musings, travel

Aurora in the sky

A story that I have been yearning to tell.

We started off from La Rochelle. Took the train to Paris. Waited. Took the long bus ride to the airport. Flew to Oslo. Waited. Took the train to Stockholm. Continued to Kiruna. Hold on, wait. Power cut in between, meant a change of train in the middle of the night after a lot of hassle.

Bus, train, flight, walk. Two days of pure travel.

Many times during our journey we wondered if all this was going to be worth it. We doubted, seriously doubted, cursed the plan, calculated the opportunity cost in terms of money, energy and time and even contemplated detour- all somewhere inside our heads. A tiny hope kept pulling us back to our plan, to making jokes and small talks on everything else and keeping our attention consciously away from these thoughts.

We settled in our hostel by late evening. I don’t know if the room was actually that cozy or the price we paid for the room (multiplied by the exchange rate), really made me want to believe it was. Anyways, we got out our drinks and burgers.

Then came a phone call, “Did you see it? I can see it right from the terrace of my hostel!”

Half dazed, I yelled, “It’s happening now! Guys!”

The sky was going to shine for a moment or glow throughout the night. I was going to witness heaven or miss it by a jiffy.

We rushed out with our cameras and coats. After five minutes of running and almost tripping on the streets we saw it, a stray ray of green light which seemed like a crack in the land of the sky and streams of such rays filled the sky as we reached a secluded hillock.

When I saw it, I knew it was going to be a special memory in my mind. That view would be beautiful forever. But, It was very beautiful at first. A strange dash of gleaming color filling the sky, something I had never seen before. I had heard it’s the dream of people to see it just once in their lifetime.

In retrospect, it is just another light, like sunlight, only one which you might have not seen before.  What made that moment precious for me, was the fight we had put in to reach there. The faith we put in our luck and in God. Yes, God. Because while we were on our way, every step, every penny spent was spent somewhat halfheartedly. The fear of the futility of all this investment lurked in our minds, but we simply placed all our faith in God. It would mean so much if we did get to see the northern lights and be so very disappointing if we didn’t. As though God knew this, and He smiled on us. Maybe, we can extend this to fit into the larger schemes of our life? 🙂

When we thought that the power outage was so inconvenient, we found that the authorities were so apologetic that they made it up with spectacular first class train seats in the next train.

When doubts about the plan were clouding my mind, I witnessed the most mesmerizing view of a chain of huge snow clad mountains by a half- frozen lake. I saw snow for the first time off- screen.

When I thought aurora borealis is for geography textbooks and for dreamers. When the “Aurora buddy” app showed a bad prediction, I saw it happening. For two nights in a row.

Yet, it is just a light in the sky. Humble too, as the locals of Sweden were busy watching TV as it happened outside.

So how do I make this relevant? I refuse to let it be a mere memory! Maybe it could be a lesson that stays with me.

I know how- whenever the skies are dark, when uncertainty colors it with grey. I have learnt to look up and smile. You never know when you will see an Aurora in the sky. But I know you can, because I have. And they say, the darker the sky, the brighter the light shines.

A picture for you, if you don’t believe me. 🙂


And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
“Still believe in magic?”
Well yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Of course I do.”

Lyrics: Magic by Coldplay


2 thoughts on “Aurora in the sky”

  1. People ask me why do you struggle, pant and sweat so much to trek to the peak. What is it about, when all the mountains look alike. What do you go there when there is absolutely nothing. I have failed to explain and have given up on them. It’s the EXPERIENCE. It’s about those smaller things like Aurora, clouds, lake, snow capped mountain view, etc that I enjoy. Well written!


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