“The Hills have eyes”. At over 14,500 feet, frolicking kids exchanging innocent banter is a common sight. In a place where time stands still, the careless shenanigans add spark to a primordial lifestyle. The voraciousness and tenacity of these young angels is a spectacle to behold.
In my recent visit to Spiti, a few children caught my immediate attention. There was so much I saw and heard that warmed the cockles of my heart. Watching the kids get on with their curious ways gave so much joy. I could feel the child in me wanting to live those golden years again.
So I spent my time observing and documenting this natural course of action through my primal camera lens. I solemnly attempt to conjure this short picture story. Hope it warms your heart too.
“Jo jeeta wohi Sikandar” ( He who wins, is the king!)
On a joyous occasion of 86th Birthday of The 14th Dalai Lama, I saw a juvenile struggle of epic proportion. A few Buddhist Kids had their eyes set on riding the MTB parked below the legendary Key Monastery. It is a dream to ride a bicycle for any kid. Riding a fully geared imported Mountain Bike is like riding a Bugatti Veyron.
A few of them could not help themselves and decided of riding it. One of the dominant kid took the plunge. We call him Alex. Alex mounted himself on top of the bike with ease as he started to fiddle with the gear shifting mechanism.
Another kid who lost out to Alex was determined to get his shot to ride the superbike. Let he be known as Hope. Alex soon learned the advantage of changing to the top gear. Hope chased him frantically all over to no avail. The top gear could only help Alex until he reached an uphill section of the road. The advantage of a higher gear proved to be Alex Achilles heel. His strong leg muscles could not peddle in high gear in such gradient. Alex now out of gas, finally gave up. Hope relentlessly pursued Alex till the end. It was time for the bike changed hands. Hope still had a lot of gas in him to enjoy his dream run. This kid has super lungs.
Lesson learned. Attitude, Passion and being Stubborn for a thing always pays off.
About a girl in a green dress
This is about a Spiti Girl wearing a green dress. At first glance, she looked puzzled. Lost in her own thoughts. The more time we spent with her, we got to know her better.
She was kind in a quiet, unostentatious way. The delicate, scentless air that hung about her was returned with a smiling face. She spoke little. But when one of the lady companions along me asked for the way to the toilet, she sprung into action. We asked her name. Nawang Lamo, she replied in a soft voice. Nawang took us to her house.
The Spitian home is everything we imagined it to be. A dark and dingy place had a traditional fervor about it. We saw a few sheep tied up along the stairway. Nawang patiently waited for our return from the primordial toilet. It is here she opened up to us.
Nawang studies in 6th standard and helps her mother in the kitchen and the fields. We asked her if she knows how to work on a computer. Her reply was an affirmative yes. She asked to mail us her pictures on the e-mail of Rinchen Chhering, the Postmaster of Hikkim. We thanked her for her generosity and kindness as we parted ways.
A curious pastime game these little girls play
By the time I reached Demul I had seen a whole lot of boys in action. But what about the girls? I passed by the narrow periphery of the traditional houses of Spiti. I saw a few little girls staring at me from the window. If only I could see the little angels frolicking, it is a wrap.
And voila, my wish was granted. Two girls stood before me along a Calf. It seemed both girls were interested in playing a game of “Who can lift the Calf”. It was an unfair game. One of the girls was twice the age (and size) of the other. Spare a thought about the poor Calf who was not amused. The little Girl with a chubby, rosy cheek tried lifting the Calf from its hind leg. The Calf resisted wholeheartedly. The older Girl came to the aid by straddling the calf by the noose. By the time it looked they were making progress, I was spotted taking their pictures candidly. Both the girls became conscious of their actions and abandoned the game. The cute little girl with a chubby face won my heart with her antics!
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