The Trip- Day 3 and Day 4

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The next day we visited Tsongmo Lake, the holy lake in Gangtok, about 12,400ft above sea level. As the roads wound upwards, I found myself a bit bored because of the rain that poured insistently. It seemed like we were more on a mission to a gory work than the happy, tourist times. The condition of the roads was bad. We drove on the potholes ridden roads and it was scary because the driver drove perilously on the edge. But as we ascended, we saw huge waterfalls cutting roads and thundering and descending downwards to an apparent nothingness.  I say that because the visibility was so poor that one could not see beyond a meter. I could see a marked difference between the heights in Uttarakhand and Sikkim. The chill becomes cutting and unforgiving in Uttarakhand, whereas it seems as if the heights are calling to you in Sikkim. As we went up higher, there were notice boards informing us of being under Chinese observation. We stayed at the lake for a while. It was here that I saw a yak for the first time. They are adorable ox like animals with curly white or black hair. Their horns and torso was covered with decorative clothes to attract customers to ride on them. It was afternoon as we started descending. It has been and will be the most strikingly beautiful thing I have ever seen. On one side, blindingly bright clouds shielded the sight of what lay below them and on the other, waterfalls cascading down on the moss ridden surface of the mountains. The view was so overwhelming that all thoughts of boring monotony and restlessness to reach the hotel room fled and were replaced by awe. It was exactly what children imagine heaven to be- fluffy bright white clouds to jump on and sleep in, and beautiful scenery at your disposal all the time. As I slept that night, flashes of the scenery haunted me and filled me with yearning to see it one more time.

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The next day we visited the famous monastery. The walls that led us to the main worshipping place were adorned with praying rolls till the top of the mountain, where the monastery was situated. Unlike the Hindu temples, red, blue, green colors dominated the building. The walls were awash with a very different style of painting, depicting the folklores. The sanctum sanctorum of the worshiping area was quiet and calm. And the same feeling rushed into me as I entered it. Intricately woven scrolls hung down from the ceiling and lamps flickered as wind rushed in. the most enchanting part of the sanctorum was the gigantic idol of Buddha, serenely sitting cross-legged. As we walked down the mountain to the car, we came across a very amusing scene. Generally, one expects cats to scamper away as soon as they see humans. Here, a cat sat stoically as children tried to bother it. Some other cats slept without cares, and some rolled along with dogs.

DSC05222DSC05273DSC05413As we rested in our hotel room that night, I knew the coming days were going to be as good as the past four days had been and I was certainly looking forward to what all delights the east had in store for me.

W-O-R-D-S…Words!

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Words are odd things. We sometimes curse them because we have to study them and study because of them; or thank them for being there because that is how we express ourselves to someone. Recently, I was writing a paper and sleep deprived as I was, I marveled at the power of words, and our comprehension of them.

There lies so much beauty in writing. The odd curves one makes into b, a, l and d could mean nothing to an illiterate. It could mean nothing but something scribbled on a wall or a paper. But for a person who can read, it not only makes the couple of curves into a word called bald, it also instills in him the picture of a man with no hair on his head. Imagine the world without words in it, where no one could ever comprehend a single word. Would you be able to tell you mother of who bullied you at school? Would you be able to tell your beloved of how much you love him/her? Would you ever be able to text, or post an update on the dress you are going to wear the next day?

The beauty of buildings is enticing because you are attracted to the careful way thousands of workers came together to take simple blocks of stones into huge attractive buildings. But once you are done with watching, all you can do is sigh and move on to watch the next piece of architecture. But a couple of words that form a sentence, and a couple of sentences which form the chapters of every novel are so engaging that as you read the words, a new world forms right in your head. You see the hero saving the world from going into oblivion, you see kings fighting with each other for lands, you see nymphs sitting on beautiful expanses singing the sweetest songs. And when you are done with the novel, you still think about it because the vast lands and its events sit in your head forever until you find something even more compelling in mere pages.

When I think of the world we have evolved from, I am filled with pity for the people. To live in a world where affection could be shown only by snuggling into someone, when along with that we can say “I love you” in their ears, is nothing but pitiful. It is these words that can compel people to take up arms and fight for their nation and the same words quell them to put the arms down and live a peaceful life. The world really is a better place with words and people with comprehension of these words.

Feminism or sexism?

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Every person is beautiful in a way. It is not merely her physical appearance that makes her fit for someone’s desire. It is her attitude, her personality, her like and dislikes, her views on things. It is everything. After all, she is an equal, with a say in every aspect of life. But that is more of an imaginary situation.  Take going to a food store. There come millions of customers. Some would prefer cereals, some would prefer chocolates, and some would prefer candies. Some who cannot afford an expensive chocolate would settle for something that doesn’t hurt her pocket, while those who can buy a better one would buy what they want.

I believe the same thing goes for dating or marriage. A person who has better prospects; she looks good, is good to talk to, has an amazing body, earns well, or anything the other person is searching for, she will get whoever she wants. Whereas if a person is not so good-looking, or is fat or does not have enough a good earning, she will have to compromise and settle for what is available for her.

This is certainly a sexist point of view. Looking at a woman or a man as a product, as a consumable thing served to the other half with a specific outlook is certainly a sexist approach. But it is noticed, that all of this implies more to women. They are the ones who are conscious of what they look like, or are made conscious of the requirement to be a certain way. And yes, one can always blame this male dominant society to make it look like a woman is lovable only when someone is a certain type. It is pretty obvious that everything affects everybody. A sexist outlook is omnipresent. This is a male dominant society. I recognize about every person to be a victim of it. It could as well be an irremovable part of our selves. It is so deeply embedded in each one of us, that although some might take themselves to be die-hard feminists, they fail to realize that they are working towards the same view as everybody else, just with more words. Not just that, they succeed to make their friends lean towards the same thoughts as theirs. Everyone one loves playing with a Barbie doll. After all, she has been introduced to children as a play toy for all. But little do people realize that they are also introduced as a certain stereotype for prettiness. In vulnerable young minds that can be molded so easily, an ideal look of beauty is instilled. And that defines how they look at themselves and others.

This whole issue is so obviously present everywhere, and yet it goes unnoticed. One should take care of what they instill in their children. Because what they learn, and observe is what continues in the society. One needs to stop this male-dominant approach in every aspect of life, So that a person develops into a human being with sensitivity, with respect for everyone around (their own sex and others’) and not into an animal with no sense, but the basics.

Youth and Beauty

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So I just read some bizarre things about some celebrities. Turns out that Demi Moore’s detox therapy consists of blood-sucking leeches, while Gwyneth Paltrow uses a snake venom cream to keep her skin smooth ,  Madonna gets oxygen facials to keep her face glowing even at the age of fifty-five, and Tom Cruise uses face masks composed of nightingale droppings and rice and water. I was appalled.

There are so many things that are temporary in life. Youth and beauty are two of them. A person is born, she grows into a young woman with vitality, vigor, and so much spirit and hope. That is when she is at the peak of her life. She slowly starts to age, cells start to degenerate and gracefully, she leaves this world. Blame the fame or just too much consciousness, but sometimes…well most of the times, people find ageing depressing. They frown when they look into the mirror to find a wrinkling face or a balding head, they whine about how  they never really wanted it to happen. Or sometimes when people in this perpetual state of believing that they are as young as they were in, say 1995, and they try to fit in with the sixteen year old children of 2013, they are deemed as nothing but odd. Yes, having a clear, taut skin is something everybody desires, because it reminds them of the time when they were appealing, agile and (they think) were agreeable.  But it is just a phase! Nobody, who truly loves you, ever stays with you because of a beautiful body, they are there for you because of who you are!

But it is this image that is projected in people’s minds of the only beautiful age to live in is that of the twenties and thirties. Who projects this image? Well, none other than money-hungry people whose main interest is in extracting money from common people. They hire these beautiful women, with perfect bodies, taut skins and glossed looks to make people believe that beauty comes only from what you look, that your husband pays attention to you only when you look like you were twenty-one, that to get back your love you need to look young. There is a range of beauty products in the market that are made of god-knows-what. But in this desperation to LOOK a certain way, people allow the onslaught of chemicals on their bodies and although, they do succeed in achieving pseudo-youth for a while, the way it affects your body later is horrifying.

According to me, a better way to be youthful and alive and beautiful  is to work on your mind rather than your body. Sure, being fit and healthy IS important, but trying to stop time from taking away what can never really be stopped, is an unwise decision. More importantly, there is nothing more attractive and alluring that a beautiful mind. So rather than fussing about how many creases time has made on your face, or hair it has whitened or taken, you can be the wisest person around with so many people loving your soul and not your body.