Way Back Home ~ Not Just A Himalayan Travelogue!

It’s been 7 years since the travelogue was made, but it still finds a special place in the origins of this community. Here’s Rohan Thakur’s take on his experience.

As a Himachali boy, hailing from a little known village of Tholong in Lahaul Valley, who was born and raised in Manali, and completed his High School in Mussoorie – the presence of the mountains in my childhood and nascent adulthood, though powerful, was plagued with a constant sense of abandonment and change!

After school, I went abroad to secure my further education. This is where my creative sensibilities began to take shape. I travelled across the world in search of stories and experiences, interacting and mingling with people hailing from different cultures, learning and unlearning from the many jobs I experimented with.

Being a struggling artist, I wandered around everywhere in search of inspiration! It took multiple rejections in the fields of music and films, and a “settled for” existence in Bombay where I literally accepted every job that came my way, to make me realize that I was seeking for the right answers in the wrong places! To realize that, for someone like me whose identity was so confused growing up away from my own community, those answers rested closer to home!

And thus began the journey to revisit my roots, and do it with love, compassion, understanding, knowledge and acceptance. To do it with a frame of mind free of all inhibitions, structures, formats and trends, which, I realized later, would ultimately trigger the true artist inside me!

It was the winter of 2013. We carried a camera to the Himalayan highlands, driving across enchanting valleys, visiting remote villages, indulging in the unwavering hospitality of the Himachalis, collecting precious memories for life.

On the exterior, Way Back Home was just another Himalayan Travelogue! But, if you care to dig deeper… It was a journey inside my heart of hearts, a journey back to my roots!

To me, the mountains represent pure happiness that transcends into satisfaction and mental bliss, overwhelming to an extent, that on most occasions I end up shedding a tear or two. And over our four-month-long journey of Way Back Home, we were blessed with many such surreal moments! Like the time when being snowed-in at Kamru Village gave us the chance to witness the most heart-warming Holi celebrations of the tribe! People who have watched the series find it hard to believe that we didn’t pre-plan any of the content on the show. All we planned was places and an approximate time to be spent there about the entire trip. And the rest, as they say, is simply the power of positive thinking and belief in the universe!

“Everyday as it comes” was our Mantra. “Ask the Mountains and they will provide” was our prayer every morning before we embarked on a new adventure and every night before we surrendered to the warmth of our cosy blankets. Every bit of the show is 100% authentic and organic in the way that every experience, place or person magically manifested themselves upon us through our sheer belief, desire and want to do exactly that.

Over this incredulous journey, we met some really inspiring people, some locals, others who have made these mountains their home. Every one of them had stories to inspire, educate and enlighten. Like the one time in Dharamshala that we stumbled across the amazing work done by the NGO “Waste Warriors” – it’s people like them who are bringing a change towards responsible travelling by doing what everybody should but don’t. It was only in giving that we received an eternity of wisdom for which we will forever be indebted to the mountains and the Travel Gods.

Way Back Home was more to do with me, rediscovering my home, my roots, myself. And in that entire journey, which probably was a year-long, I got a deeper understanding of who I am, where I belong. It made me realize that roots are roots and that one must return home to give back to society. I still have a lot to achieve and experience before I truly retire and find a way to give back to my roots. It made me realize that there’s no point of living a mundane life where there is no difference between the “story of your life” and a “day in your life”. Balance in life is fundamental, be it the mountains or the ocean or the city, they all have something to teach. All you gotta do is reach out and seek!

Until we meet again, and more permanently this time, I will continue to see the Himalayas as a source of constant inspiration, energy and power like no other. And for what they have given me, I find myself, willingly, in its debt for eternity.

TheVibe Takeaway: “Life ain’t worth shit if it ain’t for journeys like these” – Rohan Thakur.

©️ 2020. Gut and Flow Media Pvt. Ltd.

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