A man like me whose sole comfort is the sound of his words was left speechless rather awestruck by the raw beauty of the Sandakpu, Phalut range and the mighty Kanchanjunga up close. The savage beauty of the higher reaches of the Singalila ridge and the serenity of the Kanchanjunga up close unearthed my soul which had been covered under multitudinous layers of mundane filth. My soul soared so high, that for the five days I thought of nothing but beauty and beauty; not of the kind that can be found in wide hips and doe eyes. It was beauty without words, beauty which I could stare at all day without getting into any arrangement , beauty which I could pursue without being labeled a stalker, beauty which was all around me yet which did not suffocate me.
I would close my eyes and pretend the beauty was not there. I would open them and the Beauty would still be there. It came in its own gait with the rising of the sun and went away with the clouds and the mists early on in the evening. It didn’t even bother to notice me.
Yet it was beauty, pure and unadulterated without any trace of man’s hand.
I walked across endless stretches of windy meadows where for company were small wild horses and yaks that had come down to from the higher reaches to escape the harsh winter, where the little vegetation that grew, grew in clusters huddled together as if in conspiracy and where every shrub had a hundred pointed needles, where the tops of the beautiful silver fir trees had been blasted by the constant winds, where the rhododendrons had been beaten into shrubs and where only the old and the very young were to be seen but no youth; my soul was in ecstasy. Only strength could let you admire the circumambient beauty.
For Conrad said “you know yourself only when away from the safety of social trappings, faced with the elements of nature and nothing to fall back on but yourself, you discover then whether you are weak or strong.” I tested myself and found I was a mixture of both with a wee bit more of the strong side. There still is much of life left in me. More of arches to cross; the time for me to sit and contemplate has not begun.
The forest hamlets of Samanden (if I spell it correctly) and Gorkhey set in forest glades especially Gorkhey with its small stream and the wooden bridge across it was straight out of a post card.
We pay a fortune to go and see the world whereas the grain of sand lies unsullied in our backyard.
I thank the Gods who have been kind to me and paid my patience with such a wondrous reward.
Writes: Philip Rai