Update for week ended 3 December 2010
The air was rare – heady to say the least. Krish Pingle was already feely woozy in the zig-zag bus ride and at times felt his head swimming. He was not sure whether it was because he skipped breakfast and was heading into hypo-glycaemia, or was it the sharp turns in the jeep that made his head spin, or was it the deep valleys that cut along the roadside that made him feel like a famous Alfred Hitchcock character who was scared of even a barstool’s height. Perhaps it was the rare air, with only about 70% oxygen when compared to levels he was used to in his hometown, Mumbai or even his workplace city of Delhi. But as the altitude rose, the winds blew harder, it was difficult to even hear the rattling drone of the diesel jeep engine, of-course the thick faux-fur monkey cap added to the muffles; and the temperatures were bitingly cold; and the sky was more azure than even the electric blue gown that the People’s Princess wore for her engagement. Breath-takingly beautiful was all Krish could contemplate. The clear mountain air also made the sun glisten brighter than Krish was used to. But he did not have to fish out his sunglasses, they were already on. Krish never got out of his house, office, shopping mall, or any place without putting on his glasses – even if it was a dash from his cab to the office. Sensitive eyes was all he gave as an excuse (I for one bought it, reluctantly). But the mountain was not only about rugged rocky slopes towering into the blue heavens. It was also of the glaciers covering it graciously; white, pristine and patient. There were wisps of clouds above, perhaps rebels from their cloudy brethren a few thousand feet below. As Krish stepped out of the jeep, his feet crushing the stones on the ground, limestone-white, and although he longed to stretch, he instinctively held his jacket closely and looked around. Wow, what a feeling to be at a place close to heaven – even higher than the Everest Base Camp. The lake that had formed from the melting glacier in the past summer had already frozen a few feet deep. The light ripples that got caught in time were still visible. If this had been a still photograph, Krish would have been mistaken that the lake was lightly rippling, but since he was here in person hardly able to stand straight because of the windy and cold conditions, he knew that the ice was real. However, he was really shocked to see the edge of the pool, not very far from where he stood, where the water actually rippled and lapped up lightly onto the shore. Sub-zero degrees Celsius and yet liquid H2O – this was a miracle! He went closer to the water and bent down to take a closer look. The jeep driver had caught up with him, who explained that this was a revered spot. One where a sage from the past who was locally referred to as Rinpoche, had taken a dip and the water never froze here, ever. Krish was stunned as he dipped his fingers into the water and reverently splashed a few drops on his head, with his eyes closed. He then folded his hands in prayer at this out-of-the-world experience.
The week was made of heady moves. The D Street Boyz did not know what made them feel the way it did – but when they almost felt vertigo hitting them on Monday (when they fell with their SENSEX in tow), they recovered thereafter and could not stop the SENSEX climbing peaks that they wanted to explore. Its moves were like a mountain range – with ups and downs and ups – but the bias in one direction – upwards. Some people say that the cold wave in Europe that put out fires in far off Ireland cooled fiery tempers and thoughts, while cold wars returning to an East Asian peninsula (near Japan) just helped freeze it further, giving the sempblance of cold but majestic mountain peaks. Whatever the reason, the Indian D Boyz enjoyed the mountainous peaks on D Street until they reached the mountain lake – frozen all along (today). They put on their skates and were busy skimming or skating the surface until at the end of the shore, one of them fell through thin ice into the 25 degree farenheit frigid waters… and the SENSEX dropped 25 points today to end at 19967. Overall a 3% rise since last week.
Krish’s shivering fingers felt numb as he pulled out the camera in his pocket. He fumbled with it, but still managed to capture some of the most spectacular sights for posterity and sharing. He knew that he could not capture what his eyes saw – despite the expensive dark glasses he wore, but he still wanted to bring back memories of this wonderful trip and out-of-the-world experience. He had been to the Eastern Himalayas a couple of times, and had even travelled through India’s highest mountain pass, higher than the oft visited and full of honeymooners Rohtang, but this lake was ethereal or was it surreal? His next trip will perhaps be to the rivers that flow out of these majestic peaks – who knows, maybe he will head to Haridwar or Rishikesh… going by his reverent bent of mind.
Have a nice weekend, as winter sets in into many part of the northern hemisphere – Mumbai is still warm, but the mornings and nights are comfortable.