| September 22, 2017
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Humbled by mountains

Humbled by mountains
Whether I am on a bus or a plane, a seat by the window is always on my wish-list
At the end of a recent one-hour flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu, I thanked myself several times for not possessing a professional camera.

Now, who in this world of technological advancements would celebrate the lack of a camera that would capture life’s fleeting moments and help you walk down the memory lane when you reach a point when your feather-weight body tries hard to confine a rebellious spirit to a crumbling cage of ribs?     


Let me explain with faint hope of getting you to see the point.

A seat by the window—whether onboard a bus or a plane—is always on my wish-list, not because I often tend to belch the entrails out while travelling and the window seat gives me some privacy so that I can empty it out without embarrassing myself before fellow travelers.

It’s because I get to bask in the beauty of the flatlands, the hills and the Himalayas that make this country so very beautiful, enriching my mind, body and soul a little bit more during each journey.

But not too often do I get the much-desired seat. Call it my luck or yet another coincidence, I leave it up to you.

The Nepalgunj-Kathmandu flight was not going to offer me an exception, it appeared. With a friend asking for that much-desired window-side seat that originally belonged to me (or so I thought), there was no way I could say no.

So I forced my 75-kg body to rest on that not-so-desired seat feeling like a person who has just landed a least-desired job. Meanwhile, I let my free spirit fly all over outside the plane as I strained my eyes to have an eyeful of the fertile plains, meandering rivers and hills that appeared to be vying to touch the heavens; lush green woods and snaking roads where a footloose traveler searching for the Shangri-la may want to get lost, forever.

Once, I tried to switch to the other side for a better view of the unfolding panorama but had to give up the effort as the hostess suggested me against the move. Onboard with us were some glitterati, but I do not know what effect those peaks had on them. I can only guess that they had travelled too many times to ever wonder and ponder over these small wonders that come before them to say hello.  

But when towering Himalayas started appearing in the distance, I heard their call. Humbled by the mountains, I asked the hostess whether I could move to that coveted seat that I had yearned all along, with faint hope of a nod.

The answer would leave you in surprise, a pleasant surprise.

The peanuts arrived and water arrived with it, but that was not what I was looking for.

After what appeared to be a pretty long wait, a faint nod arrived slowly with a smile, from the farthest corner of the plane.

That was what I was looking for.  

Automatically, my body swiftly moved to the much-desired seat and eyes fixed themselves to the unfurling spectacle. While skilled hands trained their cameras towards the peaks, I resisted the faint urge to use my Sony Cybershot 12.1 and watched the scenery trying not to blink, acutely aware that a set of not-so-sharp eyes glued to the window were all that I had to witness the beautiful spectacle.

Almost three weeks into that flight, I have realized once again that these wonders of nature cast a spell on your heart, mind and soul. Often, I get glimpses of those peaks, green hills, trains of slow-moving clouds, fertile flatlands, snaking rivers, lakes and deep gorges, in my dreams. They have left a deep impression. They have become a source of joy for me.   

All this spectacle is so beautiful, so very beautiful that no gifted hand or assortment of gifted hands will ever be able to portray it fully through their mediums of expression, individually or collectively.  

I imagine somewhere amid those clouds, the hills and the Himalayas the dream of everlasting peace, the Shangri-la and the mythical sworga, the place where yogis have been in deep meditation for years, conserving their energies by soaking in the sun, the mist and the air.