Friday, January 15, 2010

An oasis of calm... in this world of storm...

Oasis of Calm: Relaxing by the Ganges at Gangotri

Another semester has begun and already feeling a bit low... I mean the mundane rituals of class committee meetings and course plans and the rest; maybe ten years of teaching is a bit too much."We all need oases of calm in a world of storm," said Paul Brunton in his classic book A hermit in the Himalayas. I find my oasis of calm in the memories and photographs of last two summers among the Himalayan giants. Especially, last year at Tapovan - the quiet and peace of that lovely meadow above the Gangotri Glacier, with herds of bharal that graze close by and mighty Mount Shivling looming benevolently above us all the time.

First Glimpse of Mount Shivling from Gaumukh

A bharal silhouetted against the skyline at Tapovan

I remember the trek to the Advance Base Camp of Shivling with Shivraj - the walk on the ridge of the lateral moraine separating Tapovan from the Meru Glacier, the patch of crystalline snow that was our furthest point from camp, Point Shiv-Kumar - my very own (!) little summit on Baby Shivling (the rocky summit near Mt. Shivling). I remember the effects of altitude too - the nausea, the exhaustion, how I refused to attempt another minor summit that needed 45 minutes more of climbing in spite of Shivraj's urging...

Mount Shivling with Point Shiv-Kumar in the foreground (centre of pic)

Shivraj on the ridge between Tapovan and the Meru Glacier

Meru Glacier with Mount Meru as the backdrop

Sudhakara feels that we should return to Tapovan this coming summer and attempt to summit Baby Shivling. Perfectly fine, I guess... At least for the moment. We have been going over maps of the region and every week it's been a different plan - Rudragaira; Satopanth; Kedar Tal; across Kalindi Khal from Tapovan and Nandanvan to Badrinath...

Mount Shivling and Baby Shivling - future destination..?

One thing is for sure - as far as possible, we want to do one more Himalayan trek this coming summer... And whichever trek we might end up going on, it doesn't really matter.

In a thousand ages of the gods I could not tell thee of the glories of Himachal...

What a minuscule portion of these glories can we hope to cover in a few years???

In a thousand ages of the Gods, I could not tell thee...


Prachi said...

you are lucky in some ways to have at least discovered your oasis of calm !! and all your sacrifices to get that is worth it.

many are still searching for that calm or i think many don even know if that "calm" exists !

maybe they are calmer than those who are looking for it .

good piece of writing. its always a pleasure to read your blog !:)

smm said...

Thanks! I'm nearing forty, dear... As Hemingway once said, experience is the price one pays... Or something like that! ;-)