I went to Uttarakhand in August 2010

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.”

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” – Sylvia Plath…

… on a trek. I had never seen the nature in such a glory before. Wait, I HAD seen it…only on Discovery, Natural Geographic or some posters. Like most other people. But when I actually saw it firsthand in all its glory, I realised, the TV and the posters don’t do any justice at all. It really felt heavenly, surrounded by so much purity, beauty and the quiet. To be very frank, the happiness I had felt during those days, seeing all these places…was incomparable on many levels to any emotion I have ever felt… Joshimath, Auli, Chamoli, Ghangria, Gobindghat, Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Badrinath, Valley of Flowers, Hemkund Sahib…those lovely rivers, Alaknanda’s basin… miles and miles of greenery and wild flowers, sound of stream / river waters, billowing  medow, colourful birds, imposing yet, silent mountain ranges, bright sunlight, pure air, cool breeze, the melting glacier… all those memories…the happiness I felt amidst something that was a hundred percent natural and without any artifice, drama or falseness about it. Such a beauty and yet, the unassuming silence of nature…I felt, the greatest creator had not left anything out to make sure this place was the most beautiful place on earth…. I came back with fond memories and times spend with a very close friend…After I came, I couldn’t stop myself from recommending this trek to every single trekker I met. Those 15 days were the high-point of my trekking life I guess. By far, the best trek ever for me…

Here’s 3 years later almost and I am reading heart-wrenching news daily about the sudden cloud burst and floods in the area. It is really heart breaking to know that all these places, almost every place that I went to got flooded, so many lives destroyed. I pray for the peace of all those lives. Nature’s glory was really silent and unassuming. Nature’s wrath wasn’t . These places are situated at an extremely high altitude and addressing rescue and recovery itself would have been a huge challenge, let alone trying to rebuild lives. Basic necessities that we take granted in our comfortable urban spreads are like luxuries in those areas and I cannot begin to comprehend what a tall task it would be to just continue existing there right now…

A friend forwarded me a quote after this massive loss of lives…

बडी अजीब सी ही मौत भी,
कभी कभी उस जगह पर मिल जाती हैं,
जहा अक्सर लोग जिंदगी के लिये दुवा मांगते हैं

– The death is a strange phenomenon. It can even meet you sometimes at the very place where people pray for life and vitality.

All these areas are also home to shrines of various religions, famous for their pilgrimages. My heart goes out to all these lives, the lost, stranded and hurt lives, who had to face the fury of nature. They will be in my prayers.

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