Alone at the top: A Dhaka adventurer's Himalayan quest to find meaning in life
We have all been there, stuck in traffic, contemplating the decisions that led us there. However, there are snippets of experiences and memories that kind of make every nuisance and hardship worth it. In my case, reminiscing about standing thousands of feet above and breathing the freshest air this planet has to offer, while the thick exhaust of the 27-number bus blows on my face, does it for me. This is where I can't help but draw parallels between navigating through Dhaka's unending traffic jams and a Himalayan trek in itself. But what if you swapped out the honking rickshaws and bustling markets for snow-capped mountains and alpine meadows? I did just that, and let me tell you, it's a journey as transformative as moving from Motijheel to Uttara during rush hour—only a thousand times more peaceful.
The Himalayan adventure
Last year, my wife and I took the plunge and found ourselves amidst the Himalayan giants on the Mardi Himal trek in Nepal. When you stand beneath these towering peaks, you're hit with an emotion that's a cocktail of awe, humility, and perhaps, a hint of existential crisis.
Going Solo, Going Soul-o
This year, it's all about flying solo. As I prepare for another Himalayan escapade — this time, alone — I can't help but wonder what personal discoveries lie in store. This isn't just a trek; it's an existential expedition, a kind of *Eat, Pray, Love* but with less eating and more climbing. (I am not as rich as Julia Roberts or the character she plays in that movie.) The idea of going solo on a trek might raise a few eyebrows in the social bustle of Dhaka. But this year, it's about embarking on a solitary journey to really hear the mountains — and perhaps, to hear myself.
The Dhaka connection
Sure, the cityscape of Dhaka and the vastness of the Himalayas are as different as fuchka and Yak Cheese. But the chaotic beauty of our beloved city actually prepares you for the surprises the mountains have to offer. What Dhaka's hustle teaches you, above all else, is resilience. Here, every bump on the sidewalk is a step closer to understanding how to navigate life's ups and downs. Trekking, as it turns out, is 80 per cent mental preparedness and 20 per cent physical readiness. Sound like a Dhakaiya trying to get through the city before Eid holidays? Exactly!
Magnetic pull of the peaks
There's an intangible element that keeps drawing me back. Each visit strips away another layer of the facade that we, as city dwellers, often don't realise we've built around ourselves. With every return, the mountains insist on a confrontation with the raw, unedited version of the self — a rare opportunity in our scripted urban existences. Why? The mountains are uncompromisingly honest. They challenge you, nurture you, and 'reveal' you. It's in this unyielding honesty that I find an unexpected comfort. On the slopes of the mighty Himalayas, I am reminded of my place in the universe — insignificant in scale yet infinite in potential.
Trekking leaves you humbled and grounded, much like negotiating your way through Dhaka's chaos does. It's as if you leave a piece of your soul among the mountains, and in return, they give you a little something to take back — clarity, peace, or maybe just the ability to tackle what life throws at you with a zen-like calm.