Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heaven in a Wild Flower!

As the jeep travelled up the mountains from Tezpur to Tenga, in Arunachal Pradesh, the river sparkled alongside as the sun rays glanced off, creating little silver droplets that flashed like dragon flies in the breeze. On one side, the mountain wall rose, grey and forbidding, while the valley dropped away in all its glory, on the opposite side. Tiny wild flowers grew in nooks and crannies, creating a colourful tapestry in hues of sunny yellows, blood-hued crimsons and blushing violets, reminiscent of poet William Blake’s evocative images. By evening the mist moved in, casting a pall, imperceptibly growing in intensity, till the road seemed to disappear! The clouds had descended to almost ground level, and the driver could hardly see where he was going. My husband got down, and walked alongside in the dark, guiding the jeep by following the luminescent road markers that had been put in by some canny soul in the past! After a night's stay in Tenga, we drove on, crossing the Sela Pass at a height of 13,921 feet, the highest point of the trip. The drive was spectacular; the view took our already depleted breath away, even as waterfalls gurgled down the rock front at regular intervals, till we reached Tawang, which bordered China. Our eyes were caught by whole areas covered with chopped down tree stumps. History had it that, during the 1962 Indo- China war, all these were cut down by the Chinese who had wandered all the way into India, felling trees in their wake! So what we were looking at was a graveyard of trees, as it were! The Madhuri Lake, so called after the movie Koyla was shot there, starring Madhuri Dixit and Shahrukh Khan, was an expanse of light grey, striking against the deeper grey of the sky, and its waters shone like a mirror, with little herds of yak that grazed by its banks. The scene was ethereal, almost like a mystical painting in hues of grey, ivory and silver. Gazers on had forgotten the actual name of this picturesque lake, which was Shungetser Tso, preferring to use its more glamorous counterpart. The pine groves that encircled the lake gave it a quaintly picture postcard appearance, casting their balmy fragrance around as well. What amazed us was the sight of a row of tree trunks sticking out piquantly in the middle of the lake, casting an unbroken row of reflections that enhanced the mysticism of the lake. Apparently, this lake had been created after a flash flood in 1950, when the waters changed their path and gushed their way around the trees in the adjoining areas. The impression we took away in ‘our inward eye’ was one of a serene untouched land, dotted with colourful prayer flags that pointed us towards the world famous Tawang Monastery, the tuneful sounds of the gongs, and smiling Buddhist monks in maroon robes, which made us feel that ‘all’s right with the world’! 4th prize winner in the Tiny Tales Contest

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