A brief interlude between Day 2 and 3 for a ramble….about My Rock.
Sometimes I wonder if I was born a few centuries too late. I wonder how incredibly adventurous life would have been back then, when there were still mysteries to be solved and the world was still getting mapped with places far and beyond yet to be discovered. Has knowledge and technology, that we have mastered over the years, liberated us or is it slowly binding us in its deathly grip to make slaves out of us in the future? With all the comforts of a modern day life, I wonder if mankind feels more alive today than say a century ago.
I know it’s one of those silly thoughts; of the kind that sometimes creep into our mind when we are too bored with what we are doing in the name of work. And unless you are a student of philosophy or looking to direct a science fiction movie, it might not be well worth spending your time ruminating over something as abstract as this. It’s probably best for you to take that cold shower and then re-focus your energies on the tasks at hand.
But…it’s different when the same thought crosses your mind when you are trekking and discover yourself in a state where your heart feels like it’s bursting at the seams with joy that cannot be attributed to anything in particular. Moments like these are always sudden strikes. You really cannot anticipate it in any way. It could strike you; when you are walking in a valley and when you lift your head to catch the first glimpse of the mighty Himalayas, or when you stand on top of a peak with just nothingness for company and watch the sun trickle down the horizon, or when you climb a Rock….
I had arrived at Nichnai camping ground a little earlier than the rest of the gang and for a while it was just the Rock and me. I had seen it looming large in the horizon, as I followed the difficult rocky trail leading us to the camping site but didn’t quite expect it to be this big. Maybe it wasn’t the biggest boulder that we came across today but there it was; a tad out of place in that patch of green grass and looking….can we say that a ‘Rock’ looked lonely? But, that’s the only adjective that struck my mind when I walked to its side for a closer look. It was majestic no doubt about it but I somehow felt that the Rock was not where it was meant to be or rather it was not where it wanted to be.
Laughing at my own train of thoughts, I wonder if I was getting hit with high altitude sickness (crazy thoughts running through your mind is supposedly one of the symptoms). I look back and see if anyone else has made it to the camp but the only person I see is a speck in the horizon and almost a mile away.
I walk around the Rock- just one of that random desultory thing you do when you have nothing to do. I put my hand out, feel its craggy edges and that is when… I could feel its pull. It was almost as if it was reaching out to me and shaking its hand. I stop and ponder if I should have been on that dose of Diamox (a preventive medication for high altitude sickness) that Indiahikes aggressively advises the trekkers to follow. But I end up taking my other hand out from my pocket and start looking out for more craggy edges that I could use as holds to climb the Rock. I find two edges in which I could lock the fingers of both my hands but I couldn’t lift myself up as there wasn’t any foothold on that face. I circle around once again looking to see if there was another face of this Rock that was easier to climb. I find one with some outgrowth of shrubs and I grab them to see if it can hold my weight but I only end up falling with a thump on the ground. I walk a few steps back and take one good look at the Rock . It doesn’t seem so lonely anymore. It looks almost cheerful now. I am sure that it was enjoying my frustration.
I walk towards it once again and this time with a purpose – of somehow climbing this damn Rock!
I had to circle it twice to find another craggy edge. This one was slightly hidden by a protruding overhang and if I could just manage to pull myself up past the overhang it should be possible for me to climb to the top. Now, trekking shoes, sturdy as they are while walking, are definitely not meant for Rock climbing. I realized this fact the hard way! It cost me a few (slight) bruises but I was able to pull myself past the overhang and then into the craggy edge which leads me finally to the top of the Rock.
The top was a vantage point!
I was a good 30 ft above the ground and I could see the mountain brook snaking its way down the valley. There was also this cool breeze that was blowing only up here. The top of the Rock surprisingly also had a place carved like a bucket seat where I could lie down comfortably and stretch my legs.
I close my eyes and enjoy the peace of this natural Rockuzzi, not water but a cool breeze acting as the relaxant. It was then that I wonder how it would have been to live in those great times ? – centuries ago when discovery was not a chance but a daily affair. And you know what they say about the Himalayas – it not just makes you ask yourself crazy questions but also gives answers that make sense – The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. – Marcel Proust.
And yes if Dave can have his lake…
… I can have My Rock too. 🙂