Childhood in the mountains
We recently visited Great Himalayan National Park, in Himachal Pradesh (June 2019). Close to our base camp village Guishaini, we got to visit another village called “Tinder”. While Gushaini is the last village connected to towns by a pakka round, Tinder is currently is connected to the Gushaini only by a kaccha route through the hills. Construction is going on to make a tar road that will be going all the way up to Tinder. Our host and guide Basant, hailed from the village Tinder. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit his home and lovely family.
On the last evening of our stay, we went for a stroll around the village. Angel, the 3 year old grand daughter of the house accompanied her grandfather and us. We walked through the narrow lanes between the houses, then downhill, by the sides of the Rajma fields and the government school. Once on the ground on her own, Angel broke into a run, under the watchful eye of her grandfather.
She picked up blades of leaves and pretended to sword fight with us. As we crossed more narrow paths, Angel’s grandfather lifted her. He put her back down when the route was not dangerous (for a kid). He held her hand as she jumped over rocks to avoid the slush.
” She has no fear. She is a natural in the mountains here”,… Basant told us, as we watched in awe her spirit and energy, and she balanced on the edge of the path.
No sooner did we reach a stream, she got down and drank a few sips of water from the flowing stream.
She just did not get tired. Her energy lasted till we reached home. During our hour walk, she pointed out at the things she found interesting, kept asking her grandfather questions, played with mud, washed her hands in the stream, drank its water, collected leaves and flowers! It was such a delight to watch her play and stroll with us. One cannot imagine an environment like this for a city child, to be able to roam about so freely in such picturesque scapes, drink water from where ever you want. An evening spent with them made me reflect on the wonderful environment of this 3 year old.
I wonder if that road comes up, will the future children of that village get to experience an environment like this?
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My name is Adithi Muralidhar. I am a nature enthusiast based in Mumbai, India.
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