Thursday, June 25

The Climb...

It is always a different view in a ‘climb’. It is one thing to look up to matters in life and another to look down from a vantage point. In the longest climb in my life, I have understood that it is one thing to see a mountain on a post card and it very different to attempt a climb to it.

Before all that, I remember standing with a pack of young men, mostly IT boys, and telling them that I too want to clear the medical fitness for the climb. Any climb involves fitness. And, running in my early 40s, I was afraid of being sent home. Meeting the screening personal, I told him that I have a heart for it, a spirit for it. “Give me a chance and I will do it”, I told him. He took me into the team.

What happens on a climb? One important aspect of any climb is the sheer effort we give to it and the reward... the relaxation we get. But more than the physical exertion, more than the flexing of the muscular system, the climb is often a pilgrimage. For me, the climb is an escape into wilderness where I can forget everything for days... forget everything but the closeness of God...that God is just ‘around’. The climb is a touchstone experience that tells me that God is intimately involved with life and creation.

But how to transpose this ‘climb experience’ from wilderness to my city living? When my calling is to dwell in a city, I must bring down the ‘top of the world’ moments to the seashores of my heart.



One of the most interesting features on earth is the existence of life in tough environments. Scientists have observed life deep in ocean floors and very much in arid deserts. The ecosystem teaches us that life is a survivor in those rigid environments and that it has been shaped to meet the challenges their environment offer.
True, I may not love the weeds the same way I love the flowers... but I respect them, learn from them, admire them for their tenacity to flourish in the most unlikely and harsh places...
At Roopkund, 16,400 ft. above, in snow at subzero conditions and in the periodic hot blazing sun, I saw a special Himalayan weed that grows on rock and lives among snow. Sitting down, I took a shot of it. They are survivors for a million years. I took my hats off. Yes, they have learnt the art of cold warfare, hailstorms and dry winds. At death, they leave a progeny for the next generation. And, life goes on and on. Weeds at 16,400 ft. teach us that it is great to live and let live.
While I watched those weeds, they did leave me a message home, “We will live with you till the ends of the world. Come friend, walk with me in the snow”.