Diary

The Mountain Walker Diaries: Isolation and Introspection 

Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India, 28 January 2017, 1500 hours:
I had a good day today, walking 5 kilometres by myself. I had a lot on my mind, and before I knew it, I was sitting on a rock ledge near the Kaza Circuit House, thinking and absent-mindedly watching Red Starts flying and playing in the vicinity.
What is it that drives me? What does it mean to be a householder? What does it mean to be a writer? A father? A mentor? A team member? A citizen?
If there is one thing I abhor it is inactivity. I guess one could say that being gainfully occupied is my sole purpose in life. 
I like being snow-bound, cut-off from the world around. But I am also a creature of responsibilities, raised to make the best effort possible to move things forward. It is not in me to sit back and accept situations and wait for change to happen by grace of providence. If I have learned anything from nature, it is to adapt, to mould myself to my environment with the sole purpose of moving on. 
The past two days I have been occupied with shoots and interviews, but I have also been thinking and talking to everybody I meet.
Today, I spoke to the workers of the Public Works Department near the Kaza Helipad. There were 15-odd snow-shovellers, all from Kaza. Then I met personnel from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), and senior personnel from the local police, villagers from Shigoh and Tuling (which is across the Spiti and one gets there by crossing a wooden bridge), tourist cab drivers from Shimla and Kinnaur, villagers from Lidang who came by car, and a couple of local shop-keepers.
Speaking to so many people, I learned a lot about the condition of the roads right up till Shimla and what was being done at various places to open the roads, which organisation was involved, what were the challenges, sources of information, protocols, alternatives, and a whole lot more.
It didn’t open up the roads. Or change the situation. But I now know most of the dots that need to be connected. And, more importantly, who are the people who could possibly move things along or provide alternatives.
After lunch, I wrote the scripts for three short documentaries, and after discussion with the team, passed it on for production and execution.
This evening I will take up planning tasks for the year ahead. And hopefully round off the day with a reading of short stories or of a chapter of the History of the Japanese People.
Tomorrow will be a new day. We may leave from here and drive like mad to make the January 30th flight from Chandigarh to Pune. Or we may not.
Either way, I am fine wherever I may be because I will be meeting people, walking a few kilometres, trying to find a way forward, writing, sketching, listening, and rediscovering my equilibrium.

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