye to Him.
I sat in the middle while Shakti sat to my left and Amitav to my right.
The sunset marked the end of the adventurous day. It felt as if the Lord himself was waving goodbye to us through the sun that appeared golden. A feeling of content swept in and we felt at ease. The girls seemed friendly and we had a good laugh at the back due to the jumpy ride as drowsiness took over us. We didn’t ask each other names or shared contacts.
Mid way, a scooter came behind us at average speed. The distance between them and us did not change as both the vehicles maintained a constant speed. Their headlights were “on”. We spoke to the girls riding the scooter in sign-language, signalling them to turn their lights off. It felt weird and funny at the same time.
Imagine a group of three boys sitting with a group of three other girls at the back seat of a car showing weird hand symbols!
Once the riders understood our message, they turned their lights off. We agreed and gave a thumbs up. They smiled back and soon overtook us.
After a tiring bouncy ride for almost 2.5 hours, we were back at Manchar bus-stand. There were many buses there and we ran hither and thither once again leaving the girls behind. One bus had just arrived and was about to leave and by sheer luck we were able to get in! Surprisingly, the girls we met before and whom we had left behind, had already occupied their seats in the same bus; And we stood in the aisle. The bus started with the conductor’s whistle and once again, we were heading towards Shivaji Nagar.
The ride back in the car had made me dizzy and I felt uneasy. Standing in the bus only made it worse for me and I had soon developed a spinning head and felt nauseated. I requested the bus conductor to stop the bus for a few minutes to get down and feel the fresh air, and maybe try vomiting to get rid of the uneasiness. He bluntly told me to do it through the entry door’s window if needed, and said it would be “fine” if I did it that way as the bus could not be stopped.
Shakti could see me from where he stood in the aisle far from me, Amitav stood behind him while I stood near the door. I signaled Shakti of my uneasiness and he understood right away. The girls, who had become our travel buddies by then, had sensed something wrong and asked him what happened to me.
Seeing my uneasiness, one of them who sat just few seats away, between Shakti and me, offered her seat and I politely declined with a smile.
After a few stops, their destination arrived and the girls got down. The girl who had previously offered me her seat, forced me with a friendly tone to be seated at her place while inquiring about my health at the same time. I thanked her and rested myself on her seat. Shakti and Amitav had already occupied the seats of the other two girls by then.
Finding such strangers with a good heart and a friendly approach is difficult. We were lucky we came across them in our journey. And yes, we do miss them. But with no way to communicate for the rest of our lives, our only hope is that one day this Bhimashankar Travelogue brings us closer.
Maybe someday, we would all enjoy trekking together this time; And we would definitely share our contacts, never to lose such good Friends ever again. That’s one of the lessons I had learnt from this trip.
We reached Shivaji Nagar bus stop after a few hours, around 20:00. Munching on the delicious peda (Wiki Link), we bought from one of the shops just outside the Bhimashankar Temple, we got in to another bus headed for Hinjewadi Chowk.
A Journey filled with devotion, excitement, adventure, friendship, love, care, happiness and sadness has come to and end. The Return Journey is a special chapter for the Bhimashankar Travelogue. I hope you all enjoyed reading this chapter the same way you enjoyed the other chapters. 🙂