Mountain Lessons - I

13 Sep 2008

It rained hard that day. There was no sign of it letting up any time soon. I looked on. Watched the droplets fall hard on the bronzed soil and splatter into a million tinier droplets. Fascinating. There was little time to think. We are what we think we are, sometimes we are what others think we are. But we always are something or the other. More usually the other.

The peak was still far away. A climb of at least another 1000 m or so, and this rain was making it worse. Best to stay put for the night and wait for better weather. So often we are simply waiting for things to go our way. Rarely do people get the courage to stand up and do stuff that changes circumstances in their favour. And hey when you are referring to an "act of God" such as rain I guess it is better to simply wait it out. But people are so narrow minded in that way. They wait out even those things they can usually do something about. Now that is something I don't think leads to any benefit to anybody whatsoever.

So I pitched my tent where I stood. It was in the lee side of the mountain and most of the rain would never even touch the tent. Besides it was waterproof and stood rock solid on the soil. I had been learning how to put up tents single handedly for about 5 years now, specially for this occasion, a lonely trek to the highest mountain I knew. Life expects you to be prepared. It does throw curveballs at you time and again but if you have been at the net practice that you usually know how to handle each one, and if you don't you should be ready to be a quick learner. It is seldom that you get a second chance when climbing a 7000m mountain. Second chances are a boon, one usually does not get them.

When I got married I never thought I would have to learn so fast and in fact I was unable to acclimatise to all the changes happening so soon. No wonder I lost her. She was also quite pig headed though. I think we both deserved it. Though she got a better deal in the end. She had a better lawyer. I should have known there was no room for sentimentality in something like divorce! There is rarely room for sentimentality when things are going bad. One can be emotional and compassionate when things are good, but when the kid gloves come off, you need to take yours off too, else you will be badly bruised.

I slipped inside the tent, popped open the canteen and had a long draught of tea. It was lukewarm. Dang! And they said this thing was insulated! Just goes to show one should never compromise on quality. I should have brought one instead of two but gone for the one that was twice as good, might have been able to have hot tea then. Anyway this was unimportant. I am happy I got the best climbing tackle and boots that I could lay my hand on. Those were the part of my equipment that really mattered. Cutting corners cuts more than one sees immediately and cutting corners too often often leaves you with a tablecloth that doesn't fit the table! And if a table cloth doesn't fit the table it was meant to fit, is it a table cloth at all? Or have I been duped into getting something for a purpose that it was never meant for?

Sigh. Life is complicated, but then that's why humans have such huge brains! Smiling to myself, I quietly rested my head, zipped up the sleeping bag and snugly dozed off to sleep.