Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Himalayan connect

“Where can one have such a joy as when the sun is upon the Himalayas, when the blue is more intense than sapphires. Then from the far distance the glaciers glitter   as incomparable gems. All religions, all teachings are synthesized in Himalayas.”
- Nicholas Roerich

As I am gearing up to go to my annual Himalayan trek for the 5th time, I began to reflect.I wonder how I turned into such a seasoned trekker !

I still remember the ‘give up’ instinct in me when I didn’t want to walk myself in Srisailam forest area where I joined my husband who was on an official trek there.
I thought I did myself well by walking 4 kms and refused to walk an inch further although it was just another 4kms. My mind told me ‘give up’. I didn’t mind staying back alone in the forest area where wild animals and naxals dwell – but walk-no more! I just didn’t have it in me.
For the first time I noticed how I allow the  ‘no’ voice within me to influence me.           I returned from that trek with a nagging question in my mind, why do I allow the ‘NO’ ?
Consistent conversations with myself and conscious efforts helped me to overcome the undesirable ‘no’. A few books, experiences and time strengthened my will to say no to no.

My first willing mission to trek was at Gwalior. Although short, it revealed to me that more than my body, my mind was restraining me to walk.
David Scott’s Trail at Shillong was my second trek. 18 kms from Shillong to cherrapunjee through the hills and valleys ! Enchanting sceneries and the energetic weather encouraged me to walk with spirit in every step.

I have done this trek 5 times during our stay at Shillong. Many short treks in the serene hills of Meghalaya stoked the fire in me. I am a trekker.
May 2009, my first Himalayan trek. 11500 ft was the target. With a mixed group of children, colleagues, friends and strangers I began the trek from the base camp at Hanuman Chatti. The ‘no’ in me was snubbed because I had to help my students to curb their ‘no’ . There’s no way I can become weak before them.

On the third day of the trek when we were to reach the highest point, it began to rain. Wet and frozen, feeling lost and numb, we walked nearly 3 kms. I can still recall how feet felt like iron clogs and body felt like a tree trunk.
The temptation to sit was making each step heavier, but the caution that we have to reach the camp before it gets dark pushed us forward. Camp felt like a mirage. There yet not there.

My physical distress made me curse myself for letting myself into a helpless situation like this. Pain and distress were the only feelings. 2 hours of torture later, we reached the camp. A white carpet welcomed us. Snow everywhere !
That we walked in snow for the last hour dawned on us! That moment I felt liberated in mind and body. All I was aware of was a feeling of pure bliss.

How fortunate I was that in my first trek itself, Himalayas welcomed me. My spiritual connection with Himalayas began then.
In my second trek, a mountain peak resembled Lord Shiva’s meditation posture.            I believed it to be Him.

A feeling of completeness engulfed me when I took the dip in Gangotri during          my 3rd trek.

Highlight of my 4th trek was the base camp -Nagar, a small village above Manali. Nicholas Roerich The famous Russian Painter, archealogist, philosopher and theosophist lived here. I sat in his balcony to see what he saw a 100 years ago.

Roerich Art gallery and his house were a walk away from our camp. I was spellbound by the words he used to describe Himalayas and the pictures he painted to depict their tranquility.

In the land of ancient Aryavarta,  Urusvati means a morning star. Is not the morning, glorious for new work and achievements?  It was in these places where the great wisdom Rigveda got crystallised where the mahatmas  themselves happened to pass through  here in  these caves on the mountain tops got accumulated the power of human thought! Do not take it as idealistic dreamings. Take it in full reality. How real, how magnificent is the shining of summits of Himalayas! In truth, only here only in Himalayas, exist unique unprecedented calm conditions for achieving results. -Nicholas Roerich

The 'NO' in me never came up.  Come what may, I make sure that I feel the Himalayas during May.The discomforts of the trip do not deter me because the destination entices me.
Snow - capped mountains, water springs, green meadows, snow belts and cow bells beckon me to walk ahead.Tents, sleeping bags, ruck sacks, woolens have their own significance to me.

Hot food at the camp, warmth of the camp fire and the support of camp boys make these treks more enjoyable.

One can walk everyday of their life in Himalayas and yet not see the entirety of it.  
I may have walked upto 13500 feet in the Himalayas, but what I achieved is to stop the 'no' within me. Now, I can see the canvas of life as maginificent as the Himalayas.  
"As you ascend the peaks of Himalayas and look out over the cosmic ocean of clouds below, You see the ramparts of endless rocky chains and the pearly strings of cloudlets. Behind them march the gray elephants of heaven, the monsoon clouds. Is this not a cosmic picture, which fills you with understanding of some great creative manifestation?"- Nicholas Roerich



Sailaja Vittaldev said...

When I read the article penned by you, I revisited my fond memories of my two treks with you. I still remember the first day of the trek at the base camp, wherein my first encounter with the ground reality of the trek for the first time by not having proper space for a minimum daily chores. Was pondering as to "Oh God!! where did I land? and how am I going to deal with it?" But then the stroll I took around the Mighty Himalayas made me realize the serene beauty of the Mother Nature, and connected quickly myself to the Nature God. God is nowhere else - He is here in these mountains.... I could feel the presence of God this pulled me again for the next year trekking. The Mighty Himalayas will give you resilience to fight back any kind of adversities... it's just that you need to put that extra mile of effort. All the very best to you.. keep continuing the trekking and inspiring people. Unfortunately I couldn't take it up this time due to preoccupation on carrier progressive learning...

Devi said...

I still remember " It is not the mountain we conquer we conquer ourselves" and that is what leads to miracle when you start believing in yourself. I cherished every moment in this place spending time visiting the gallery along with you my sweet memories I have for life to be retained. Thank you once again without you nothing would have been possible for me....The Art gallery.... Nicholas Roerich

I liked the way you articulated this so well "No to No" I still guess if we could speak a single sentence not using the word No and try some other sentence to get the work done....this is pondering to reflect for many of us most of the time we give up thinking we worked so long but just look at those who stay in Himalayas the hard life they live in ,when compared we think we are living in luxuries and we are working from morning eight to four in the evening and we think the day is so hectic. I liked the way you inspired yourself by saying No to No...Trekker of course.I wonder sometimes from where do you get these energy.No offence but being a vegetarian how could this be possible.I can see you active in the evening also you are an inspiration for many of us.I can never forget those sleeping bags my nightmares.I guess I have no fears of claustrophobia now.Mam you are awesome. Devi.

Payal Agrawal said...

A lifetime learning for me....say no to no...thanks for enlightening us mam....

Anonymous said...

I always like to listen to these kind of inspirational facts. And here is one of them. I still wonder how could u manage to visit himalayas every year inspite of indulging in a busy schedule !! It might be the power of the mountains that make u to visit every year. Its a true inspiration to me. And i strongly fixed in my mind to join u for the next trek.

Deepali malani said...

After listening ur experience in teachers workshop and after reading this blog, I really started imagining myself in himalayas. I must say, you are not only a wonderful speaker but a dynamic writer too....every time I am learning something new from you, but this time I feel I learn the most important lesson of life.." How to say no to no". Thanks for sharing your eagerly waiting to listen to your fifth trek experience.