Here is my absolutely flat-out adventure. There was a chill in the air as it got dark. We were a group of four. Instead of doing the usual dinner-dance routine - it was New Year’s Eve in Nepal - we decided to start early and walk through Darbar Square and then hit the back-packer hub of Thamel.
We kept changing pubs and finally found ourselves at the Rum Doodle. We had no idea about its history. It has got its name from the book The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman. This place has been visited by all the summiteers and even today those climbing Everest make it a part of their itinerary.
There are paper footprints stuck on the wall with signatures of the great climbers; there are also autographs of heads of state.
The restaurant is at two levels and we were on the terrace. Long wooden benches and tables give it a rustic look. There were some diplomats on our right and a bunch of punks from nowhereland on our left. A real tree that rose from the ground floor stood in the middle. We nibbled on our snacks and within half an hour no one seemed interested in the food.
The lady who was with us was very good at handling her drinks. She decided we needed tequila shots. Before I could figure out what was happening, I had downed four.
Earlier I had stuck to discussing philosophy, then psychology…now it was too late. I got up, stood on the bench, held on to the bark of the tree and sat atop a sturdy branch. Then I summoned the manager.
“I want one of those,” I said, indicating the footprint on the wall.
“I am sorry,” he replied, “but that is only for climbers.”
“What do you think I have done? I have climbed this tree.”
After much discussion a paper footprint was brought, a tiny one, and pinned to the wall. I was given a pen. I signed but don’t recall what I wrote. There was some applause.
That night I felt I had truly done something adventurous.
It is unlikely that I will ever climb any mountain, but every little hill has a peak and when you look from afar when I point a finger up, you won’t know how far the sky is from wherever I am.