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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Through a looking glass.

I spent the last week in Ladakh.It's a mountainous region nestled in between India, China and Pakistan.This is one of the Indian regions where there is a significant military presence. However,the locals boast of its complacent atmosphere and are inspiringly patriotic. Many of them have relatives and friends in the army and are staunchly proud to be the guardians at the confluence.

The land here is creased and weathered, much like the faces of its inhabitants.The mountains don't have trees and are painted in hues of browns and reds.The atmosphere is clear,but harsh.When the sun shines,the air radiates with an arid heat that permeates into every molecule . When it cools down, the weather is as fickle as the rains in Bangalore.It may snow at any given point.The mountains don't follow the seasons.

The people seem to compensate for the harsh environment of the mountains.Most of the people here survive on just enough.What is "just enough"? Warm clothes,three square meals, and a roof seem to do the trick.

I met a  boy named Dorje.With sunburned cheeks and a carefree grin,he didn't really talk much.He was playing cricket, just like any other boy in India would.However, he was playing by himself.Luxuries like neighbors don't come often with the privilege of living at the roof of the world. He was staying at Pangong lake and the nearest school was 2 hours away. I watched him, swinging his bat, dreaming the big dreams that little children have.Unfortunately, he ended up losing the ball in a nearby pond. I saw him cry and wail, his heartrending sobs echoing as his elder brother, unsuccessfully, tried to fish his precious companion out of the pond. He would have to drive 6 hours to buy a ball.

There are no postboxes up here.The folk here are content to live and simply be.They know of mountains, not buildings.They tend to their plants and their animals and they stock up for the winter.They live life the way it was meant to be lived.

I admire them and I wish I was able to live like them. I do not know if I could.
6 hours to the nearest store. 6 hours.