Confusions of alone.

IMG_8080Lonely – the heart or the mind? Neither actually, physical loneliness is what I think it boils down to. The heart can be full of love, the mind can be happy with the day, the flower, the circumstance, a book, a movie, the very air.

No one to sit by, no one to turn and smile at, no hand to hold. Physically alone.

Such a happy place to be when you need to make a decision, get up and go, not seek an opinion, not worry about anyone, no one to ask and no one to tell anything at all. So much ease and bliss.IMG_8365

I love travelling alone. You can decide where to go, for how long, what you most want to do there and it’s easy.

I love being home alone, wake, sleep, lounge, grunge, eat, not eat. No answerability.

Perhaps, when you sit in that cafe in the evening, it might be nice to chat about your day, what you each saw – if it was different, or what you each experienced if it was the same. To perhaps discuss what to do the next day. To even share a bad moment or a IMG_8415magical sunset.

Perhaps, wake to a smile, share a breakfast, feel a touch, walk a walk, cuddle a goodnight. Throw a tantrum even.

I actually tend to think alone people would be very good companions to have. Alone people have had lots of time to think, grow and gather experiences. They have leisure to introspect and understand. They have the ability of silence and observation. They have the value for a companion.

Perhaps, I would like to find another alone person to be alone with.IMG_8148

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The Happiness Quotient

wide eyes the pansy

Sometime last month I thought I had finally caught the acute family malady – depression. Believing all my life that I had evaded this one overwhelming genetic disaster, an already down me was bought even lower thinking it was just late in coming. So imagine my plight – grey out the window (it’s just Delhi). Cold, (which I hate when it is city based cold) take me to a snowy topped mountain and life is fine. But there weren’t any trips in the offing.

I had descended into that horrible state where one wallows, not even trying to get out of it, all I wanted was the heater, preferably bed and a hot water bottle. The world was grey, the future held no excitement, the books were boring, the crossword undoable, the friends had deserted. It was a long weekend and there was no work, I should have gone home to ‘The Pind’ but I could not find the energy. I am quite sure there are many who empathise with this, it was rather alien to my normally upbeat self.

This is when the hum drums of life can save your soul. Sheila my wonderful keeper of all things necessary – home, market, kitchen, laundry et al – fell sick! I hope you understand the depths of despair this bought with it. I had to get out of bed – I had to go to the shop for milk. On the way to the shop I had to walk through the pretty garden and there I met a pansy – the flower – to clarify!

When my daughters were little they had pansy friends – see drawing – those beds of pansies were invested with real people and whole families. Grandfathers to little girls. This little burgeoning pansy suddenly lifted that horrible pall of gloom and made me smile in remembrance. I got back home with the milk and pulled out all the old drawings
and little stories that went with them.

But before that while I stood there smiling at the pansy a friend came along, that led to a conversation and the invitation to a drink. More gloom lifted. Back home with all the old stuff scattered around, the stories got put in order and the drawings collated. They might even go to a publisher now?

Happiness and purpose all due to a packet of milk and a pansy.

An encounter in the Dhauladhars

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Many years ago I did an amazing trek up across the Dhauladhar range, crossing the Indrahar pass above Dharamsala, down into the valley of the Chenab and the ancient temple town of Barhmour. But feeling intrepid, we had decided to keep going and cross the crazy Kugti Pass aswell bringing us into the Lahaul valley and on again across the Rohtang into Manali and roads, baths etc. That this was a fabulous trek with many adventures is true, but I tell this story because during that trek we were travelling with the Gaddis, (Shepherds of the Himalaya) who take their flocks to the high pastures perched below these passes. We met one family while crossing the Indrahar, and they introduced us to another that was going upto Kugti.

259bd908e21fcd0d842a3d606e4c0e63Now a few weeks back I was on a short walk in the very same mountains with an amazing group of people who had come all the way from Ecuador to visit the Himalaya and also touch base with the spirituality of these mountains. We were doing a comfortable trek from Macleodganj, via Baal village upto the meadows of Triund, up beyond to the Lahesh caves and back. The age group varied from 30 to 78, all wonderfully positive and full of vim and vigour.

We had lovely clear mornings, but after the first day every afternoon would bring the clouds and rain. Every evening we would sit around the fire and recount what were the pearls of our day. It was a lovely ritual, but I can’t tell you how many times I heard that the pearl of the day had been ‘walking in the rain.’ This was just how positive the mood in this group was.IMG_5399

On our third day, while climbing up to the Lahesh caves and or the temple at the top of the hill, one of the ladies felt under the weather and so I walked back to camp with her, while the others carried on. Back in camp after she was comfortable, I decided to go find a likely rock and write, gaze, medititate in this suddenly found free time. The mist was swirling, I went and sat comfortably in the embrace of a likely boulder and the dreaming came easy. Shortly I heard the familiar bells of goats and sheep and sure enough they were all around me in minutes, appearing out of the swirly clouds like ghostly shapes. Along with them came the shepheard. He perched himself on a rock when he saw me sitting there and we started chatting, I asked him when he would head down and where his home was. Somewhere during that chat I asked where their high grazing grounds were – he said below the Kugti. That is when I told him that I too had crossed that pass with the help of some shepheards many years ago. He said, ‘I know, I was a young man then and I remember taking you and your friends to the top. You have not recognized me, but I do you.’

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It was the most surreal moment – sitting on top of a mountain in this misty haze surrounded by the tinkle of sheep bells and meeting a stranger who was an old friend. What a perfect afternoon that added another touch of magic to my many magic moments in these mountains.

It’s raining men!

IMG_4251Nice one’s too. I decided a time ago that the male energy does not fit in my space as a constant, it was a lovely, comfortable feeling; I would not be looking for the sharing and caring, just enjoying the fun of it. It’s been wonderful so far. Other than that decision, I also figured that after living a certain number of years one perhaps does not fall in love – or atleast not ‘fall’ like at 18. I once asked my mother, ‘so when does love and sex cease to be important?’ She said, ‘never.’ I thought, ‘sweet Mommy, what a romantic!’

So here am I, following my well laid plans and another delight rains down on me, or rather creeps up on me. We met and wandered up the mountain, delightful. So many intrinsic similarities, so much to talk about, great companionship – total support (remember we take people up mountains and that’s what we were doing) much laughter. The first wariness should have warned me, we were avoiding each other. But this awareness is coming in hindsight. Atleast I was avoiding him, I don’t know if I imagined him avoiding me. But we were still together in strategic places because it was necessary to share those things, we had a connection, it couldn’t be helped – I would wait to show him the best angle for the sunset (eeks) Did I even know I was doing it? This remembrance is wholly embarrassing. Has it started sounding like that 18 year old yet? It keeps getting better. So be together, bond and then feign indifference. Pretending that one is not feeling all the things one is actually feeling ( so comfortable and happy to be together) – know that one? Straight out of trashy romance.

Then it’s over, trip over, large goodbye party, tears and speeches all around – pour the heart out, because there is an excuse for it and you can in public forum – ‘you are like my alter ego – and – I will never forget you’ – cheese and all in the spirit of the moment and you believe it too. That’s all it is another trip, another lot of great people sharing a great time.

Go away, immersed in something completely different. Come back and realize we have a few more days together, just us. Amazing fun and those two days fly and so do I, and now all my preconceived notions have flown away.

The damn heart has a feeling in it, I don’t even want to call it a yearning or a pain, that means it gets a definition. How incomplete one is, when one is conceptualizing this wholly wise being, and you don’t want to admit that Mommy was right, you are an idiot and romance exists and no matter how long that heart has lived it still knows how to go pitter patter. Isn’t that completely exciting, just the discovery that this feeling can still happen – not just the bubbles and glee – but the angst too. Gracias mi amigo for rejuvenating a lost part of me.

IMG_4247Sorry for flawed photographs, but I only try to capture moments and know nothing about composition and the fact that an insect sat on the lens.