The Climb

“This stupid mountain.”

“I’m done. I want to go back down.”

“Why am I so much slower than everybody else?”

These thoughts plagued me throughout my trek yesterday. I had never hiked up a mountain before and I had fallen behind the majority of the group. A few people went back down, but I wanted to push myself. My lips cracked, my eyes watered and my legs gave up. I would climb up a little farther, and need to take a break. For the first half of the mountain, I climbed to prove it to the rest of the group. Right as I was reaching a point where I thought I couldn’t go any farther, I saw the rest of the group.

“MAAAXXXX,” they all screamed.

“Budddyyyy,” Zaid yelled down to me.

If all these people who I just met a week ago believed in me, then no matter how difficult it was, I was going to make it up this giant mountain. I climbed up to them and they moved on, while I rested for a few minutes. As I looked out at the beautiful view of Pune, something clicked in my mind. I wasn’t doing this trek just for the group, I was also doing it for myself. I needed to prove to myself that I could make it up the mountain even if I was miserable hiking up alone. I hiked for another hour or so, feeling nervous that I hadn’t caught up, and then I saw the top. Through all the fog and clouds, past the trees and rocks, was a stone trail leading to a huge fort. I heard the familiar screams of buddy and Max, along with seeing some waves and dabs. Seeing everyone waiting for me with smiles on their faces made me so excited to push through. When I finally reached the top, everyone ran over to me and showed nothing but positivity. Not a single person was upset that I made them wait. Everyone was just glad I made it up and could rejoin the group. The hike may have been tough, but the joy I felt being a part of that group was undeniably worth it. On the way back down, Rajlaxmi, Zaid, Shubhashree and Bobby helped me the whole way, although going down was much easier for me, and everyone constantly cheered me on. When we reached the bottom, I felt so proud of myself but I also felt so happy to be a part of this group of people. I don’t know if I would have reached the top without those cheers and waves, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much without the group. Trust me when I say, the pain and struggle was worth it.