We were on our way to Chopta, for a quiet holiday. We wanted to be away from the maddening crowd and enjoy the views of the Himalaya from the alpine meadows. Chopta lay between Kedarnath and Badrinath.
It had started raining and rocks and boulders were dislocated on the slopes. Suddenly by the side of the road, we saw a Himalayan monal lying on its side. My husband who was a Vet stopped the car, got out and brought the bird inside the car. A bit of warm water to drink and stroking of its head made the bird regain its vigor. Actually it was more of a shock from a fall possibly, than any physical harm that the bird was suffering from.
We watched the bird fly away. My 10 year old son put a bracelet made of flowers which he had bought on the road, on the bird's neck and decided to name her Rini her dull color showed that the bird was a female. After driving for some time we came across a road sign which showed Chopta in the opposite direction. We were surprised since the map also showed that we were on the right path.
My husband turned the car, when we suddenly noticed our Rini sitting on top of the road sign. She seemed to be looking at us before flying away.We went back the same way that we had come to finally come to a shop. The owner shook his head, after hearing what we had said.
The signboard had come loose on its hinges, the shopkeeper said, any weight on it would make the signboard turn round in a reverse direction. The weight of the bird sitting on it could have done it.
What took our breath away was what the shop keeper said. "The bird has saved your lives. The road has caved in on way to Chopta, if you had ventured a little further, the car could have fallen into a gorge."
Our trip to Tungnath remained incomplete but we promised ourselves a trip next year. The photo my son had clicked of Rini shall remain in our family album forever.