There was a chill as it got dark. We kept changing pubs and finally found ourselves at the Rum Doodle. We had no idea about its history. It has got its name from the book The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman. This place has been visited by all the summiteers and even today those climbing Everest make it a part of their itinerary.
There are footprints in paper on which the great climbers have signed; there are also autographs of heads of state.
The restaurant is on the terrace. Long wooden benches and tables give it a rustic look. We had some diplomats on our right and a bunch of punks from nowhereland on our left. There was a tree, a real tree, which had been accommodated from the ground floor and rose up a few metres. We did our nibbling and within half an hour no one seemed interested in the food.
The lady who was with us obviously was very good at handling her drinks. She decided we needed tequila shots. Before I could figure out what was happening, I had downed four.
Earlier I had stuck to discussing philosophy, then psychology…now it was too late. I got up, stood on the bench, held on to the bark of the tree and sat atop a branch. Then I summoned the manager.
“I want one of those,” I said, pointing to the footprint on the wall.
“I am sorry,” he replied, “but that is only for climbers.”
“What do you think I have done? I have climbed this tree.”
So, after much discussion a paper footprint was brought, a tiny one, and pinned to the wall. I was given a pen. I signed…I don’t recall what I wrote, but there was some applause.
That night I felt that I had truly done something adventurous.
It is unlikely that I will ever climb any mountain, but every little hill has a peak…and when you look from afar when I point a finger up, you won’t know how far the sky is from wherever I am…