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Happy International Women’s Day! The first thing I saw on my Facebook feed today was last year’s video where I was actually in the forest but today I’m here at home. One of the reasons why I am at home is that it’s a bit cloudy outside and also I just didn’t wake up in time, as you know I’ve been really absorbed in writing my book of late.
What has International Women’s Day got to do with my Himalaya trek?
One of the things I noticed was that there were no other women trekkers on the trail. I was like the last woman walking! I’m wondering whether that should be the title of my book last woman walking. It is nearly 40 years since I wanted to do this trek. It’s not that I procrastinated, it’s just that when I had the time and the motivation I wasn’t allowed to. It was considered to be too dangerous and too inappropriate.
I’m at home now talking about International Women’s Day and how it linked to my trek. One of the things which disturbed me on the trek was that the tea houses were run by women, that’s not bad, this is a matriarchal society, but all of them had said that their men had gone down to the plains to work. If you go trekking in the Himalayas or anywhere in a remote area where the people are dependent on traffic from tourists, please spend your money wisely. In the Himalayas do not do it yourself and camp on the roadside in a tent because, one it’s dangerous and two – you’re depriving people of a livelihood. Definitely go with the group which employs the local people. On our trek we stayed in local tea houses, all of them except the last one were run only by women. In the last one, though the man was there, work was being done by the mother and the daughter-in-law. And the daughter-in-law was really cranky with me, but afterwards I discovered that she had a toothache and a baby who hadn’t slept for a couple of nights so I forgave her.
A Shadow on the Sleeping Buddha
That’s what we do as women, we should help each other. The other thing that disturbed me – was trafficking. There were posters everywhere about trafficking. In the wake of after any natural disaster, people rush in, to help or to buy up desperate girls and children for the brothels. This slave trade is a major problem in the remote Himalayan areas especially near Nepal. It was good that there were phone numbers encouraging people to call if they thought that any trafficking of women was going on. But I’m not sure how that works in areas where the phone coverage is patchy.
This was a shadow on my beautiful trek to Sandakphu to view Kanchenjunga.
International Women’s Day is a chance to help other women and encourage you to go out after your heart’s desire but not to forget the ones who love you and those might be men. As the mother of three wonderful sons, I know that sometimes they get annoyed with all this talk about women women women and the ‘ultra feminism’ of some people.
It’s for men too!
International Women’s Day is about men and women because there’s not a single person here who has not been born of a woman. Just as a girl needs a particular type of nurturing, a boy needs more nurturing. I’ve seen that in my own family that male infants are emotionally fragile, and its not helpful to be too tough with them.
This is the only room in the house which has got good light, unfortunately on Thursday mornings the garbage truck goes by and you can hear that! Have a great woman’s day and think of the women in your life. Also keep an eye on the fragile men in your life or the strong men in your life, there’s some men in your life who are your rocks and there are some men who maybe are needing your nurturing. That’s what we as women are very very good at!
If you haven’t joined my book launch street team, do join and help me to launch my book. Self-publishing is a misnomer – you need a team to help you publish, to help you promote and I would love to have you on my team.
Thanks for being part of my Himalayan journey.