Where do I get my cravings for adventure from?
I think adventure may be a genetic thing. My Mum was probably the one who engendered this love for adventure because we were always going on picnics, she and Dad were always going out on shikar, (very politically incorrect nowadays but not in their time) Shikar is ‘hunting’ in India. And then there were the frequent fishing trips. Our camping trips were in full military fashion, proper campsites with field kitchens and field trench latrines, and snake trenches dug around every tent.
But the one thing my mum didn’t like was mountains. She did not like Kashmir because of the feeling of being entrapped in the mountains and that’s another story which I can tell you another day. But I absolutely love mountains. We went to Kashmir when I was about seven or eight, and it was like being transported into a magical realm with running streams and lakes with island covered with trees, poplar lined lanes, and banks of wild roses tumbling over hedges and gates and irises standing tall in the muddly lanes, and even growing on roof tops.
I went from the mountains in the north of India, straight to boarding school in the Nilgiri mountains in the south. A long way to travel, but my homesickness was allayed slightly by the gentler tea bush covered slopes, and the forests of eucalyptus that had replaced the native flora.
And then there was Darjeeling. Darjeeling means the place of the Thunderbolt, because from Darjeeling is framed by a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga. In folklore, Kanchenjunga is the home of a goddess who hurls Thunderbolts at Darjeeling when she is angry. My kind of goddess. So I was rather pleased when I read up about that when researching for my book on the Himalaya trek.
Thanks for being part of my Himalayan journey.