The Parichay trip was going to be a whole new experience for quite a few reasons. Packed with 16 kids, their enthusiasm was going to match mine at any point of time. I was eager to see the games children play, had in mind a game or two. My game would be something to do with role playing, a military invasion and capture of a hill, or a cab full of pirates in search of the heart of a sea monster, or Don Quixote attacking a windmill.

The third idea brought me back to my senses and i smiled at my imagination. I did get to do all those things, but more like a commando and less like a captain with backup. I was later to find out that i was not in hollywood, but more in bolly or molly wood, for we had a don with a haircomb and a god with a cellphone. Both very fond of camera, inadvertently didn't cross each others path during much of the trip. A strong clout followed both the god and the don; and in this plot, i considered myself as ....

To make myself clear, I will shread the cryptic writing style for a while. The god being Selva, belongs to a quaint South Indian town that cooks it just right. It familierity with the food lovers is for discovering a bland curry dish named Sodhi, mixed with rice seved with a more fiery porel.

Don would be Kailash, who unlike bad dons, sticks a comb in his back pocket. Well, has been never identified in a camera... in that line of work, its like that... with a bad hairstyle. He probably learns half his tricks at work and other half at Saloo's saloon. I hope he puts these tricks to good use. I would like a don change & turn himself in, for a desire to win the great Indian comedy show.

I considered myself as a pilgrim travelling with the god, a preacher travelling with the don. Though neither of these was entirely my real identity, i acted them out suitably.

The condense of the two day trip can be compared an evening. A kid reaches the playground with an excitement and as the sun sets down returns home with heavy steps. The kiddos, went there all excited and returned as if it was sun set of an evening they wished would not end so soon. And under a decoy of going and comming back sleepy; because I collected information. Any top 3 presumptions made with this statement about my real identiy during the trip may still be wrong.

Just before we reached Delhi, I caught a glimpse of Radha sitting in the other cab. It was the same smile with which she would radiate in the classroom, at the end of 2nd hour of my tough-to-digest lecture about relationship between puzzles and life. That promising smile for the future said so much; the big deal was not the trip that costed XXX bucks or the restaurant that I was overwhelmed by, the big deal is living in the moment.

Walking like a man and hitting like a hammer, she looked like a confident, dynamic career woman in jeans - a side of Moni I had not seen before. I could almost imagine her speak with eloquence and finish like this, "your honour, i rest my case".

Initially we had intended to go to Dehradun also. Dehradun is approximately 60-70 km from Rishikesh. If children could be exposed to studies related to flora and fauna (wildlife) at that place, surrounded by both in plenty, the educational objective of the trip would be fulfilled from my stand-point. "Once a befuddled a wildlife researcher, found answer for a touch question in a comic book".

We did not go to Dehradun and only person I could teach about trecking was Manu (a volunteer). On our small trek to Nilkanth, we managed to get lost. You know how it starts, "I know a shortcut". A blind man wouldnt get lost on that one. We never found a shortcut, instead a skeleton pointing the long finger towards the road saved us. Perhaps, it was tired from the disco last night, 'the Skeletor disco'. Before we left our friend 'Skeletor', we changed the direction of its finger to the other side.

Looking back, I might have taken Sona to the treck. He might have been able to treck the distance at our pace. If there is a career for him in doing something like this, that would be real cool. Even if he looks like an adventurer to me, there are already too many people doing this stuff for a living. I guess one has to discover something, even if one does not have the formal education, and make a living. Its something about respect for oneself (maybe). To make a two day trip about discovery is not a child's play.

Is a day at work similar to a day spent mountain trecking? In a work day, a person climbs to a peak and then comes down or finds a resting spot before the sunset. Then some days and on some trecks you don't reach the peak, return before touching it. Are their more similarities between a city day and a treck? While former is about mental exertion & team play, the latter is physical exertion & individual will power. In this bleak similarity, i find it important to note one point, "if you enjoy the path and the people along it, you can always return back contented, looking forward to the next day, weather or not you reached the peak".

- Naval

The trip formed a bond between the circle of volunteers. Had it not been for Parichay, they would not take my baloneey or agreed to look it from an artistic point of view. And I definitely would have called them egotistic for not bearing with me. Parallely, that applies to little ghutkhi as well (her name escapes me). There was something different about her at the Book Fair and now when she went to Rishikesh.

For proof lover, its a theorem that states that only the child inside you makes true friends. Sadly it is contradiction with adults is what makes a child. Meaning the child can put you at cross with adults, or wouldn't i be a child everywhere. Parichay, for me that's a place where the child feels safe.