A mild jerk and the train came to a halt. I saw the time on my cell phone, it was 5.00 am. One back pack, one lumbar pack, the camera bag and the rod tube slung from my shoulder did not make climbing down to the low platform any easier.
A few light bulbs were glowing against the backdrop of an ink blue sky.
The quaint, sleepy railway station was wet from the previous night’s rain. There was an early morning chill in the air, typical of the Himalayan foothills. I made my way through the crowd of cab drivers trying to grab their next fare, located the camp Gypsy by the name painted on the side, before I saw Balam Da, who was going to drive me to the camp. One cheerful shake of the hand, bags stowed away at the back and we were off. As soon as we drove out of town and into the open, the piercing chilly wind took over the open Gypsy. A half hour later we were knocking on Vinay’s door. One bear hug later, Vinay’s belongings finding space at the rear, we were off again. Conversation is difficult in an open Gypsy, anyway we had 5 days in together to catch up. An hour later, with 4 WD in operation, we scampered up the last km into the camp. The dogs gave a welcome bark, Ritish and Minakshi were both up and it was home coming. A couple of cups of tea allowed us to catch up with the happenings of the past six months, just the major events that is. E-mails and periodic phone calls are a poor substitute for hard core ‘adda’, even early morning ones.
The Sun was out and tiny droplets of the previous nights, rain nestling on the leaves, sparkled like tiny diamonds. The birdlife in the camp is awesome and breakfast accompanied by this glorious symphony is what makes life worth living.
Life takes on a different hue after a good meal!
More chai, organizing the gear for the day, getting the bait ready, packed lunch, water, tea in flasks, everything into the Gypsy and we were off.
A quarter of an hour later, we got the first glimpse of the river, glistening in the morning sun. The water was slightly muddy because of the previous night’s rain but we knew it would clear up soon. Anyway we would get different water conditions, ranging from muddy to gin clear (vodka clear, according to Vinay) over the next few days. We had to cross the river by a foot bridge and trek a km down river to reach our favorite spot.
From under the bridge the river travels half a km before plunging down a long rapid. Then the river flows down another half a km and into a deep dark pool and again into a steep rapid. We have had some wonderful tussles with the majestic mahaseer in these waters and I was looking forward to a great days angling.