The Big Majestic Mountains That Ate Men

by Lullanotes on Sunday, September 30, 2012

I was working for home for the past week, which is just as well because I caught a sudden bout of flu. My nose was bulbous, red and scaly due to over-friction from the boxes of tissue I used on it and my eyes a little teary from all the sneezes resembling mini explosions racking through my frame. I would have been persona non grata wherever I go in public.

In between working and resting, when I was not too drowsy from the effects of medication, I read some news, mainly about the Manaslu avalanche in Nepal. I had been reading up on mountaineering exploits after National Geographic's April 2012 publication on Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner's K2 ascent. 2 months after in another publication, they sent up a team onto Everest and one can follow their blog that documents their near real-time journey. It is just amazing to read of men and women who took it upon themselves to scale these giants who do not intend for humans to survive in its rarefied air. I leech off the sheer willpower and the determination behind mountaineering crews who took months and years to prepare for the vertical ascent, to a place you call the top of the world to be one with the entire universe. Frankly if you are anything like me who is more than aware of my (lack of) physical capabilities ... then following the blog would be almost as close as you could get to experiencing an alpine adventure and you will be hooked too. Moreover, being National Geographic and having excellent photographers at their disposal makes one just willingly suffer bouts of visual orgasm just by going through the photo gallery.

George Mallory was famous for responding to a reporter who asked why he wanted to climb Everest: “Because it’s there.” Reporters continued to ask him variations of the question again and again. “It’s of no use”, he said. “If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life”.

If it is hard not to be drawn by the grandeur of this Mother Goddess of Earth by photographs and words, think how much more magnetic it would be if you are to be there physically. The lure would be impossible to ignore and I understand how many other climbers, caught by the Summit fever would be willing to risk anything when the end seems so near but yet as it is, reaching the Summit is only half the journey and means nothing if you are unable to descend safely.

Photographs are gathered from various internet sources, mainly National Geographic.

I spent my weekend finishing off Jon Krakauer's personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster on my Kindle while being "bedridden".

Sunday Peace

by Lullanotes on Sunday, September 9, 2012

Most Sundays I stay at home, doing nothing of absolute consequence. I would do my week's long laundry on Sunday by hand. I would give my face and body a good scrub. I would do all sorts of little mundane things that I usually wouldn't have the time to do any other day and maybe because of this reason alone, I found Sundays to be quietly fulfilling. It is a day that feels like fairydust is scattered in the air, changing the atmosphere. I feel distinctly that the usual hustle and bustle gets muted and the world seems to be set on a slow-mo. There is a playground just right below my apartment and children would shriek in joy there often but on Sundays, I do not hear them at all. Such tranquility is so rare and precious that I want to soak in its good grace.

This is one of those Sundays. To make it complete, there was a gentle drizzle to wash the city afresh of the haze that had plagued us for the past few days and all the greens outside my window are now clean and waving happily in the wind again.

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