Friday, August 31, 2012

The Power of Coordinates


DOOR TO AMNESIA: A bedroom light bulb burns out. New bulbs are in the kitchen. Off you go, but when you arrive you think, why am I here? That brain blip may not be mere absent mindedness. Gabe Radvansky, a psychology professor at Notre Dame, had study participants carry objects around a house. “They couldn’t remember objects as well when they crossed through a doorway,” he says. Conclusion: Change of venue makes the brain “push old stuff out and focus on what’s going on now,”…

That was a small piece from The National Geographic magazine that shows the power of context in our lives.

The actual extent of influence of physical coordinates is far greater than most of us would ever imagine. Though the above example is about the influence of venue, the idea could very well extend to climate as well.

I have always believed that climate is a very important consideration in our lives (and living in Bangalore is a great blessing) but my tour to Everest Base Camp was an experience as well as witness to the extent and more importantly, the absoluteness of influence that climate has on our lives, on the very meaning and purpose of our lives.

Everything else remaining the same - the individual, his nature, his innate aspirations, likes, tastes, goals, aims, passions and more, his actual physical coordinates, that is his location, determine to a large extent, the colour, meaning, purpose and direction of his life.

Sitting before a Tandoor at the culminating point of our altitude and cold, looking back at the few days of our trek, I actually felt that Climate was everything.

Only after a person has tackled, addressed basic issues of existence/subsistence, can he spend the remaining of his time, resources and focus towards culture, arts, recreation, creativity and higher civilization.
Man’s primary or basic issues change with climate.
Every climate gives life, its own distinct colour, dimension, purpose and focus.

And the extreme of that Himalayan cold colours life unforgivingly every minute of every hour.
When you brush your teeth and wash your face in the morning, the cold water hurts like a hundred needles pricking your hands and your face. The idea of unwinding in the bathroom, 'taking one's own time' is fearsome…

Lime juice is always served hot…
Breakfast is drab. So are lunch and dinner. Potato, Onion, Cabbage. May be Carrot. There is none of the allure of French Beans, capsicum, tomato, cauliflower, peas…

A building’s ia only as good as it’s insulation, the carpets on the floor, ceiling and wall; the d├ęcor, the paintings on the wall become irrelevant…
Three layers of clothing clothe you any time of the day; fashion, no one cares for…

The only thing you look forward to most of the time is the lighting up of the Tandoor to heat up the place…
What consumes the hours is the stoking of the fire; not the stroke of the brush, nor the stroke of a pen…
Going outdoors becomes painful and avoided…
Your only movement is the moving forward and backward before the Tandoor, as it gets too hot and then it gets too cold…

Touch requires preparation, for, all objects, metal, wood, glass and cloth are soaking in the cold…
You have only four senses, for what can you smell when you have a cold so bad in a bleeding nose?
There is no talk, for there is no stimulus…
Time expands, for nothing happens…
There being no electricity after 7, life comes to a full halt with sunset; I mean half-life comes to a full halt. With only so much oxygen to breathe, where is the question of full life?

Colours, red and green, purple and pink have to be recollected from memory, for all world is monochrome - the black of the ridge, the white of the snow and the grey of the fog…
Stills are the order of the day; motion is rare like a falling star in a fixed night sky: for the mountains have never moved and will never move…

The range of human emotions goes as if to sleep, frozen as if in the cold; the only emotion that wakes up now and then is anger – at the fellow who went out the door and that fellow who came in, letting in that blast of cold wind…

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez



A torrent of writing. A cloudburst of writing. That’s the feature of the book that remains most highlighted in my mind.
Very intense. From the first to the last page, the same intensity is maintained without a moment’s relenting.
Filled with detailed perceptions, insights, powerful lines, original observations, touching and beautiful lines and a rare kind of philosophy.

Despite all the above, the whole is not as great as its parts.
For many reasons.
First of all, its not so much a story of love, but it’s a story of waiting for the reciprocation of love.
Though unusual, its a love story of perpetual waiting – 340 pages of waiting, to be precise.
Secondly, if it were a poignant story, it would have been so much better.
But the writing evokes, no sympathy for Florentino Ariza, the helpless lover whose love is unrequited.
It’s the author’s character sketching of Florentino Ariza to be precise: it does nothing to evoke sympathy for the lost lover –nothing to endear him to the audience.
And lastly, the climax – of union between 2 lovers is not particularly delightful, neither touching, nor moving as it is difficult for any reader to relate to love blossoming between a 72 year old and a 76 year old, the way they fumble and falter as they try to make love.
But there could not have been any other ending.

Although there is so much packed into the book, a love story, there is nothing dramatic about the turn of events in the story. The way it unfolds, it is as real as reality. yet it is power packed.

The vivid details, including those of the daily life of the characters make you feel you are witnessing their lives from close quarters.

To summarize the story, Florentino Ariza loves Fermina Daza. She reciprocates his love initially but upon seeing him closely for the first time, she is disillusioned and turns her face away. In due time, she gets married to Dr. Urbino and assumes her role as his wife and homemaker. But Florentino Ariza continues to wait for her, hoping one day he will unite with her. After half a century, Dr. Urbino dies while trying to rescue a parrot in his garden. Florentino makes his entry in Fermina Daza’s life, and though rebuffed by her initially, succeeds in claiming her in the end.
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Living at a time when it is considered wise to move on in life, I wonder if there is a point in waiting for a love for half a century, almost a lifetime.

Perhaps ten years ago, I would have been in awe of the protagonist who waits a lifetime for his love.
I did surely live in a time when people did not move on within 2 days of a break up, when one night stands and wham-bam-thank-you-mam affairs were unheard of.
But today, I find it a futility, (unable to appreciate) the ideal of waiting for an impossible love anymore. I find it difficult to romanticize the ideal of waiting forever.

Is the ideal of waiting forever a noble one?
Like so many other arrangements of today – born out of our incapacity to adjust, make sacrifices, and because of which we invent alternate arrangements of convenience, which we then condition our minds to believe as correct, practical or pragmatic – is ‘moving on’ a mere convenience or really the right way of living?

Is this waiting, being loyal to one and only one person all one’s life, regardless of reciprocity, an ideal or an ideal foolishly romanticized?
Or is it that our minds and hearts conditioned by habit to this moving on practise of our present time and lives, make it seem so?

Is this work a foolish romanticizing of ‘waiting for you’ or an ode to the ideal of ‘eternal love’, I cannot help wondering living as I am in times when moving on is the practise, the norm among people.
---------------------------------------------

As in all stories, the geography and period in which the story is set add much to the charm of the work.
Here too, the details of the ways of a people, their society, their culture, their geography are interesting, intriguing, charming and enriching, based as they are on reality and set as they are in a remote past; a past of scientific primitiveness – when telegraph was a means of communication and a science of the future, mules were used for travelling, planes were still a novelty, cholera was rampant, photography nascent, river navigation still popular,...

The book takes you to old world charm of tradition and tribes.
...In this fertile province, ...the visitors slept wherever they happened to be at nightfall, and they ate wherever they happened to be hungry, for these were houses with open doors, where there was always a hammock hanging and a three meat stew simmering on the stove in case guests arrived before the telegram announcing their arrival did, as was almost always the case...

...she begged him not to call again. Her reasons were valid. There were so few telephones in the city that all communication took place through an operator who knew all the subscribers, their lives, their miracles, and it did not matter if they were not at home: she would find them wherever they might be. In return for such efficiency she kept herself informed of their conversations, she uncovered the secrets, the best-kept dramas of their private lives, and it was not unusual for her to interrupt a conversation in order to express her point of view or to calm tempers...

...the sea seemed paved with aluminium because of the numbers of fish brought to the surface by mullein...the use of the mullein plant to put the fish to sleep had been prohibited by law since colonial times, but it continued to be a common practise among the fishermen of the Carribean until it was replaced by dynamite...

...For a long time, the water in the cisterns had been honoured as the cause of the scrotal hernia that so many men in the city endured not only without embarrassment but with a certain patriotic insolence...the sight of men with ruptures sitting in their doorways on hot afternoons, fanning their enormous testicle as if it were a child sleeping between their legs...

...from the time cholera proclamation was issued, the local garrison shot a cannon from the fortress every quarter hour, day and night, in accordance with the local superstition that gunpowder purified the atmosphere...

It was a time when society was conservative as to not allow boys and girls to meet freely without the presence of a chaperone, and even the meeting between an old widow and a elderly gentleman was looked at with the feeling of resentment by children of the widow.
It was a time when ladies of decent families were expected to learn the piano.

A time when widows were expected to lead austere lives and they did so voluntarily...
...(after becoming a widow) In one of her attacks of simplification, she had relegated to the stables the radio console that her husband had given her as an anniversary gift, and which both of them had intended to present to the Museum as the first in the city. In the gloom of her mourning she had resolved not to use it again, for a widow bearing her family names could not listen to any kind of music without offending the memory of the dead, even if she did so in private...
-----------------------------------------

There are lines in the book that seem to be made for me. They define me.

‘...she wept for the first time since the afternoon of the disaster, without witnesses, which was the only way she wept...’

‘...Florentino Ariza wrote everything with so much passion that even official documents seemed to be about love. His bills of lading were rhymed no matter how he tried to avoid it and routine business letters had a lyrical spirit that diminished their authority...he made a supreme effort to learn the mundane simplicity of mercantile prose,...but at the end of six months, no matter how hard he twisted, he could not wring the neck of his die hard swan...’

I am Florentino Ariza.
Though this is a poor example, I still remember, in my very first project in my career, I had surprised colleagues by logging a test result as ‘the page takes eternity to load’...
Even after so many years in the profession, I have been reprimanded for the lyricism of my documents.

‘...he fulfilled all his duties with admirable skill studying every thread in that mysterious warp that had so much to do with the offices of poetry, but he never won the honour he most desired, which was to write one, just one, acceptable business letter. Without intending to, without even knowing it, he demonstrated with his life that his father had been right when he repeated until his dying day that there was no one with more common sense, no stonecutter more obstinate, no manager more lucid or dangerous, than a poet...’

And the line...“The dramas he had read so often regained their original magic when he replaced the imaginary protagonists with people he knew in real life, reserving for himself and Fermina Daza the roles of star crossed lovers...”
All of us do this, but I think I take it too far. I can still recollect the sensation of weeping the whole night and wet my pillow after watching Titanic, imagining ‘someone’ to be sinking to the bottom of the sea, as I released my grip of him, never to see him again.
------------------------------------------------

The agony and anxiety of love is expressed in all love stories.
But the vividity in which it is explored here, the ‘microscopic view’, so to speak, of a mind in love, provides some wonderful insights into the psyche of a person in love, exposing its curious philosophies, it’s many deceptions and tricks, its morphing of reasoning and logic into something strange, its colouring of the whole field of view in the colour of love, it’s pitiability that’s unlike any other, it’s heights of desperation, it’s moments of self control before falling into eternal helplessness and more.

...He experienced the cruelty of time not so much in his own flesh as in the imperceptible changes he discerned in Fermina Daza each time he saw her...

...the military man, prepared to introduce her to Florentino Ariza, asked her if she did not know him. She did not say yes, did not say no, but held out her hand to him with a salon smile. The same thing had occurred twice, and Florentino .... he asked himself, with his infinite capacity of illusion, if such pitiless indifference might not be a subterfuge for hiding the torments of love...

...little by little, he idealized her, endowing her with improbable virtues and imaginary sentiments and after two weeks he thought of nothing else but her...

...He was not the kind of man she would have chosen. His foundling’s eyeglasses, his clerical garb, his mysterious resources had awakened in her a curiosity that was difficult to resist, but she had never imagined that curiosity was one of the many masks of love...

...this was not only due to her limited time and the danger of being taken by surprise, it was also her nature that caused her letters to avoid emotional pitfalls and continue themselves to relating the events of her daily life in the utilitarian style of a ship’s log. In reality, they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while he (Florentino Ariza) burned himself alive in every line...

...his heart played one of the whorish tricks that only hearts can play...

...a mule, maddened by gadflies, fell into a ravine, dragging along the entire line...pack of seven animals(tied together)... In the centuries long instant of the fall, until the scream of terror was extinguished to the bottom, she did not think of the poor dead mule driver or his mangled pack but of how unfortunate it was that the mule she was riding had not been tied to the others as well...

...he had been too young to know...the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past...but when he...saw the white promontory of the colonial district again,...did he understand to what extent he had been an easy victim to the charitable deceptions of nostalgia...

...He saw them round the corner of the store, followed by the mules carrying their trunks, their hatboxes, and the baby’s cage, and soon afterword he saw them ascend along the edge of the precipice like a line of ants and disappear from his life.........
Then he felt alone in the world, and the memory of Fermina Daza lying in ambush in recent days, dealt him a mortal blow...

...He did not sleep again...and if at times he sat down to pick at food it was...to deny her (Fermina Daza) the homage of fasting for her sake...

...Florentino Ariza, prostrate with grief, had gone to the farthest corner of the deck where the noise of the revelry could not reach him...he had awakened at five that morning, as the condemned man awakens at dawn on the day of his execution, and for that entire day he had done nothing but imagine minute by minute, each of the events at Fermina Daza’s wedding...

...He continued to hunt the abandoned little birds of the night for years, hoping to find a cure for the pain of Fermina Daza. But by then he could no longer tell if his habit of fornicating without hope was a mental necessity or a simple vice of the body...
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I like the philosophy in the following lines. Some are known to the world, yet others are the author’s discovery or invention and surely impressive whether or not agreeable.

...Widows...in the restorative idleness of solitude, on the other hand, the widows discovered that the honourable way to live was at the body’s bidding, eating only when one was hungry, loving without lies, sleeping without having to feign sleep in order to escape the indecency of official love, possessed at last of the right to an entire bed to themselves, where no one fought them for half of the sheet, half of the air they breathed, half of their night, until their bodies were satisfied with dreaming their own dreams and they woke alone...

...one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children but because of the friendship formed while raising them...

... It is incredible how one can be happy for so many years in the midst of so many squabbles, so many problems, damn it, and not really know if it was love or not...

...Life would have been quite another matter for them both if they had learned in time that it was easier to avoid great matrimonial catastrophes than trivial everyday miseries. But if they had learned anything together, it was that wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good...

...They spent their lives proclaiming their proud origins, the historic merits of the city, the value of its relics, its heroism, its beauty, but they were blind to the decay of the years. Dr. Juvenal Urbino on the other hand loved it enough to see it with the eyes of truth... how noble this city must be, for we have spent four hundred years trying to finish it off and still have not succeeded...

...When someone accused him of being rich, he said, “No, not rich, I am a poor man with money which is not the same thing...

...love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. You are either born knowing how or you never know...

...nothing in the world was more difficult than love...

...it is better to arrive in time than to be invited...

...cats do not remember anyone...

...one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them...

...nothing resembles a person as much as the way he dies...

...think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything but the alpha and omega, an end in itself...

...the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness but stability...

...Humanity, like armies in the field, advances at the speed of the slowest...

... Too much love is as bad for this as no love at all...

...love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death...

...there was no innocence more dangerous than the innocence of age...

...It is a pity to still find a suicide that is not for love...

...the only thing worse than bad health is a bad name...

...the only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love...

...the only thing he had to learn about love – that nobody teaches life anything...
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I like the choice of adjective in this line.
...picture postcards of furious sunset –
An unusual adjective as in Arundhati Roy’s ‘immodest’ green.

Nice Simile.
...It was a tangible look that touched him as if it were a finger...

The below observation is peculiar –
...He went to sleep when it was almost 3 O’ clock. But first he enjoyed the immediate pleasure of smelling a secret garden in his urine that had been purified by lukewarm asparagus...
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I noted the below lines, for I liked them for one or another reason...

...while the most demanding families were satisfied if their drivers had a clean shirt, he still required coachman to wear livery of faded velvet and a top hat like a circus ringmaster’s which, more than an anachronism, was thought to show a lack of compassion in the dog days of the Caribbean summer...

...she has been discovering the uncertainty of her husband’s step, his mood changes, the gaps in his memory, his recent habit of sobbing while he slept, but she did not identify these as the unequivocal signs of final decay but rather as a happy return to childhood. That was why she did not treat him like a difficult old man but as a senile baby, and that deception was providential for the two of them because it put them beyond the reach of pity...

...for many years she had erased him from her life... this was the first time she saw him clearly, purified by forgetfulness...

...he had a dreamer’s eyelashes that could make the stones sigh...

...Fermina Daza showed her cousin the place where she had suddenly discovered that her love was nothing more than an illusion. She herself had not realized that every step she took from her house to school, every spot in the city, every moment of her recent past, did not seem to exist except by the grace of Florentino Ariza... she did not admit it because she never would have admitted that Florentino Ariza, for better or for worse, was the only thing that had ever happened to her in her life...

He persuaded her to let themselves be observed while they made love, to replace the conventional missionary position with the bicycle on the sea, or the chicken on the grill, or the drawn and quartered angel, and they almost broke their necks when the cords snapped as they were trying to devise something new in a hammock. The lessons were to no avail. She was a fearless apprentice but lacked all talent for guided fornication. She never understood the charm of serenity in bed, never had a moment of invention, and her orgasms were inopportune and epidermic: an uninspired lay...

He began his first caresses...he took her hand, cold and twitching...took several hours...very slowly as he won her body’s confidence millimetre by millimetre...

...He was aware that he did not lover her. He had married her because he liked her haughtiness, her seriousness, her strength and also because of some vanity on his part, but as she kissed him for the first time he was sure there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love. They did not speak of it that first night, when they spoke of everything until dawn, nor would they ever speak of it. But in the long run, neither of them had made a mistake...

...jealousy was unknown in his house...he had often boasted in public that he was like those Swedish matches that light only with their own box...

...cure for baldness...first as bald as a melon, then with more hair than a lion...

...she was a ghost in a strange house that overnight had become immense and solitary and through which she wandered without purpose, asking herself in anguish which of them was deader: the man who had died or the woman he had left behind...
He had told her something she could not imagine: the amputees suffer pains, cramps, itches in the leg that is no longer there. That is how she felt without him, feeling his presence where he no longer was...

...the desire to forget him was the strongest inducement for remembering him...

...warm with sleep in her swaddling clothes and still smelling of the cradle’s tantrums...

... A century ago, life screwed that poor man and me because we were too young, and now they want to do the same thing because we are too old...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Besides the Lofty


He had the right argument but then, he did not know when to refrain from presenting it.
At the slightest provocation he would start arguing, politely enough of course – but on a point that I had just dropped casually on my way to another subject, a point I had no interest in. Or, an interesting point I was too tired to discuss at midnight over phone.
But in his enthusiasm, he would not relent until he had said all he had to say or until we would reach a consensus.
When it became a pattern, I began to think him self-righteous.
It turned me off so completely, I had difficulty explaining to people when they wanted to know why I wasn’t in touch with him. You see, there was no major fault in him I could put my finger on.
But isn’t it these little things about people that annoy us more than the important things about them?

That episode was actually a revelation to me.
I realized how important it was to relent. (At times). To let go. To nod your head or shrug as if you weren’t sure, even when you were dead sure inside your head you disagreed.
To keep mum even when you have all the right arguments. To be sensitive to other people’s moods. To relent, when they don’t want to listen to what you have to say. Or when they have listened for some time but want to change the subject now. Or when you know they subscribe to an ideology totally opposite to yours and will never understand your viewpoint. In short, to refrain from saying the right thing when it is so warranted...

Which parent would consciously encourage their child to cultivate the discrimination to ‘relent’? Which child in its formative years would consciously learn the habit of relenting?
Isn’t it the loftier ideals at the other end of the spectrum such as assertiveness, self confidence, outspokenness and competitive spirit that are preponderant, that everyone is promoting? Who ever talks of ‘relenting’ as a positive attribute?

Yet, when someone argues or asserts without a care for your exasperation and you wish he would stop, that’s when you begin to see what a precious ‘little’ attribute ‘relenting’ is and how you never thought about it and whether you were making the same mistake in conversing with other people?

At times, when we are turned off by certain traits of people, we see, often with wonder, the value of certain attributes nobody taught at school, attributes that awed no one, that won no special praise and no life transforming courses or books professed.
These are not the lofty attributes, yet their lack could make someone so unbearable.

There was another incident like this which made me see another important ‘little’ quality; it was to be partial in dispensing justice.

I had phoned my friend to come to a cafe as I was in distress and felt like sharing it with her.
When I told her about this guy who had hurt me, irritated me with his pushiness, and then said morbid things about me to someone else, she, my friend gave a response I was totally unprepared for.
Instead of comforting me who was on the verge of crying, she told me with a cold shrug (without actually knowing the details of what had transpired) that I was making a big deal, that the guy had a right to ‘express his opinions’ before someone he chose, that I had been in the wrong in so many instances...and so on. Her sympathy was entirely with the guy and none at all with me.
I left the cafe feeling sorry for myself that I had tried to share something with her.
I knew that in this particular case, my friend was completely wrong in her assessment but even if she wasn’t, did she have to listen to me the way she had? She was someone who actually took pride in being a good listener.
But good listening, among other things, included one little thing that is not as popular as other qualities that make it up – being on the side of an agonized person even though he or she may be in the wrong.

If I want impartial justice, I will go to a court. Why do I go to a friend? Because I want to be understood. I want to be heard. Because I want sympathetic listening. Because I was some partiality. Not impartial judgment.

I could not help recollecting my many meetings with an old friend Shilpa. She had just been separated from her husband.
I had seen her growing up. She was a radical feminist. She had never had a male friend. She hated men unconditionally and was averse to sex.
Therefore, though I had never met her husband, I knew he definitely had ‘his side of the story’.

Whenever we met after her divorce, she would say things like ‘I want to see him in a pool of blood’, ‘pelt him with stones if you sight him somewhere’, ‘the bastard ruined my life’ and so on.
I could have shown off my superior analytical powers and told her, ‘you made a mistake in this particular incident’, or I could have been a truth speaking saint and dispensed impartial judgment and said, ‘it was your fault too’.
But seeing the agony she was in, I didn’t feel like doing any of that. I sympathized with her and even swore at him so it would lessen her agony.
Later, when she had cooled down, I told her very cautiously that she had hurt male ego in correcting him in front of his family, that she had not been right in insisting upon equal division of household chores, that she should have been more polite to her in laws and so on...

But I was partial, in her moment of agony and indignation.
For that was what she needed at that moment – someone on her side, a friend who would listen to her, someone who would step in her shoes, understand her pain no matter what the cause.

But whoever does advocate partiality? It’s one of those ‘little’ qualities...

Morality is taught by a few and followed by a fewer.
Survival is taught by many and acquired by experience.
Smartness is taught aplenty and over-smartness is actually becoming a nuisance.
But sensitivity? Wisdom?

Coming to think about it, wisdom and morality are clearly very different. Many times they are conflicting. But wisdom is as indispensable as the other loftier ideal.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Everest Calling - Lobuche to Gorak Shep


5 AM, 27th April 2011, Wednesday

The needles hurting our skin turned to knives. On the morning we started trekking from Lobuche to Gorak Shep.
When all earth was covered in snow, freshly fallen the previous evening.
No protection helped. Neither woolen gloves. Nor leather gloves. Nor stuffing hands into pockets of down jackets. I hid my hands anyway.
When I looked back, there were mountains with sun kissed tops. Simply looking at them did not give warmth, as goes an old legend. I kept looking back at them anyway.

It hurt. It simply hurt.

The previous day, it had just begun snowing and we were not sure about the next day. If the snow was too deep, we might not be able to proceed. It turned out the next morning however that, we could proceed.

This is where we had come from. A picture morphed beyond recognition, by the white carpet covering the whole landscape.


And this is where we were headed.


We walked in a single file, those of us in the second group. The first had left already.


We passed other hotels in Gorakshep on our way.


This was the picture as I turned behind. Note those faraway snow peaks.


As I turned behind again, that faraway snow peak had acquired a hazy yellow crown.



As the minutes passed slowly, the whole of mountains behind became golden.
But not a ray touched us. We were in the shadows and for the first time in the longest while, I craved sunlight.





Snow on flat land merged with low hanging mist.
The only solace was that the snow was fresh. You could walk on fresh snow without doubt and be sure about your step.



This was Pumori, far ahead of us.



When the curtain of mist parted, huge mountains revealed themselves quite close to our trail and we started speculation; Nuptse? Lhotse?...

When we reached trodden snow, we slipped. We had to try stepping on fresh snow that bordered the trail, place the foot on a stone protruding from the snow covered trail, or slide etc.

The agenda for the day was an aggressive one: to reach Gorak Shep, have breakfast there and head to EBC.

After walking and scrambling some, we saw a spectacular panorama. A series of snow covered peaks bordering what seemed like a snow flecked valley, so close to us, it was tempting to think we could reach them in a few steps.
No, I won’t say the picture was worth the struggle. I would say: for all our struggle and soreness, the final picture, the climax had better be as good as it was. If it was any lesser than that, it would not have been worth it.


Glacier in the valley…perhaps the continuation of the Kumbhu glacier beginning at the base of Mt. Everest.





















We reached Gorakshep.