The Man & the Mountain
By Imtiyaz Khan
Date of Publication : 2016
Publisher : Notion Press
I did not want, but I had no option than to introduce myself for the sake of courtesy. I just told him that my name was Sabhir Ali and that I was a banker by profession. This was all that I told him about myself; nothing more or nothing less. On the other hand, he did not ask any question, no did he desire to make any effort to know about my past life, who I was, or what had happened to me.
He was a very knowledgeable person and able all a naturalist, who loved mountains more than anything else. I was quite amazed by the level of knowledge he possessed, particularly regarding the natural history. You could ask him any question you liked and there he would go on endlessly, explaining things to its minute detail.
He was also well-versed in other subjects. During the course of our discussion, I learned many new things from him which were otherwise unknown to me. Sometimes he would suddenly stop and make me to look at small plants which had medicinal value, thereby introducing me to the world of botany and forestry. I was surprised as to how he could shift from one subject to another which were not connected to each other.
Having never climbed such a high mountain before and not being used to such long and arduous treks, it was becoming tiresome for me. The mountain slowly started to overpower me. I simply could not move up and began to perspire profusely, drank more and more water, even though I knew that we had limited quantity with us. I realized how wrong I had been in underestimating the mountain. I could feel that he was also tired now because after all he was a human, much older than me and comparatively with little energy. He did not express his weakness but bravely trudged up instead. Seeing his condition, which was worse than mine, I did not say a word.
He was old, and I was young. Ironically, he was behaving like a young man, whereas I behaved like an old. It was going to be against my self-esteem if I would tell him that we should stop for a while. Even though he limped, I was fascinated by the way he went up, slowly and patiently with the aid of his stick. It would be a matter of shame for me if I would say to him that I was feeling tired, so slowly I moved up the mountain without complaining.
Afte few more hours of climb, the forest cover ended and the mountain become barren. I now understood why he asked me to collect firewood along the way. “We have crossed the tree line and now all you can see is a barren mountain,” he said to me trying to explain the reason for a sudden change in topography. This was not enough for him and he continued talking about geology and geography of mountains.
To be continued….
About the author :
Imitiyaz Khan has done his schooling from CMS Tyndale Biscoe School, Srinagar, where like many of his school mates, he got interested in trekking and mountaineering. He was born and brought up in Srinagar city and has lived his entire life there except for brief stints in Delhi and Bangalore. He works in the banking sector and trekking is his passion. He likes to travel, explore new places and roam in the wilderness whenever he got an opportunity. Fond of photography, he spends time reading and collecting books. ‘The Man & the Mountain’ is his maiden attempt at wordcraft.
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