Memories of the mountains
Doing it finally. The book that everyone pestered me for and gave up. Only, its a series of blog posts. For how long they will go on…. who knows? The memories are endless… but will the words last?
For as long as I remember, I have been rather footloose. Traveling to new places experiencing new lifestyles and going through a lot of difficulties in the process seems to come naturally. Good or bad, I cannot say. But one thing is for sure, my wanderlust has taught me a lot of things I would not have known otherwise.
This section is about my experiences of a nomadic life in Manali. I had gone there as an instructor in a children’s outdoor education camp with no intention of returning without having seen the region in some detail. I stayed back after completing the duration of the camps to complete my basic mountaineering course at the institute there. After that, I joined forces with a horseman who was originally from Delhiand had now settled in Manali.
We provided trekking services with the horses for pack luggage and us working as the guide and cook and led the nomadic life of the famed Khampa horsemen around the year. The wanderings included regions like Ladakh, Zanskar, Spiti, Changthang, Kinnaur, Ramput, Shimla, Banjar, Dharamshala, Manali, Mandi…. I stayed there for six years. These were probably the most dramatic and educational years in my life until then.
Leading the life of a rural nomad and working as a guide and horsewoman on trekking groups for a living was unheard of among my family and friends and also among the locals in the places I lived in. At a time when their own children were moving away from the life of hardships in favor of comfortable homes and jobs in the tourist industry, it seemed incredible that someone preferred the old ways of life and had left the cities and all their development to settle among the mountains.
This section was born from the fascinated response around numerous fires on chilly nights as we warmed our hearts and froze our blood over numerous escapades and touching memories. This is for the armchair adventurer and the one desirous of leading a life of choice no matter where they went. The story is of efforts making a seemingly impossible adjustment enjoyable.
This is also for those who want to know what I have been up to during my 6 year long absence from the city of Mmubai.