Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Tolerance to In-grown Toe Nail

The down hill trek was killing me due to the excruciating pain at the nail region of the big toe. The toe nails started to in-grow again, the realisation which, was a bit too late. I have to endure the pains as I got complete the route and be with the group. All the downhills are going to become uphill as I retrace the track later, while returning – I consoled myself. For the first time I was looking forward for the uphill climb. The uphills were no better actually, except for the lesser pressure on the toe nail. The gravitational force is directly proportional to the weight and the gradient, and both are high. Inch by inch we climb the disused path, huffing and puffing, gaining altitude with every step. If not the shades provided by the tall trees, we would have collapsed fatigued by heat and dehydration.

When we could hear the sound of river no more, when we could see other mountains below us and when there was no more uphills, we knew that we are at 'Mangkhar' top. On the other side of the comparatively gradual slope there were orange orchard. The trees covered by parasitic climbers, both contesting for sunlight. Some of the trees were dry. Ironically providing support to the one which stifled them to death. Those trees that were still green bore oranges that were no bigger than a pingpong ball. In the absence of the farmers' helping hands they were left handicapped in the wild to fend for themselves. The taste of the fruit was as sour as lemon. Perhaps, a natural defence mechanism from the wild animals. However, we plucked some to eat it in lieu of lemon.

The hardship people faced carrying the oranges from here to wherever the road head or the selling point, can well be imagined. It was abandoned for good.

It took two hours to climb up. It would take half of that, to go down. Then I remembered about the ingrown toe nail – so may be more. The sun would set after two and half hours. The speed of the march was dictated by the setting sun as we did not come prepared for the night march. Setting sun cannot be stopped but the pain can be endured. And the pain was tolerated. The leeches were conspicuous by their absence in this season. It was a great relief for not having to fight with them. Somehow, they were missed due to the frequent breaks we get to pluck them off, if they were there.

The breadth taking view, the fresh air, the flora and fauna, the personal endurance (like that of an ingrown toe nail), etc are overlooked for they fall beyond the mandate. With singular aim and mission at hand we overlook the beauty of nature, presented in its raw form, most of the time.

It would become pretty mundane for some to read a detailed report about how you crossed the river: After disembarking from the vehicle there was a steep downhill till the river. The river had become small and fordable. Yet, how we tried to find a narrow and suitably divided portion, with protruding rocks in between, to hop, step and jump over it without removing the shoes. The accomplishment of doing that was exhilarating, for one slip or a miss step would have landed you directly in hospital or rendered you wet from heat to toe. How ingrown toe nail prevented me from hopping......let me not repeat that.

The feeling of joy in seeing the top of the mountains below you, the comprehension of the strength and power of the legs, the willpower to overcome the pains, the sense of achievement of covering distance and exploring the nature are few of the things that are enjoyed in retrospect. But paying to go for trekking in some foreign countries? (like some tourists that I met a couple of years back) Not me. Till the time I fix my ingrown toe nail.