Sunday, September 5, 2010

The long way home

Conversations and people can convey more about a place than several turgid paragraphs and Seth knows this well.

The other day in the hills I rose, after many years, to the sound of a cock crowing. Compared to the metallic, penetrating cell phone alarm that is the gift of technology to us, the cock-crow was sweet music. And the cloud had rolled up right to the large glass window, swallowing the heart-numbing sight of several half-built houses, gouged hillsides and handsome pines felled while asleep.

For a moment, I was once again the teenager of a lifetime away, treading lightly with the goats from the little village of Ani where the young and vigorous Sutlej rushed under a narrow bridge, to the village of Khanag, hidden high up among the conifers. Leaving the crystal-clear stream with its churning water-mills, we began the climb upwards, lunching against large rocks on parathas and mango pickle, when the cloud rolled down, like some lazy white pillow, from the mountain crest and covered everything in sight with a thin magical haze. It was the same sort of cloud again and holding on to the vision, I began to scour my shelves for travel books once again, books that would talk of unknown roads, open starlit skies, trains whistling in the dark...

Full report here Hindu

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