The Paradox of Our Age
We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines but less healthiness.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbour.
We built more computers to hold more copies than ever,
But have less real communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall man but short characters;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window
But nothing in the room.
I guess no one has captured in words the paradox of our age as succintly as the great Dalai Lama in his above profound words.
Trekking in that sense helps me render a balance to my life. I can lead a perfectly city-corporate-life yet breakaway and go back in age when I am in the wilderness of the mountains. It helps one in rediscovering man’s eternal bond with nature and trekking in a group I realize now has its own subtle charms. Your interaction goes beyond those impersonal yet InYourFace-Book status updates. One soon realizes that those modern day short bursts of 160 character exchanges can never match up to joy that comes with the hours spent in rapturous storytelling sitting by the campfire.
It’s the last day of the trek today and what an incredible week it has been so far! From the enchanting golden meadows of Sonamarg to the Independence Day Horror to witnessing Jannat in the pristine lakes, valley of flowers and the wilderness of Kashmir, it has indeed been a journey into Paradise.
As the rest of the gang snuggle deeper inside their sleeping bags, I decide to savor the last morning of the trek by taking a short hike up the hill and see if I can get lucky in catching a sunrise.
For a change, it is not the background landscape and the high rise mountains that mesmerize me. After a short climb up the hill from our campsite, I land up at a place where the horses have been left for grazing and as the dawn breaks through the night, the silhouettes of these magnificent beasts against the backdrop of the Himalayas leaves me transfixed.
To savor this amazing moment, I have for company a raven whose antics in the storybook setting make him seem to have flown straight out of one of the books from the Game of the Thrones series.
I bask in the early morning rays of the sun and enjoy the spectacle that embraces me with a range of emotions; contentment, bemusement, gratefulness, belongingness….and all in one silent lucidity.
With beaming smile I head down towards the camp and greet my fellow members of the gang Good Morning (our last of the trek!). The scenery at the other side, with the rays of the sun kissing our tents and then shimmering past the waters of the Gangabal lake to finally rise and engulf the Harmukh peak in a warm embrace, was also a sight to behold!
We linger on and delay the packing of our backpacks and tents. Perhaps, none of us actually wanted to leave this place…Perhaps we were hoping for a Pause button in this time wrap.
Today from Gangabal (11500ft) we head towards Naranag (7450ft), our destination back to civilization. The 4000 feet drop in altitude would mean that we had quite a day of killer descent to look forward to. We walk along the ridge and in about an hour or so we hit a green beautiful patch of meadow-land where the linger on fever hits us again! And this around the whole gang seems affected as none of us seem too keen to head back towards civilization.
I know that I shouldn’t be feeling so bad as unlike the rest of the gang, I still had three whole months of backpacking across the Himalayas to look forward to but the feeling of sadness that engulfs one when an incredible journey is nearing it’s end is slowly creeping on me too.
But when the trek itself had been so eventful how could it ever climax without one final drama…one final twist in the tale?