5th June 2009' .. Late evening..
Jim Corbett National Park.
The Wizards have finally reached Hotel Nirvana in Jim Corbett National Park after a long drive from Delhi, which was like a burning furnace. The heat has made us all tired as hell, and reaching our destination has made us all heave a sigh of relief. The hotels name puts Varu in a Nirvana song singing spree and she cant get enough of "Lithium". I m tired and hauling my BIG bag upstairs to our 1st floor room, has me wheezing for breath. The room is small but cosy, with a balcony overlooking a nice lawn. The sight of the AC makes us all go "Ahhhhhh" as we fall onto the bed, and for a while noone moves a muscle. We quickly discover something strange in the electricity system around the place. The AC being on means everything else goes kaput (weird i know) We refused to turn off the AC even for a second so we had to take showers in the dark. Since I take the longest time, I m the last one to freshen up. I start to feel human again after a cold water bath (singing "come as you are" in d bathroom) and I make my way alone to the dining hall which is at the end of the hotel grounds. After a good dinner of chicken (Ahhh) and YET another paneer dish, we make our way to the edge of the swimming pool and everyone takes up some seat, in chairs, loungers, and sunbathing chairs..
The sky is the color of ink, its getting colder, and as we are lounging there, some people decide to go catch up on some sleep. The CC's (me n my girlies) and few other wizards are reluctant to go, cz the breeze feels amazing. We sit there talking and joking, laughing and planning the next day. Suddenly, there was a flash at the horizon, and everyone sighs in relief. FINALLY the rains were going to make an appearance. Shilpa argues that it wasnt lightening, someone was taking pics and that was the flash. That has us rolling in laughter around the pool side. :P Soon enough, she is proved wrong, as the storm builds up, throws purple flashes of lightening across the cloudy sky. Everyone abandoned the idle chit chat, and gathered around the far side of the pool, sitting on the stone floor on the side of the pool, and watched the lightening as it progressed across the sky. The wind was catching up, and soon a dark cover of cloud covered up the entire sky. The lightnening was so strong, that it seemed that we could reach out a hand and touch it. It was intimadating and fascinating us at the same time. Everyone watched mesmerized.
Each flash more stunning than the last, had us getting up to our feet. Everyone switched off their cells and talks veered towards "What if we got stuck by lightening". Some enthusiastic people even start with "What causes lightening?" (Engineers through and through :P *rolls eyes*) When we thought that nothing could get more beautiful than this one, another flash ripped across the sky, proving us wrong. And then something happens that made us all give one collective gasp. The lights go off and we are plunged into total darkness.
The clouds gather up right above our heads and the winds start gathering force.. The lightening being the only source of light within miles in sight, every odd second it threw ghostly silver light on us. There was a jungle full of wild animals on the left side of us and a river flowing somewhere at the backyard. It was difficult to make out where the howling was some animal or the wind. It literally gave me the goosebumps to be standing there in the pitch black, excited and spooked at the same time, not knowing what will happen next. Then it starts to rain.
The lightening flashes again, the wind builds up so much that chairs start flying around, and we are running for cover from the sudden rain. The rain came suddenly, with full force, raining fat drops of cold water, that actually hurt. People hurry from the poolside, some people take leave now, a huge storm now very apparent. A few of us decided to stay on. CC's, King and Queen of hearts, Pak, Pooja, Karan run towards the now empty dining hall. I m the last one to walk away from the poolside, bcz the cold cold rain on my face feels so right. The rain falls on my face, feels like its washing away all that there was to do away with. There was so much going on in my mind before I left for this trip.. and suddenly for the first time in ages it seemed, I feel free. I feel happy.
It felt like it just couldnt get better than this.
Little did we know that the night was just beginning...