The Alluring Magnificence of the High and the Mighty


The Mountains : Where illusion is reality

Photo of Sinaula, Uttarakhand, India by Anuj Burman

A friend staying on the foothills of the Himalayas is like a blessing in disguise. My travelling dreams, deeply sketched in my mind, still haunt me sometimes, and as a truce to the departed plans, I have made it a habit to visit this friend at least once in a month. This has, by far, been the most soul satisfying decision I have made in my otherwise robotic life. Contrary to the polluted plains of Delhi, the mountains offer me refuge from the humdrum of daily life. The crisp and refreshing air runs through each and every pore of one’s slender frame. The moment I step into the massive World of the mountains, I find purpose. The purpose to explore the invaluable yet abundant thing in life : nature. “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” they say, but high up there ‘beauty is the eyes’.

My last few trips to Uttarakhand have been quite mind opening. The air up there is free of our everyday toxins. The wind flows through the body and recharges one, with each gentle, sometimes violent blow. In every direction that you see, there is greenery of varied patterns, which is mostly due to the angle of the sun. What you see as dark green right now, was a shade or two lighter a few minutes back. The skies are endless, and the clouds are sometimes relentless. The melodious birds, that are rarely seen in the cities nowadays, could be seen making the most of their aero-dynamical bodies out here. In fact, it was somewhere near Musoorie that I saw my first, as well as second and a third yellow beaked jet black crow also called as ‘Apline Choughs’, which are usually found around the Rohtang Pass en-route to Leh/Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir) from Manali. They appeared remarkable with the fresh mountain sun reflecting off their backs. There are many more species of birds as well as an assortment of wildlife that just add more meaning to this natural settlement.

Photo of Kanatal, Kaudia Range, Uttarakhand, India by Anuj Burman

My best experience till now has been when I along with two more friends were hiking in the New Tehri eco-logical park which lies en-route to Tehri from Dhanaulti. While we were walking up the winding path we could hear the distant sound of the moving vehicles on the road that could not be seen from where we were. On one side we had towering pine trees standing upright on the slopes leading down to the valley, and on the other side stood the mountain shielding us from the shining sun on this clear day. The deeper we hiked into this pine jungle, the louder the noise got, untill it was so loud that we started cursing the presence of the road so close to this preserved area. Suddenly we realised that the direction from where the sound was coming, was bang in front of us. And all we could see were slopes on both sides densely populated with trees, without a sign of any road. And that is when it dawned on us that it was not the traffic at all, but the sound of the wind hitting against the leaves of the trees and making a swishing sound. And wow, we were at the best spot I have ever been to in my life. The wind so fierce and cold, was hitting my thinly clothed body and it just passed through me, cleansing me from within. The surrounding mountains added more glamour. The three of us stood our ground, paralysed, with our eyes closed and our arms spread absorbing the freshness. The flowing wind took away all our exhaustion, and our worries. It not only cleared our minds but flushed our souls of all negativity. I had never felt so powerful, yet so powerless in the lap of nature.

As the sun started descending, we also started trudging down the mountain trail with a warm feeling in our hearts. We hardly spoke on our way back, still mesmerised by the raw beauty all around us. I felt closer to myself, and even today while I ponder over the puzzle that is ‘life’, I sometimes imagine the sound of the wind when I close my eyes, and it calms me. This illusion was no illusion but reality, the reality of our existence and our sustenance. And with it comes the wisdom, that we are just mere specs in this magical World of existence.