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:: Saturday, October 18, 2008 ::

The Writers Itch and Block, and the mountains

Sometimes I get this itchy feeling in my fingers that I should be writing something right now. I am not sure if it is designed to be that way - the feeling almost always comes when I am somewhere out, and there is no way I can start writing immediately. And when I go home, the mood is lost, and as I boot the comp, have to struggle for words.

Today was one such situation that made me crave for a laptop when I was commuting in the city bus. Sitting in a rather stiff atmosphere in a Volvo where most people were returning home after work and there was a sort of dullness filling up the place, I felt a need to get away.

Michal Palin's book 'Himalaya' did an excellent job at transporting me out of the situation right into the mountains of Bhutan where snowy peaks loomed large outside his tent and a population that has refused to modernize stayed besides him. It all reminded me of Ladakh, where I was a few months ago and could never shake it up from my memory.

It took me to a scene more or less two months ago when I got caught in a sudden unexpected storm. Cold wind braced us and shafts of chilling water pierced our skin, changing the mood from pleasant and sunny to almost forbidding in a matter of less than a minute. There is always some good things to look forward to in every situation - we got sheltered in a nomad's tent and got a moment to peek into their life.

Its not as exotic as the word nomad sounds. They are not on their feet everyday, but stay put in a location for a few months. Although their tent is very rudimentary and can barely save them from the elements, the insides are not entirely void of creature comforts. What made me raise my eye-brows first was a rather sizey tape deck that seemed powerful enough to shake the tent made from yak fur. The next unexpected sight was a gas cylinder and stove for cooking. Back in the big city of Bangalore where everything should be a phone call (or these days, a click) away, one has to struggle with ration card, 'below poverty line' card, non-poor card or whatever that applies to you, and then run from pillar to post getting document after document ready and proving that you are who are and you live where you claim to live. But here is a nomad with no permanent residence or whatsoever, and who in the first place would have given an image of people far from civilization, happily cooking away on LPG.

The glasses in which we were served milk was pretty good too and was at least better than what I use at home. Can't exactly call their life as a comfy life, but it was good to see them living a life that is not as full of of struggle as it would have been for them a few generations ago.

Talking about all this, or reading books written on the mountains, or just this evening when I was having a conversation with someone about the Himalayas, I know there is something about these mountains that has a powerful draw. I am back from Kumaon only a week back, and Ladakh just a month ago. But a longing to be in the mountains surges the moment I descend into the plains. Its not just the scenery, the attraction of the rugged terrain and the experience of isolation. The people of the mountains, the clean air, way of life, everything combine and make a pitch to get me back there. I am looking forward to my next opportunity.

:: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 ::
It has been a short while since I am back from the might mountains, and is already time to re-visit again. Now to a different region - Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Its almost been for a few years that I have been thinking - that I haven't ever been to these parts of Himalayas. Neither did an opportunity surface. The time has come now, though it is going to be a short trip.

I am heading towards Binsar for a few days this week. Unlike my usual journeys that are long and stretched, this one is going to be a quick visit. I did wish that while I am heading that way, might as well tour around and see more places. There is plenty to see - Corbett, Ranikhet, Nainital,... its tempting. But then, there is only so much you should travel, and an overdose is never good. With many smaller journeys lined up in South India and plenty of work to do sitting home, I shall resist temptations.

So it is again going to be time for some walking, time to shed whatever little fat I have acquired in last one month, see plenty of greenery, hangout in mountainous terrain that I have always loved, walk up, down and up but never on flat land, see snow-capped mountains on a wide horizon, wake up early in the morning, sniff fresh and cold air, allow the cold breeze on the ridges to push me gently, and fall in love.

As you can see, looking forward to departing, tomorrow.

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:: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 ::

Resurrection(or the nth attempt to it)

Its very well possible that I will be the only person reading this post. Its such a long time since I made any updates, unlikely there is anyone still lurking around. So be it, I tell myself, and continue to scribble anyway. It has been a few months since I have written on Surplus Musings, but that's now a regular affair. Once in a while I wake up and think, 'oh, there is surplus musings and I need to write something there'. And then I open my blogger dashboard, write a short post which always tells the same thing - that I am rarely updating this page and hope to get regular from now on. Admittedly, this is one such attempt. Now that I have made a habit of it, I might as well continue making such posts, don't I? For all you know I might end up with a guinness record for maximum number of resurrection attempts for a blog.

Now to get a little serious, its pure laziness(something I excel in) that keeps me from making any updates here. Once in a while I have better excuses to hide the laziness behind. Like now. I was on a two-month long trip to Ladakh, you see! Now, that sounds like a good excuse to me, so do please believe and trust me, and expect a lot of updates in the days to come on surplus musings.

So, now that I am back from a two-month long Ladakh trip, let me talk about it. It has been two weeks since I am back in Bangalore, but can't help but stay in Ladakh mood. The place has its magic that ensures that its after-effects remain for a long time. I am hoping I will make a fairly long story on the trip and publish it on India Travel Blog - long enough that it takes more than those two months I spent to write and publish it. But that will be some time later. Now, to give you a glimpse of Ladakh, here is an image to begin with.


After this short scribble, I kind of realized that I enjoy writing on surplus musings more than any other place. I can let my mind run freely and scribble what comes out, not worrying about how much sense it makes, not bothering to proof read or worry about the quality of posts. On India Travel Blog, my other weblog that frequently gets updated, it is an effort to try and bring some shape to an article, try to make sure that it is complete and readable and makes sense. Yes, I still do enjoy writing on ITB, but it is definitely not as easy as writing all the nonsense that I feel free to write here. Yes, may be I should give some more time for Surplus Musings.

Bangalorean, Love travelling and photography
email:  arunchs at yahoo dot com 




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