6th August 2019 – Dream Fulfilled

“How many decades will there be before the Indian woman is emancipated from the mental, moral and physical slavery she has endured for countless generations?” -Frank Smythe

I answered Frank Smythe’s question – two generations. In 1937, when he wrote this book, my mother was a scrawny ten-year-old in a small town far in the south called Podanur, and on the trek, I stood in the exact spot where Frank Smythe asked that question – I mapped it by reading his book,. looking at maps and Google Earth. And, we met a group of totally bold and friendly village women taking a cow and newborn calf up the summer meadow.

But how did we get here?

When were we going to do that things we wanted to do? With the people we wanted to do it with. It was June, and the monsoon was late, it gave us an opportunity – we could walk the Valley of Flowers in early August or September. One by one, we go over the options; independently, or hiring our own taxi, walking on our own, pre-booking? There was no guidebook that we could consult – are we glad we did not put if off for a year.

Once we have our dates and times down, it was time to plan. We had a ten-day window in which to do a three-day trek, that sounded easy. Until we realize that we need to get to the valley, and acclimatize at heights. I get altitude sickness above 2500m, so we need a slow climb up to the start of the Valley of Flowers.

And that needs some negotiation, as the tour operator wanted us in and out fast, and we didn’t. We hand over all the decisions to the best planner among us, Anju takes it all over, and we just nod and smile as she does a great job. I smile to myself as I think back to the time ages ago at work, where I mistook her for someone’s little sister, not a key developer on India’s first supercomputer.

And that is what made the difference – we walked with friends and the years fell away as if we had never been apart..and here we were on 6th August 2019 actually in the Valley of Flowers.

This is short post, just to enjoy the video, and perhaps pick up the book.

If you have not got the book as yet, you can download it here.

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