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Captain Nero’s Month In Kashmir

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The past one month has probably done something to me. Over the last thirty days, I went back to Ladakh, trekked to Tarsar Marsar lake in Kashmir, biked to Yousmarg, visited the beautiful Gurez Valley, Daksum Valley, and Sinthan.
I have huddled with ten people in a two person tent; tried to pet every horse and sheep I could and been spurned every time; seen some people not give up when their physical strength gave up on them; walked into a shepherd’s mud house and talked about life.
I have sat in solitude in meadows. This past month I have seen women in Gurez carry wood and grass for kilometres and keep realising how hard or different or simple or uni dimensional or a battle of survival life can be in some parts of the world.
I have been treated with the warmest hospitality in Kashmir. I have felt or listened to their pain. But always been welcomed into houses, for chai, for food. I can’t, just can’t, forget those smiling faces.
I have stared at umpteen mountains, some with snow camouflaging their peaks and have burnt with desire to climb them. I have pored over articles, every day, fascinated to trek more. And more. And more.
I have realised again, and again, how materials don’t interest me. How I like walking in the mountains. How it never much tires me. Childish enthusiasm can often trump exhaustion.
Why would I even return to cities. I don’t want cars. Or malls. Or the clutter. I am so much happier seeing horses. Feeling the mountain air. Waking up to see people outside my tent sipping chai.
Why would we limit ourselves to routines. To the same thing most days.
There is so much to do. So much to see. So much to feel. The past one month has probably done something to me.
neeraj narayanan kashmir
offbeat kashmir
beautiful kashmir
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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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