It had been more than two years since I last visited Jammu. It’s unusually long to not visit your hometown when you live only a 2-hour plane ride away. Career, relationships, marriage, earning a livelihood took over life itself and I lost track of time. I was like a hamster on a wheel. The saddest part of this was I didn’t create any memories for the future—memories that man goes back to in moments of solitude. I knew I needed to change this in my life and going on a holiday felt like a perfect start.
When I left a conventionally secure job to begin a career in writing, Jammu was the first place I went to. Not only to stir my creativity in the cup of its natural beauty but also to find myself. After all, it was the place where I was born. But more than anything, I wanted to create lasting memories, something which I had missed out on in the rush of life.
The afternoon I landed in Jammu, a feeling of ecstasy rolled through my veins. My mind was flooded with the places I wanted to visit. But being the history fanatic that I am, I knew exactly where to begin. Bahu Fort, also called ‘the castle on the mountain’, was my first stop. The 3000-year-old fort was built by the Suryavanshi king Raja Jambu Lochan who also laid the foundation of the city of Jammu during his reign. But, it wasn’t just its historical significance that made me choose the fort among other options. A long time ago, Bahu Fort was a lonesome castle on a mountaintop. Its sculptures had weathered into the texture of its walls and people rarely came in its vicinity. And somehow I could relate to all this—I was weathering in life while moving aimlessly; I too was lonely.
But when I visited Bahu Fort that day, I was in for a surprise. The once deserted castle had become one of the most visited heritage sites in North India. Its walls were renewed with sandstone, lime, brick, and mortar. The sculptures too were restored to their original grandeur. Around the fort was a terrace garden with fountains and plantations at every corner. From a distance, the castle seemed alive as if it was looking back at me, inviting me to its proximity. With a smile on my face and joy in the heart, I started to climb the steps. Seeing a transformed Bahu Fort made me realise that perhaps fate is not decided by the reflection of one’s past, but by the foresight of one’s future. And even though, I was taking my time to enjoy every moment, I felt like I was driving a blue pickup truck on a long road with nothing but opportunities ahead of me.