My idea of going for a hike used to be going to this amusement park near my house which was situated on a hill. Every day was the same as the one before it. I
f life was to be described by a colour, mine would be a dull gray, one without any hint of excitement in it. I can count all the remarkable experiences of my life on one hand and out of those very few experiences, the one that stands out the most, the one that was the most significant is Markhor.
That wonderful stretch of four days which gave me unadulterated happiness, introduced me to some brilliant individuals, taught me lessons that are going to last a lifetime and challenged me to be something much more than just an ordinary little girl who liked to write in her notebook once in a while. At nights, I would sit there watching the flames of the bonfire leap towards the star speckled sky and feel at peace with myself and my surroundings after years.
Perhaps the thing that struck me the most about Markhor was the absolute goodness of the people I met there. The gratuitous violence taking place in my city had made me a raging cynic. I had almost become devoid of any trust towards other human beings and that had made my interactions with them empty of any meaning or actual emotions.
Markhor basically destroyed my pre conceived notions about people and presented to me these inspiring individuals from all over the country, every single one of them kind and wonderful. Hope had become an emotion that was alien to me after spending my whole life in Karachi but after the conference ended, I couldn’t help but feel that the future must be better if it has to go in the hands of these people.
Markhor started with me sitting alone on a bus seat cursing myself on the inside. I had always had trouble getting along with people and here I was sitting in a bus filled with strangers that I had to stay with for the next four days.
Something absolutely unreal and brilliant happened then. I hit it off with Zainab and then Shayan and before I knew it I was laughing along with everyone else and cracking jokes just like I did back home. It was a testament to the goodness of the people around me that an introvert like me felt so much at ease. Everyone had their own little quirks and welcomed me as if they had known me since forever.
Five different people would call out to see if I was all right if I stumbled during hiking. I’d just grimace and I’d have people asking me if I felt fine. I’d ask for soap and half a dozen people would go scrambling through their tents to find me some soap. It was like our own little utopia where everyone lived harmoniously amidst the lush green mountains. Spending days with these wonderful people was definitely what made Markhor an experience of a lifetime for me.