Sunday, 28 September 2008

Back to Ladakh

You know, there are times when you yearn for something, but somehow you feel guilty for wanting it, I don’t know why but throughout last year I yearned to travel again...
...again to Ladakh.

This was after my first visit with the army to Kargil, three years ago. Back then, with the tight schedule the army had planned for us, there was very little time we could spend going to the remote places that this mountainous desert was famous for.

So here I was, flying back.

Ladakh welcomes you even before you land. You’re flying high above snow covered peaks and suddenly a rage of mud brown mountains soar in front of you giving you a peek into the lush green valleys sprinkled below.

Like in the movies, there was no music of triumph but goose bumps galore - trying to register the fact that I was finally there.

I was there with an almost selfish motive – to get over my photographer’s block – a sudden incapacitation lasting two terrible years that stopped me from clicking. I had heard of a lake in particular – Pangong Lake and I made that the central theme of my visit this time.

There was much more I discovered on the way; which is a beautiful side effect of travelling.

Apart from the crazy adventure on my way to the lake (which would need another entry in this blog) witnessing a now modern commercialised Leh market was a little unnerving. Seeing people of other origins owning jewelery stores and the local Tibetan/Ladakhi women sinking deep in poverty, begging on the streets or selling their meager wares made me think...

...they were better off without us, aliens to their culture, their traditions, their peace.

Peace, a kind of magnetic spiritual culture, one which any one from any part of the world is attracted to.

Kid lamas in red robes,
Revolving prayer wheels,
The flutter of a prayer flag,It’s unbound threads becoming one with the wind,
chanting the magical Om Mane Padme Hum.

There is something about the silence of this place,
serene but not quite,
pristine but not quite,
magical but not quite,
maybe the not quite comes from the ‘not quite’ within me...

No comments: