|Outside Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi |
In one of her Harry Potter novels, J K Rowling describes adventure as “that flighty temptress”. Life is a flighty temptress and adventure is the wicked witch with her magical potions. I have drunk deep from both: the witch as well as the temptress. Life would be sheer wasteland without these two seductresses!
The best adventure I have had was in the Garhwal Himalayas. The school where I taught in Delhi gave me the opportunities to trek on those rugged landscapes that belong to the gods and apsaras. My first such trek was to Hemkund with its altitude of 15,000 feet. Another unforgettable trek was to Gaumukh a few years later. There were many less adventurous treks in between in the Land of Gods where, as Arun Kolatkar would say, every stone is a god or his cousin.
Mountains seduce me far more immodestly than gods and their cousins. Mountains tease you with their peaks. When you conquer each peak, you transmute the tease into a triumph. It’s a game in which every surrender is a capitulation. The gods and their cohorts join the peaks in mockery. No, you needn’t take that mockery. You needn’t buckle down and start chanting mantras and offer aartis. You need to pull up your boots and move on. That is life. Your gods are no kinder than the mountains. The apsaras are worse: they titillate like fireflies in the emptiness. You have no choice but mock them back by moving on. Move on till your last breath. That movement is the adventure of your life.
I’m waiting for the pandemic to subside, to walk hand in hand with the temptress, sipping the magical potions of the witches. I long to step onto the mountain trail once again and embrace that flighty temptress, adventure. I want to breathe in the cold mountain air, stand in the caressing mist, and whisper words of romance to the tickling winds.
PS. For Indispire Edition 336: Adventure is not taking risk, adventure is doing what we have not done so far. Coming out of our boundary. What is adventure inn your view ? and what have you done recently? or planning to do? #adventureboundaryfear