Himalayas has always fascinated me. Its snowy peaks,its awesome magnitude, its
legends,its mythologies….it’s pretty hard for an indian not to be felt humbled(is
that a generalization too much? maybe, maybe not) .
So, as there was an opportunity to attend the talk by Mr. Harish Kapadia on
Himalayas,l had to be there. This is what I like about being in this place the most
so far (ok ok,I am not being entirely truthful, but let it be). We already were
privileged enough to listen to Mr. Nandan Nilekani and Mr.James Abraham .
Maybe a write up later sometime on these sessions (if the quizzes and projects let
me be alive that long.)
Now, back to the Himalayas and the fabled man. To be honest,I knew little about
Mr. Harish Kapadia (there goes my little fame as a quizzer up in smoke). But brief
introduction by Prof. Trilochan Sastry was enough to bow down your head in awe.
When the talk ended it was a totally gratifying experience to say the least.We saw
many beautiful pics of different regions of Himalayas from the far east Arunachal
Pradesh to the Siachen in west. It was so diversified.The S-bend of Brahmaputra
entering India majestically, the magnificent rainbow effect, the twin peaks of
Nandadevi with its royal inner wall of mountains, the serenity of Tibet, the serene
loneliness of Ladakh,the respect for OP baba in Indian Army in Siachen…It would
just go on and on.So, here come the snapshots in efforts of yours truly …
As you would expect from a man devoted to Mountains (Harish is 64 years young,
as Prof Sastry aptly put it) he has a treasury to share. Breathtaking pics at above
20,000 feet, crossing the rivers on makeshift ladder bridge (even jump over one
gorge….Hollywood stuntmans wouldn’t dare that), thetowering peaks glowing in
early morning sunlight…felt like heaven. Somethings stood apart amongst these
like snap with Sir Tenzing Norgay and many other world renowned mountaineers
(Pardon me as I can’t recollect the names.Sign that I am growing too old too soon).
In my point of view there were two incidents which reflects the man he is….One,
when he told us how he dislocated his hip on a climb and was operated and on a
crutch for two years. What do you think he did after that? Within a month after the
crutches were gone,he went back to the mountains!!!! If that’s not passion,that’s
not true heart’s calling…I don’t know what is….Other is a personal tragedy.His son
late Lt. Nawang Kapadia was martyred in a gunbattle with terrorists trying to save
the life of his fellow army man. Harish showed us picture of his son and the army
memorial in tribute to Nawang’s heroics.The auditorium was stunned in silence…
the man went on. He is a mountaineer after all,sacrifice is a cost you pay to get
closer to heaven in your heart.
Also precious are the moments when the famous mountaineer became one of us
lesser mortals. His witty comments, his concern for the sanctity of the mountains
and the worry for the ongoing battles in two fronts with China and Pakistan – you
could see the amazing blend of a tender heart and the absolute resoluteness the
great Himalayas bestows upon you.