Aryan Thapa, Class-XI,

Army Public School, Narangi, Guwahati.

It was February 16 when I posted a picture on a social networking site, where I was posing in front of a giant banyan tree, which is on a hilltop near my house. The next day, when I reached school, all my friends were asking about this place and the tree.

I told them this was the same banyan tree that we could see from our school. And the moment I said that, they wanted to go there and click a picture next to the tree.

So, I proposed a trek to the hilltop. They all agreed to it and we managed to fix a date, March 13, for the trek seeking the banyan tree. Our final examination ended on March 12; so we chose the very next day for our trek.

Our examination started, and with each paper, our excitement for the trek grew further. Soon, it was March 13, and after waiting for almost a month and handling all the exam pressure, we were finally ready to go trekking.

At 10 o’clock sharp, Vineet, Rahul and Pranjal came to my house. Let me introduce them to you, starting with Vineet, a native of Uttar Pradesh. Tall and chubby, he has a funny bone. Rahul is an Assamese boy, excited to do new things, but always stressed out during exams. His love for the bicycle almost caused his parents a panic attack once, when he rode to Mangaldai on it. Coming to Pranjal, who is also an Assamese boy; he is ever ready for an adventure and can undertake daring tasks.

We started for the trek at 10.10 a.m. from my house. The weather was sunny and pleasant. We saw many huts, and also some concrete houses on the way. The roads were well-maintained. It took us around 20 minutes to reach the foothills.

Rahul was getting frustrated because as we were moving higher, we were losing mobile phone network. It was the first time for Pranjal and Vineet in a jungle. We were now just a few metres away from the banyan tree. I was leading, as I knew the route. Behind me was Pranjal, followed by Vineet and Rahul. I heard Vineet saying, ‘Ruk jao, pani pi leta hoon.’ He sat down and we went to check on him. He told us that he was unable to open his eyes, and it got us worried. We asked him to splash some water on his eyes as we took a five-minute break. He was alright after the rest. It was 10.35 a.m., and as we were approaching closer to the tree, our path was getting narrower. After walking for about 30 seconds, I realised that this was not the right route. There were bushes all around us. As I exclaimed that we had lost the route, the others got upset. But then, Rahul said that we were not going back without seeing the tree and we would make our own way. It was an upright slope and it was barely possible to climb without any support or grip. We decided to climb with the help of the roots and creepers; it was a really tough climb, but we somehow managed to do it. By 10.57 a.m., we were at the spot we wanted to be. It felt amazing to see the banyan tree, it was like the full moon in the night sky which helps the stranded find direction. We sat down on the rocks in front of the banyan tree, and the cold breeze worked as a balm to our tiredness. We could see our school and the whole of Guwahati city from one side, and the NH-37 on the other side. After resting for a while, we searched for the best views and backgrounds to click pictures. We took a few selfies, and then, had our snacks and after chatting for an hour or so, started the climb downhill, listening to Vineet’s funny and interesting stories.