Tuesday, February 12, 2008

That Eternal Lightness of Being

Kumara Parvatha
Supposedly the toughest trek in Karnataka.
With its strenuous paths and scenic panoramas.
Being one with nature.
Trekking in the wilderness.
A walk in the clouds.
A touch of heaven.
That Eternal Lightness of Being.
That's what its all about.
That Eternal Lightness of Being.

"Aren't y'all feeling any pressure. When do we go ?", rhetoric found its way of repeating itself. "Well its not a social event you know!", rational found its way of repeating rhetoric. And so hours passed as rational followed rhetoric only to be overwhelmed by steep inclines, thick forests, dangerous ridges, tricky 45-60 degree inclined flat rock faces, torn pants and altered egos. Armed with food rations, energy drinks, tents, sleeping bags, we bravely stood the test of time as we marched ahead with our heads intact. As we sat down for lunch just above one of the many flat rock faces, we reminisced about our exploits as someone exclaimed, "Life haat me aah gayi thi!". Just then you heard the cacophony of little children as they swarmed the rock face and ran up. The altered egos look at each other and proclaim, "Children!", which taking into consideration the angle of tilt and the orientation of the stars would mean, 'Children!', which taking into consideration altered egos would mean, 'If we were their age and as light as them we would have done the same'. But alas, to rub salt into our injuries, two ladies appeared; the teachers of those little children, dressed in salwar kameez. Bare foot, they climbed it with such easy so as to make someone exclaim, "Aren't y'all feeling any pressure. When do we go ?". And so rational followed rhetoric only to be overwhelmed by steep inclines, thick forests, dangerous ridges, tricky 45-60 degree inclined flat rock faces and so on.

People became overtly courteous on the way up as each one carried atleast 5-6 liters of water. Some were duped into carrying 8 liters! "Please allow me to share my water with you. Please drink from my bottle". "No, No, please allow me". Loads were redistributed though shrewd marketing gimmicks and pompous talk.

After reaching the top in 5-6 hours, we set up our tents and savored a well deserved nap only to wake up around 4:30-5:00 PM to find that our visibility extended till about 4-5 feet. And then it happened; rhetoric found its true calling. Proclamations were made, directions were pointed to and legs were set in motion. And so our lone ranger walked the walk, as he disappeared into the clouds. They say life goes round circle, as he headed out north of the camp, pre-empted that move, urged by a dramatic paradigm shift taking the clouds into account. Well either that urge or that other dramatic urge to purge. Time passed the way time usually passes and then all of a sudden the northern winds blew a bit harder and carried away the clouds with them; visibility being restored to the refractions over the horizon. And there he was to the south, perched on a rock, with very few bushes around, just 25-30 feet away from our tents! A 100 meters dash in squatting position will not win you a gold at the olympics, but after all its not all about winning or losing but about how well you play the game.

After a wholesome supper, the chilly winds drove us inside our tents and we slept like logs. I awoke in yet another pre-dawn as the canvas in front of me started to take form. I sat on a rock as random thoughts began to form patterns as I set out on my path to attain nirvana. Seconds turned to minutes as chilly winds tried to carve my body, mind and soul. Realizations took shape as I learn't that I had packed shaving cream instead of toothpaste! And then finally it happened; that calling from beyond, that calling from nature; like a baby that has made up its mind; when you have to go, you have to go. And so finally I had to go; the essentials in hand, I walked the walk as my silhouette vaporised into the clouds. I found a spot and began proceedings. Its weird how you notice nature and your surroundings as you make acquaintances with a little red beetle, all in the quest for that eternal lightness of being. The conversation however is short lived, as you realize that you are running out of resources. Out there in the wilderness there is no tech support to solve your issue du jour and so you stare at the bottle and wonder if its half full or half empty; setting out on yet another philosophical journey and with the residual air in your lungs you exhale, "oh shit!".

And legend has it that almost everyone attained that eternal lightness of being in their own way.

Jab hum winner honge!


Sudhanshu said...

Good one, I have question on the caption
"Jab hum winner honge", is the competition with himself ? or was there some uphill community competition in which this winner wanted to win ??

Alistair D'souza said...

"higher, faster, stronger", like the motto of the olympics... its not about winning or losing, its ho you played the game... and in the end we were all winners...

vah vah vah vah.... taaliya....

derby said...

Man! It's fun to read this stuff and remember that trek after such a long time! Addi's antics on this trek though will make sure that this one will never be forgotten :)