I have often heard people, exclaiming how minute and insignificant they feel in the presence of an ocean or a mountain or any such imposing natural entity. I have usually agreed with these people, who say things like, “I feel so insignificant,” or “I sense the great challenge before me,” and such variations, and I have agreed with their statements, only, because I could not clearly express what I felt.
I have never felt insignificant or any such feeling when I have stood before a mountain (my favourite), looking up to it. I have always felt a calling. Like, a parent, slightly bent, beckoning. When it is an ocean, I have felt a teasing invitation to play. Let there be no doubt, that their size and expanse are daunting and that specific feeling is not alien to me, neither do I attempt to diminish the weight of their scale.
[Flashback] And here we are, it’s not yet dawn and I am climbing the Maruthwã-Mala hill. All through the trek, I felt a homecoming and less of a vertical challenge. My shallow lungs and city-bred styled calf muscles conspire to give up; yet the mountain (yes, it’s a hill, but I’ll call it a mountain) almost seem to embrace me at every step. The teaching parent. Catch me. At each step, showing me the wonder that a perspective allows, like a parent would, to a child in its arms – pointing to the available vista.
Ignoring spent lungs and stiff muscles, I made it to the peak.
There, when I sat at the peak, I was, at first, amazed at the experience that this top-of-the-peak feeling offered me. When I gathered my wits, secondly, I was amazed that I made it up here (to understand this, you have to know me personally; this was no mean feat, by my standards.)
Then, there was an embrace. No hands, no touching, no bodies enveloped in each other. Years of loving the mountains and the hills as I have passed them by, driving on the highways as I created my own adventures, seeing all of them, sending them flying kisses, as I passed them by. As I drove through them. Through the incisions that we created to build roads around their contours. We cut through them for our convenience. Their love for us, however, has not diminished a bit.
I have always loved them for standing tall and giving meaning to the phrase, “I’ll be there for you.” Empty space around me, on that peak, I hugged all the mountains. Everywhere.
And in that one moment, I knew, what “holding your ground” meant. We are insignificant to these elements of nature if we think of ourselves as bodies. We are their compatriots if we think of ourselves as souls. With the ones we truly love, we don’t see their bodies, do we?
I came home, on top of Maruthwã-Mala today.
This post was written, in a notebook on the 8th of December 2009. I was “disconnected” so this post was handwritten on paper, in a ‘paper’ notebook. It has been replicated here, with some edits. The essence of the post remains intact. I could not take photographs, since I did not carry anything electronic with me. Maruthwã-Mala is a real “hill” – here’s a photograph. The one in the post is representative.