I always thought Saying "Thank You" is an easy affair. I mean how hard its gonna be to express your gratitude. Saying sorry is difficult, but "Thank you" It's easy ....and I have never been so wrong.
The mere enormity of the task before me, A “himalayan task” to be precise overwhelms my mind and makes me incapable of thinking, let alone thanking anybody.
I owe gratitude to so many people, people that I have never met for the past 26 years and in all probability I might never meet again. Yet, they all stood by us, when the night was dark and full of terrors.
First of all, I would like to thank my friend Jithin Jose without whose presence, I probably would have gone Insane in those woods. Though It's his duty as much as mine to stay and search, his contribution to our cause is second to none.
The next in the line would be Mr. @R C Srinivasan, whom I have never met before and who risked it all again to climb 3800 Ft so that I could find my friend. He jokingly said that I am Frodo and he is sam in this quest and we are searching for something precious in those mountains. I must return the compliment and say He is Frodo and I am some one who is small and insignificant beside the enormous sacrifice he made. I know how exhausted you must be, still you chose to come with me to honor the commitment that you made to your friend’s mother and also to help me finding my friend. The trip threw us a few surprises and disappointments alike when someone mentioned, they found Rag in Hemkund Sahib and the other guy said, they saw Rag sitting in 1 KM’s and we were hopeful of finding him and it ended in disappointnent as all we found was a replica of Rag. Thanks for being with me.It’s been my misfortune that we have never met before and I consider myself fortunate to have your companionship.
The next would be Mr. Srinath Av. You volunteered to come with me on our mission of finding Rag, I value your commitment and I know it’s because of you, I had the company of Srini. Thank you for keeping in touch and you are the most precious gem that I found on the mountain.
Ranjith Rk, what can I say about you….We found that we were school mates in LKG and where we both studied together in Vani Vidyalaya, A reunion after 23 years. His mobile was our only link to outside world and he was the person who answered all the panicked calls from my relatives, friends, Rag’s Relatives and friends, jithin’s relatives and God know’s who else.. We used his phone like a Public telephone booth. Yet he attended all the calls, answered angry and confused parents in a calm manner, never faltered in his duty. He was the first to file a complaint in police station and the one who was a calming presence in the midst of chaos. He managed us so well and was a torch bearer to us in those dark times. Thank you Man. I hope we will meet in better times and I hope I will make a good impression on you, just like you made on me.
To the other Trek Companions, You all suffered greatly on our behalf and stood by us during those testing times, to the twelve from Chennai, Four From Delhi and 6 from Bangalore. You guys are awesome. You made us think and act rationally in those traumatic times and all I can say is Thanks for being with us.
I also owe a lot to Uttarakhand police, though they asked me some tough questions like “What happened tomorrow”? to which I was completely stumped and there they exchanged a victorious glance. Then they realized their error and asked “what happened yesterday”? to which I narrated the full story. The Police that I knew in Chennai used to take money from us, but when me and my partner was struck in Ghangria, Uttarakhand police said they will give money for us to travel in helicopter and reach Govindghat in fifteen minutes. It was something which I have never seen before. It’s not just the Police, I think the whole state is like that.
A PCO shop owner gave us discounts to make calls, offered us money to travel. A hotel owner made us stay free in hotel for a night. It was humanity which I have rarely seen in the city and it was almost unbelievable for me to think, such good people can exist. Then I realized, Uttarakhand is also called as Dev Bhoomi – A Land of Gods. An Apt title, I would say.
To Indo Tibetan Border Patrol and their Commander Mr. Tiwari. Thanks for sending trained mountaineers, sniffer dog and army men to find my friend. Mr.Santhosh, who is a Tamil guy made me understand Army life is not as glamorous as they show in movies. He kept me company on my third trip to Ghangria and carried both mine and Rag’s bag, though I offered to carry it many times, he declined. Staying with the army taught me few crucial lessons like, importance of discipline and living by the principle, safety first. For only if you are safe, you can save others. They carried ropes, went sliding down treacherous terrain adorned with sharp rocks and thorny plants. They risked it all for someone whom they have never seen. The Dedication and the spirit they showed in search operation can be matched by none. I owe them a lot and I am sure this is a debt that I can never repay.
I owe my food and Shelter to the Gurudwaras. They taught me humility by giving me plates to wash, which I gladly did, since it is the least I could do for the great hospitality that they rendered. The Roti which I despised during my train travel became my life savior in those times. Thanks for everything. "Wahe Guruji ka khalsa. Wahe guruji ki fateh".
My Cousins Ashwin Kumar, Sampath Srivatsan, Swetha Sampath and my sister Preetha Ve.I was overwhelmed by the love and concern you all showed on me and made me question myself, whether I really deserve all those love. The True answer is No. But I promise to strive to be someone who is worthy of all the love you showered.
To my dad, Who used his influence in the police department and made sure that we got adequate support in Uttarakhand, without whom the Indian Army wouldn’t have come. I owe you a lot of thanks and am not sure whether I can fill it up with words
To Vivek and Ganeshmurthy, I know you both are not in facebook and my thank you post might never reach you, yet you were there with our family when we were in crisis. You stayed with them, you gave them hope and still rendering so much help. You guys are the true friends in need. You are the best and I thank god for giving us both of you.
To Sumesh Protagonist You immediately arranged for money when we asked for it. Somehow we felt more in comfort by taking money from you than the various financial helps that were offered to us. God has also blessed you with a great partner in Greeshma Vijayan. I am proud to have you as my friend.
I used to travel alone a lot and when I come back, I used to make it a point to visit my friend Rag and tell all the interesting situations I encountered. Its his time to return the favor and I hope he comes back and give us all a tale that we can tell to our grandchildren.