My first encounter with Everest

img_1789-3I remember my first sighting of Everest so vividly, even though I’m writing this after a few months. That morning we started from Namche towards Tengbouche and after the short climb out of Namche and onto the main hill about 1 hour into the trek, we spotted Everest. There she was – in reality and not dreams, with her pyramidal top smoking!

It was an overwhelming moment for me. Never in my dreams or my growing years had I ever imagined, I’d see this Goddess of a mountain in reality. Yes, she inspired awe even when I had read about her in my geography text books, but I had never thought I’d witness her grandeur in person. Even when I had signed up for the trek (more to give company to my husband who was keen on undertaking the trek), I’d never once thought of the summit and maybe that’s why this sudden vision was so important, this moment so big!

It was an amazing sight. There at a distance, across a few hills, stood the world’s tallest mountain. She had inspired so many climbers in such different ways. Far, yet so near (as never before). It took me a moment to realise the enormity of this moment. And she looked beautiful, there behind the Lhotse peak, with her unmistakable pyramid peak. Adding to her beauty was the stream of clouds that gave her the look of having a smoking top – almost like a mountain alive, beckoning us into her folds. Just like a house with a smoking chimney beckons to weary travellers in the cold.

As I stood there looking upon her reverentially, I felt grateful to fate for having brought me here to experience this moment. I think this moment was as big for me as the moment I reached EBC (about which I have talked in a previous blog, that you can read here). She was something to be astounded by. At a height of 29,029 ft where airplanes fly, she stood tall overlooking the world. Solitary yet strong with jet winds for company for years and years to come.

Here’s an impromptu poem that’s just gushing out on its own –

I stand here now, as I have been for years, centuries.
Towering above the world, with only a few friends for company – Lhotse, Nuptse, Choy-yu & Makalu.
Solitary and strong with jet winds for company, while sometimes silent in pure contemplation.
The blue skies, sun and moon shining their light on me,
By the day I’m a brilliant ring leader with swirling clouds that dance around; or storms that rage and astound.
By night, I transform into a magical, glittering phantasmal beauty, with a veil of stars on my head.
I look down upon those who come into my folds, for them the future is untold.
But it is I who know and decide, who’ll perish and who shall stand on the roof of the world.

 ————————————————————–

If any of you can take 15 days off from your busy schedules, the EBC trek is worth undertaking. For me, it was the start of my love affair with mountains and hills; a different way of life for sure. My holidays are mostly treks as against the touristy ones I only did earlier. I’m fitter, more in touch with nature and spirituality I think.  Life beckoned and I heard it 🙂

 

 

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Love like Children

Children see positivity in everything. No emotion is coloured by negative thoughts nor is an action judged as motivated and questioned . It’s beautiful to witness this purity of thought. When one brings another a toy or a sweet; they accept it readily and lovingly. And then we grow up and there comes about a change. Where, when and how, I don’t know. Maybe we are taught at times to be wary of people, to not accept gifts from others without reason, not to be too trusting and loving – because we fear being hurt. But what love is that where you haven’t invested enough emotionally, so you aren’t scarred even a bit when things don’t work out?

We move away from home for higher education and then our jobs. How we forget those who once were essential to our existence. I know of people who don’t get to see their parents for years. It’s so easy to forget and be ungrateful. Then there are relatives we loved as children. We played with those uncles and aunts. Then comes a time when we drift apart. There are times when we meet briefly and when we do, we use our minds to judge them, we start looking for changes, we start questioning motives. We’re suspicious when people are nice to us! Why can’t our thoughts be pure. Why can’t we love them as we did when we were children? Let’s teach ourselves to be more trusting, loving and giving especially to the people who loved us once but are far away now.

I remember my maternal great grandmother who I loved as a child. She lived with us for a couple of years and went back to our native place later. She’d tell us magical stories, give us food and love. I even remember her piercing my ears and then attending to the wound until it healed. Didn’t see much of her later as I grew up. We’d go to our native place only for the summer vacation. Those couple of months were wonderful though and she’d shower us with affection. She passed away quite a few years back and I couldn’t see her before that. I had heard she’d become totally blind a couple of years before her death. I regret not having made the trip to see her. To have been around and near her. To have told her that I loved her and that she had made my childhood years special.

Intricacy = magic

Kandarpa Hathi Home

This Patachitra painting was done by an artist on the broad guidelines that I wanted a black and white kandarpa Hathi. In Hindu mythology, the kandarpa hathi means the erotic vehicle of love (the elephant – the hathi) that the Gopis (female cowherds) make during raasleela with Lord Krishna. You can read more about the Kandarpa theme and feast your eyes of some more such works here

Anyway, back to the painting. When she (the artist) finally finished it and handed it over to me, I was pleased with it; however, what I wasn’t prepared for was my continuing delight with it as time progressed. Every time I would gaze at the painting, I would discover something new in it. At first it was the pleated hair on the last Gopi making the elephant’s tail, then it was the ‘odhani'(scarf) of the gopi forming the head of the elephant. Then how the Gopis interlocked in each others embrace – they seemed happy and non competing – in some sort of a trance, dancing & swaying to some unearthly music only heard by them. In fact, mythology has it that during the rasleelas each gopi felt Krishna was dancing only beside her.

Look at the painting closely. The temple structure, the pillars and the double border of the painting -isn’t there so much beauty in the details that it’s magical? Can you spot more stories in this painting? Would love to hear about it. 🙂

 

 

Let’s Face it

Ayuthhaya 1
Photo taken at Ayutthaya, Bangkok 

People don’t disbelieve me when I tell them that I visited Ayutthaya, the erstwhile capital of Thailand only after I saw a picture of Buddha’s face mired by these roots in a travel brochure. Here’s my very own picture of the same spot. Isn’t it mesmerizing?

Apparently, when the temples there were damaged due to the Burmese attack on Ayutthaya somewhere in the 16th century, a lot of statues were destroyed and somehow this head came to rest between the roots of this Banyan tree and has been there since. Ayuthaya (which is a World Heritage site) is a must visit if you are travelling to Thailand.

Post in response to the photo challenge – Face

Scratch the surface

IMG_20160719_123932 (2)Scratch the surface –
What am I on the surface?
What am I a little further down? How do I know that?
When I’m angered, put in a discomforting situation, how do I react?
What are my secrets? What do they tell about me?
Am I always me or do I sometimes put up an act?

Layers of human nature
Oh so many of them,
Outwardly, my face with make-up,
my behaviour in society and inside my home,
further inwards within myself – my fears, my jealousies, my loves – all concealed.

So many emotions – that of anger and confusion,
Of greed and jealousy, and sometimes of loneliness.
But I choose not to show. I try and hide it beneath layers of work & play.
I love you but not totally. I love you because of my guilt, my compulsions, my duties.

Layers of make up – why do I need it? Am I not pretty enough?
Do I need to conceal my flaws?
Flaws, says who? A sprinkling of freckles, a distribution of moles & warts;
Why can’t I show the world who I am, I retort.
My true face, my true self? This is how I am without the sheath,
Does my face really matter? Or does the person/soul underneath?
Why have the perfect nose or the perfect pout? Why not the slim line that I have for a mouth?
Does it betray my rigidity? Why betray and conceal?
Why not change it? Smile a little and appeal.
But the truth is prettiness is loved and liked. Beauty of the body is.
So I will try to fit the norm.
Conceal and change it until I know not who I am.
Fear drives me.

When will I be able to break through these layers & breathe out fully, deeply and to my heart’s content.
When will I live on the surface, to show my true emotions and not be ashamed of them.

Written in response to the Daily post challenge –  Layers

 

Mother knows best

 

Mother & child applique (2)

‘Be independent, no matter what’ – This is what my mom once told me and it has stayed with me since then. I know there’s now no novelty in this piece of advice but the first time that someone hears and absorbs it, it registers as important.

She belongs to another generation where women did not have the freedom they have today. Not many were educated and most were confined to their homes and activities of cooking, cleaning ,sewing etc. My mom chose to work after her marriage to my dad. My dad also had humble beginnings but what characterizes him is his broad-mindedness. His determination to build a better life for himself and others. I know my mother’s income also helped things move along at home, but that wasn’t the reason she worked. She worked because she didn’t want to be dependent on others for anything. Be it on my dad for finances to run the house, or to buy that piece of jewellery she liked or go out somewhere or organise transportation or anything for that matter. She told me a story of how once she waited for my dad to send the car to her for an errand she had to make. The car didn’t come on time and she got delayed, frustrated that the work wasn’t done and that lead to her taking a pledge of being independent no matter what. She ventured out more and more – took buses and trains, travelled on her own, bought what she liked (sensibly of course) and things were so much better. Not just for her but for my dad as well.

I wish all women understand this. That somewhere love becomes tinged with contrary emotions if we do not have the capability to fend for ourselves. We feel tied down (physically & emotionally) and possibly let down if we are not independent.

Make life happy by living freely and by giving yourself that freedom – Become independent.