|All smiles :) Such cuties!|
Do keep this description in mind as I start off. I made various journeys this summer, each so defining that they were like individual chapters of my life. But, for the sake of some conciseness and specificity I will skip the how and why aspects of these travels, and tell you about one such journey only, and in what sense it was so rewarding. So here goes:
I got back from a really fun raft and trek trip on the 8th of June. This day is the 9th of June, and here I am on a bus to a cold-desert-cum-ridiculously-remote-high-alt-mountain-district in Himachal Pradesh that is Spiti. Some gumption I had, as with my practically sub-zero stamina levels and strength of a hamster, I was heading off to construct a solar bath that supplies hot water at a 5000m-altitude monastery, with just a 24-hour break after my previous trip. Survival is the key. Plus I needed to show all these people who thought I would fail miserably, that I could make it back in one piece. So you can clearly see that there’s really not much of an altruistic motive. So far. It was, to put it simply, for to-appear-cool reasons.
|Home in Spiti: Kee Monastery|
But then after I arrived at the Kee monastery, everything began to change. There was so much I learnt while residing there. Coolness quotient: Dwindling. Respect and altruistic intentions: Rapidly rising day by day. There were expected things like learning about a new culture, new language, working hard under the harsh UV-laden rays of the mountain sun, and simple, really basic food and living conditions. And then there were experiences like, learning to make an aloo paratha for 30 people in a monastery kitchen, waking up at 5 in the morning to attend prayers with the monks and then play volleyball with them later in the evening, visiting a local school to interact with smiling, happy, cute little children and besides, be covered from head to toe in eco-friendly wall plaster after an awesome ‘mud fight’, during solar bath work. How do you describe their worth?
|Mud fights !|
It is a small thing to offer in exchange of all those learnings and experiences, but it does bring immense happiness to the ‘citizen’, in me; that in some microscopically small but manifested way, I did help shape a part of my country. Ah yes, the citizen’s perspective. You can literally see that amazing sight of nascent progress right in front of you in those raw mountain roads, children in the remotest villages going to school, shops selling Nutella and slow, but existent internet and cable connections. It brings such an optimism about the future. Besides, it also really encouraged me to hope to be a part of organizations like Ecosphere that promote growth, sustainably in such growing, remote areas. The crux of the matter is, that it’s necessary to step out of your cocoon.
|Hello beautiful trek and beautiful friends|
Divya is currently studying Law in Delhi University and travelled with Ecosphere on Greening the Desert program in June 2012. The group constructed a Solar Bath for over 200 monks living in the Kee Monastery in the Spiti Valley.