More often than not, Motorcycle enthusiasts are oft cascaded in a self-induced euphoria over “why they ride”. Love for the machine, sense of freedom, seeing new places, power of possession, social media fame… all are worth mentioning causes and perhaps true for many bikers. But today, let me also talk about my innate need to ESCAPE from the world of reality to my childhood WORLD of FANTASY.
It was another Sunday early morning of restlessness, Shwet-Agni eager to hit the roads yet again, this time it was to be the place of mystique, inner peace, kaizen whatever semantic may suit you. We were headed towards Parashar Lake, just bordering on High Altitude. The hullabaloo of the cities fades away, the gurgling of the streams just become a bit louder, the air becomes a bit thinner, the bird chirping becomes meaningful and it’s time to enter my world of magical mystery tour.
The sudden world of relations fades away, and now it’s me in my world of fantasy. A band of loyal like Bamsi, Dogan and Turgut to back me up, it’s time to break away, or fade away… from Suleiman Shah’s moral boundaries, Haima Hatun’s or Halime’ compassion, Sultan Alaeidin’s call for loyalty and the enemy’s treachery… leaving everything far below, where the clouds are left behind, as Ertrugul soars over the mundane, miserable, ordinary, everyday life… charging on his stately mare Shwet-Agni, in search of fresher pastures, the mystery of the Byzantine border; no lowliness can touch him in his quest, the Sigma cuts through. The clouds way below him; as he soars with the spirit of an eagle and the heart of a wolf.
The serpentine roads cross mountains over mountain, the vegetation changes, the roads are scooped out by regular snow over generations, the sunray plays hide and seek on the forest as the young Turk rides on, not afraid of any lurking bandit, conquering Mongol or revengeful Templars waiting to pounce; He rides through fear, despair, failure, sorrow never knowing what backing down means.
The road changes to a track, the track changes to a cutting, the cutting changes to a trail, the trail changes to a walking path. The white steed has to wait, it’s time to walk the rest of the way, climbing. fumbling yet never faltering. And soon the destination of the lake looms large.
The prehistoric Parashar lake was supposed to be created by the blow of the elbow of the second Pandav, Bheem. This is the holy land where Rishi Parashar, the grandson of Rishi Sukdev and father of Maharshi Vedavyas is supposed to have stayed and meditated for a very long time. A look at the surroundings and one is left with no doubt about the terrain appreciation of the Rishi. At the top of a ridgeline with the snow-capped Himalayan peaks just a stone’s throw away, high altitude grasslands with lush green hue soothe the soul as wild horses make merry. The deep blue lake has certain mysteries too. All previous attempts to find the depth, including those with ropes, divers and even sonars; have failed; so, nobody knows how deep the lake is. I pondered, men have failed to gauze the depth of the gaze of a woman since time immemorial; why be so picky about a lake; let one remain where we do not know exactly. What we don’t know adds to our wisdom; let knowledge not be the only quest. A floating island is common interest of the visiting people; with an oft Whattsapp circulated story of it coming to the east during sunrise and west during sunset or even the more preposterous one of the island following the Earths rosette of revolution around the sun… but it was neither possible nor justifiable to verify them.
A slow climb onto the opposite heights to get a good view of the lake and the temple complex, then getting to see the the Pagoda style temple itself built by the royalty supposedly again from a single poplar tree. Notwithstanding the legend, the mesmerizing woodwork and the innate peace of the place captures the imagination slowly and steadily.
It’s time now to head back, after a quick break of the Mountain Maggi and oversweet tea… moving down again to civilization, to regular flow of life. The motorcycle trip to the lake is not that to any destination, to just a lake or a temple… but a deep dive into my fantasyland of childhood; of heroes in nature, far away from the maddening mundane. Au Revoir; till we ride again, to find another layer of ourselves.