Wednesday, April 30, 2014
2nd July 2010
A first time traveller would fight against sleep through the 5 hour drive, keep their eyes wide open, try to look in all directions at the same time, in fact wish they had a hundred eyes.
Such is the landscape – mountains, water, greenery, desert, temples and needles of sand erected on the hills, endless plains, unusual colours, layers and more.
These were more breathtaking during my previous visit.
This time, the presence of dark clouds overhead took away from them that something...
Just like the clouds in our lives...
The driver became more and more unbearable; my parents tired too.
But the journey had to go on.
There was sunshine now and then, here and there, and it wasn’t too bad... there was some greenery too, which had not been there during my previous visit. More water in the valley too...that was the Shyok river, a major tributary of the Sindhu, weaving a pattern in the broad deep valley.
I am not sure if I was in the shoes of Alice Albinia when I had stood before the Sindhu. The author of ‘Empires of the Indus’ traversed the river backwards to its source – all the way from Karachi where the delta is, up to (Tibet occupied) China where the river begins.
And then she called her husband and wept, for there she saw that China had dammed the river a few hundred meters from her source and tapped her water almost to her last drop with a very tiny or no trickle escaping the dam and realized that the Sindhu she had travelled along for weeks was no Sindhu, just her tributaries – Shyok and Zanskar mainly.