This world is full of skeptics. Whenever we announce a walk, some people respond with comments like, Why don’t you walk for charity? Why don’t you plant trees instead? or simply, Walk se kya hoga?
Thick skinned as we are, we continue to walk. It is people like the Dhimans that give us the courage to go on. This is a story worth telling and at the outset I must apologize to the main characters, Mrs. and Mr. Vishu Dhiman and Mr. Mittal (in the beard) for revealing personal details of our conversations.
It was almost 3 years ago that I met Mrs. Dhiman. She had swollen knees, in fact she appeared so tired at one of the walks that I got quite concerned about her condition. She refused to climb the mild slope that led to Thano top. Doctors, she told me, had advised her to go for knee replacement on both the knees, or spend the rest of her life as an invalid. All I could mumble on hearing this was that she should keep walking, whatever it takes. She kept her courage, and despite the personal pain, kept smiling through our Bissu trip (on the bumpiest road I have ever seen in my life, and I have seen quite a few!) to Jaunsar.
Then, one day she decided she had had enough! She went and bought a bicycle for herself. Mr. Dhiman, well into his retirement, supported her. Almost instantly, their world changed for them. I would see her cycling across town in the wee hours. The swelling was gone, so was the pain. On one of our walks to George Everest Estate, the couple surprised us by cycling all the way from Dehra Dun, a good 30 km on a steep incline! All I could see in Mrs. Dhiman now was an athlete waiting to unleash her inner strength.
A few months ago they were up to Gangotri, and now scaling the Khardungla, en route Leh. And Mr. Mittal is accompanying you! A grandfather himself, Mr. Mittal would keep his ears open for any godforsaken place I mentioned. Lo and behold, in a matter of days he would report back saying he had trekked through the place. And now to Leh from Manali on bicycles. And it was just a while ago you met at the walks.
Hats off to you sirs and mam, you are an inspiration to all of us. Your fortitude just tells us, its that one split second of determination that can change everything. Don’t be a doubting Tom, act!!! Don’t wait for it to come to you, seize the moment!!!