Saturday, September 25, 2010

My encounter with The Mountain God

Hii folks,

Well after a long while, its good to be back to what I like doing when I am free - Blogging. At this juncture I would like to mention about one of my classmates here in WIMWI who is one of the very few following my posts here. I have felt good whenever he has appreciated my posts; well who doesn't like an encouraging pat on the back!! A few days back he had asked me to write about my experiences about Shodhyatra - the tour to Uttarakhand we undertook a few days back this month. Well here I am with my thoughts and ramblings.

To begin with, I have always been an avid traveler and so was very excited about this trip, especially so because I was about to trek in the Himalayas. As someone who has always loved nature for its diversity, this was one opportunity which I was never going to miss. For once, it was a great relief to be away from the hullabaloo of the city and spend some time amidst the huge majestic mountains. As dramatic as it may sound but the roads, rivers and the mountains there always seem to have a message for you. Each moment you spend there is uncertain. In one of the review sessions we had with our professor there, one of my colleagues said that dangers can be avoided by embracing certainty. I disagree for there is no such thing as certainty. For me dangerous events can only be made less uncertain. The Himalayas is an epitome of modesty and humbleness but that doesn't make it less powerful. It does remind us constantly that we need to respect its strength and power. Why do you think landslides and earthquakes are a common phenomenon there? And why do you think even the scientists can't predict when and where exactly the landslides/earthquakes would occur?

I was looking forward to have a glimpse of some of the rare and endangered species like the Musk Deer and Snow Leopard. But given our itinerary, that didn't happen. On our way to Ghangria and then further to the Valley of Flowers, we were told to watch out for the majestic Tiger. Though the Tigers here are not man eaters, but nevertheless there was a mix of both fear and excitement which made me extra careful while trekking. Though we couldn't spot them amidst the thick woods, I am sure at least a tiger or two was keeping track of our proceedings (might sound very lame!!). Well my camera was finally very happy, especially after the ghastly trip to the manhole worker settlements a few days before Shodhyatra. The scenic beauty there is absolutely a photographer's delight and for the photographer me, the trip couldn't have been more satisfying.

Uttarakhand is one of the few states where access to basic primary education is available to the masses with the literacy rate being well above the national average. And with about two-thirds of the landscape there under the forest cover, you needn't think twice before going there for a well deserved holiday. The people there are extremely proud of their heritage and rightfully should be. 'Poverty' simply doesn't have an existence though people do struggle to sustain their livelihood. But people out there, especially the womenfolk seem to endure physical pain effortlessly. Science reasons that these people have a greater RBC count than us, but the fact is only the fittest can survive and so these people struggled to survive and in the process physically adapted themselves to the surroundings.

But amidst all this excitement and happiness, there were quite a few things which bothered me. I was lying by the rivulet in the Valley of Flowers surrounded by the mystical mountains covered with clouds and then.....

My conversation with The Mountain God (TMG)

TMG: So what brings you to this place, human?

Me: Who are you?

TMG: I am the mountain god, the caretaker of the Himalayas and all that is part of it.

Me: Do you exist?

TMG: Well, you humans certainly have this habit of overlooking the obvious. No wonder, I am constantly being reprimanded by Mother Nature for not being strict enough.

Me: Strict enough with whom?

TMG: You big time dumbo, who else would I be strict with? Strict with mankind, who is hell bent on inflicting damages on us.

Me: Oh, now I got you. But we are doing our best to be good with you guys. Aren't you seeing how we have set up national parks and biosphere reserves?

TMG: Whats the use of addressing the symptoms when you are not addressing the core problem?

Me: And may I know what is the core problem?

TMG: The core problem is the way educated fellas like you are spending money on buying fur overcoats and leather jackets and belts when you can very well spend the same money on buying a few plants or raising a small garden!! You guys just don't respect Mother Nature

Me: But we work very hard to earn money. Don't we have the right to enjoy and splurge some on ourselves?

TMG: Look human, you are not a small kid anymore. You very well realise the fallacy of your argument and so stop making a fool out of yourself. You have come to enjoy the beauty and so do that.

Me: Sorry, but why are you talking to me? Why am I able to see you?

TMG: Well, don't think you are special just because I am talking with you. I was only looking out for a human and its just a coincidence that I found you sitting here besides the rivulet.

Me: Hmmm, is there something special you want to convey to me?

TMG: Yeah, there is a message which I want you to convey to your friends and everyone else you know.

Me: Yeah sure, so what is the message?

TMG: Well, the message is "Mother Nature - Best before 2050".

Me: Which means...?

TMG: This means that at the current rate at which you humans are adding Carbon to the atmosphere, you will kill Mother Nature in the year 2050.

Me: Oh my god!! What should we do then to prevent this?

TMG: Don't you know what you guys should do to prevent this?

Me: I am sorry. Yeah we do know, but as you said we humans have this bad habit of overlooking the obvious.

TMG: Thank Mother Nature, you realise this. Ok, then I have got to go and soothe my crying (melting) sister 'Gangotri'.

Me: ???? (Confused)

TMG: You indeed are a big dumbo!! Bye and do convey my message.

Me(Thinking to himself): No, we humans are indeed a big dumbo species!!

Just now, I received the latest issue of Forbes India magazine whose title reads "Greed is Back". When was Greed gone anyways??