Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scrambles on China Peak.




The lodge manager assured us that we could see China from China Peak. I wondered how did China look like, in case we saw it and how would we know that we were seeing China and not something else. And what was so fascinating about China that my father was willing to sacrifice morning sleep, siesta and two sumptuous meals and climb several hours in early dawn to the top of the eponymous peak! There is never an easy answer to an obvious question was what I learnt that fateful April day. Unbeknownst to me, my father had already hired a pony for the climb. We got up around 3 am and found the pony chewing fodder without a concern. We walked along with the pony man around the lake and father mounted when the trail started climbing. Thus our caravan progressed upwards-- father straddling the pony, the pony man holding the leash and I bringing up the rear in a trot. Though the path was steep I managed to keep pace. We roused birds en route. Ever so slowly the eastern sky turned crimson. After three hours, we finally made it to the top to discover the morning sun punctuating the horizon with myriad hues of orange. While the pony man ambled away, the duo of father and son stood transfixed at the dazzling array of ice clad peaks, row after row, being bathed by the rising sun rays. As the sun rose, the tip of the summit would blush, and as the sun rose further, the golden glow traveled down as if the heavens poured molten gold from above. Something unimaginable, enormously beautiful and entirely incomprehensible was happening right in front of my eyes. Father pointed at the distant peaks and said, ‘this is the Himalaya, the mightiest mountain range in the world. It safeguards us from the North and it gives us our rivers. Without the Himalaya, we wouldn’t exist’.
Even at that early age, I realized that what I witnessed was far beyond the realm of man or reality as we understand. It could only be the handiwork and design of someone far superior and exalted. It was my first brush with divinity. I do not know what gripped my imagination at that moment or why I blurted, ‘one day I will climb them.’
Towering high above me, father patted me indulgently on my head and we retraced our path to our lodge in complete silence. Both of us submerged into what we had just witnessed. It only occurred to me when we returned back home that we had not seen China, or if we had, father never bothered to point it out. Thus initiated to the high Himalayan vista, I started serious climbing from the age of ten and over the last three decades have climbed mountains of all shapes and sizes across the globe.

3 comments:

  1. You would cease to exist without the Himalayas'!

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  2. I am from Nainital. And my parents took me to the top of China Peak with the same story too! But once we were up there, with the lake nestled like a little bean way down below, it somehow did not matter that it was cold and cloudy and who cared if we saw China. What mattered was we had climbed up.
    Just started reading your blog- Raj sent me the link- was reading about Mallory.

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  3. Something unimaginable and breathtaking has happened in my life since you walked into it :-)

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