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F5 at 3500

All those who have trekked know very well that porters are always hurrying to reach the next camping site. They rush at superhuman speed balancing themselves on narrow trails while carrying our (mostly) useless stuff. It is a mystery what the frenzy is all about. But on this particular trek to Har-ki-Dun in Uttarakhand this mystery was sort of solved.  Well for this part of the world at least.

To reach the sprawling meadows of Har-ki-Dun one needs to trek for 2 days and cover a distance of approximately 30 kms. For our unprepared legs this was a shock, while our two porters showed off their pace. We could only huff and puff and watch their heads appearing and vanishing beyond the undulating terrain. They were a long way ahead of us at all times and we were in no condition to race. Little did we know that they were warming up, for a bigger game.

Finally, we reached our destination and crashed on any flat surface we could find. And strangely at this height (3500 meters), there were many.

While we were just getting used to our horizontal position and the warm sun, there was a lot of excited talk and activity around us. The huddled group broke up and threw a spherical object in the distance, which bounced a couple of times and then came to rest.

This particular spherical object was to be our cricket ball for the next 2 days. It was made up of layers of cloth tightly bound together. There is special physics associated with the composition of a ball that is used in these parts. The layer of cloth limits its scope of travel, since no one wants to lose their energy running after a ball for too long, and they want to preserve it for their turn at batting. The porters and guide from our group met with those from the other trekking groups with a single-minded focus of playing cricket there. They follow mostly all rules of international cricket, except that the wicket is a collection of superbly balanced rocks, and a four is when you hit a big boulder nearby. Most importantly, if you hit the ball too far away, needless to say, you are out. We asked to be involved as well, and were welcomed. And we let the games begin, at an altitude of thirty five hundred metres.

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