Himalayan Dooms Day: End of many stories
April 10, 2017 | Yojna Jain
Link for Book
Part 1: Himalaya and ‘Phulki’
I am The Himalayas. Great, Massive, Chiranjeevi Himalayas! I am eternal, infinite, and infinitum. This is my story. Story of my rise and doom. Story of my glory and shame.
Numerous eras took birth and vanished in front of me but I stood swerve less. Gods reside on my chest. Great rivers emerge out of my eyes. Cells of my body explode into thousands of water bodies. Vast wilderness resides within me. Countless lives depend on me. Absolute bright white snow cover is mine.
There were days when I was so proud of my grandeur and immensity. I thought I am immovable. Who can shake me, who has? I'm invitation to climbers, and a haven for devotees! I am a mystery and eternal truth as well. Since centuries human ancestors worshipped me and I showered my love on them with open heart.
I am The Great Himalayas!
But time changes and so did for me:
Out of the countless human settlements residing in my lap, one of the most beautiful is Uttaranchal also known as Uttarakhand or Dev Bhoomi. And thence just 7 kilometers from Kedarnath- the abode of Shiva; and one of the four main Hindu pilgrims; was a village called Gaurikund. Amidst my lush green hills this was a tiny village of 55 Households with simple, kind people. At night time when I draped myself with white sheets of snow, the twinkling lights of Gaurikund adorned me so beautifully that I used to get mesmerized with my own beauty.
Phulki - This is the name of my little darling who lived in a small house of this beautiful village. I witnessed several generations of Phulki take birth, grow, and vanish in front of me but I swear she was the most cute and naughty of all and I loved her a lot. She was the daughter of the Himalayas. We were friends. Yes, this 7 year old girl considered me her friend. Me the mighty but old Himalayas! Alas! Aah!!! I was her friend, the best friend as she used to say. She used to tell me all her stories. Her day started with her coming out of the house; staring at me for long and then speaking aloud to me ….
“O Himalaya baba! Get up now! Its day time … See I am getting ready for school. You also wake up. We will talk at my way to school, have a lots to tell you…. Ok..? “
And then she used to tell me so many tales every day on her way to school and while coming back.
The other day she told me that how her younger brother stole and ate her share of samosa day before and how upset she was. But then she got happy when her mother promised to buy her red ribbon and doll from Kedarnath mela (Festival) next month. So excitedly she also told that “you know baba: we are Indians and name of our country is India.” She read it in her book. She also sat and cried in front of me when a mountain cat ate her pet parrot. I was sad too.
Her tales were never ending but I swear I enjoyed each word of it.
Phulki was such a tiny, sweet, beautiful creature. She was born as an underweight baby and was pretty low weight for her age. That’s the reason her parents called her “Halki phulki”. And then all started calling her “Phulki”. She was as white as my fresh snow but with a pinkish tint. She had brown mischievous eyes and brilliant dark brown hairs, always hidden under her red color pahari topi (mountain cap). In her school dress of gray sweater over her slaty color shirt and dark blue skirt with black bellies she looked like an angel from heavens in child avatar. When she used to run with her small steps towards her school singing “Hukus Fukus”, I couldn’t control my laughter. Her innocent voice still stammering though, was the melodist sound I ever heard. Phulki was very fond of reading and loved her school. Her daily journey to her 5 km far off school was uphill and exhausting but how this little courageous girl enjoyed it with fun, could surprise anyone including me.
Two km from the paved road from her house till the bus stand; and from there was a rough road 3 km up hill. Along the way it was dilapidated sidewalks filled with branches and vines hanging from the top. Some pit holes one needed to be careful of. One km on this road comes a plane ground. After that there was a small streamlet. Over this streamlet was a small wooden bridge made by villagers themselves to cross the stream. Although it was a weak wooden bridge that shook while walking and so dangerous to use; but still it was one of Phulki’s favorite places.
“Yaay! Tomorrow is Thursday” - Phulki was so happy while coming back from school one day. They used to get rice kheer on Thursday in school as mid day meal and she loved the sweet kheer. Today her school teacher also told her about Kalpana Chawla, who went to sky in her big plane. Phulki was amazed with this and started dreaming that one day she will also fly in the sky like Kalpana Chawla.
Alas! Sometimes I think if entire world could be as innocent and pure hearted as Phulki, what a beautiful place it would become! But today is there any humanity left in “so called” Human? Needs and desires of every human being had risen higher and higher, much higher beyond me “the Himalayas”. But these facets of human greed will end up with nothing but devastation and annihilation.
And here it comes!!!!!
Part 2: Your preparation for disaster
When this earth was created, Mother Nature had a great job ahead of her. She had to allot and share her resources among all her precious children. She was logical, unbiased, and showered her motherly love equally on all, based on their need for survival. Birds were ordered to nest. Animals got open land; rabbit got his den, rat his hole, fish the pond and lake. Human got the same portion of ecosystem as other land creatures. Alas! But the biggest ever mistake made by nature was to give intellect to human species. Torso vs. head disproportion is anyways a design flaw in human body structure that may be attributed to the consequences.
About ten thousand years ago you humans evolved on earth. Grew in the lap of nature; used natural resources and then gradually started exploiting them. First made friends with animals, then tamed them, killed them, and invaded their abode to fulfill your never-ending luxury living desires. Lifted soil from ground and made walls. And these walls became the major reason of your detachment from nature. Still nature loved you, bared with you. Till mud wall and thatched grass roof all was ok. But then came your industrial revolution that started injecting toxins in the chest of nature. The walls were fixed now. Money plant in your flower pots laughed at my jungle trees in danger. Fishes in aquarium felt blessed and teased those in the sea. Development was redefined and according to it dust free surrounding was a developed surrounding. A stable ecosystem as it was for 10’s of thousand years was entirely changed by you mighty humans in last few 100s years. As you humans multiplied yourself, so increased your movement; your reach; and your technology that brought toll on me and all other beautiful facets of Mother Nature. To purify air and water of your portion what you gave to Mother Nature was only extermination.
Me, the once almighty Himalayas, is no exception, which paid for your mistakes. Year on year you kept invading me, contaminating me, riddling my chest with dynamite. Oh! How white I was once, and now I am Pale! I was once almighty and now am so weak and frail. I cry! I cry whenever your big machines rip my heart, burn and kill my forests, and forest life thereon. I cry out loud when you fill my once pure and pious water bodies with your filth.
But enough is enough. One day this all will end. All of us will revolt and that day will be the dooms day!
Bear the consequences!
Part 3: Dooms day!
And then one day! History will remember that day as the Himalayan dooms day.
It was one dark day of June month otherwise my favorite rainy season. Phulki got up a bit late that day. Hurried up to get ready and ran towards school carrying her khaki color school bag. As a daily ritual she stopped to get her two toffees from the corner shop. Despite of getting late she didn’t forget to bow in front of the small temple on her way. Again today she jumped and jumped but failed to ring the high hanging temple bells.
“Ok, no problem, one day I will be very tall and then I will ring the bell at my own” - Said my Phulki looking towards me.
Phulki went on her way. It was raining very heaving for last few days and nights. Today it was better so she insisted to go to school; though her mother didn’t want to send her. Road was filled with water. Earth tried to absorb as much as it could but it was overflowing and it was all muddy and morass. The frothy spring water Phulki used to daily play with was in dreadful angry form today. Trees, river, springs, bridge all on her way to school were her friends like me. Daily they waited her to pass them. Squirrel, butterfly, deer, had a relationship with her. But today, all seemed different. It was a scary, horrific, uncanny, dreadful feel in the air that day. My brave Phulki also got a bit scared and cried out for me when she slipped on the bridge. Ah! My heart skipped a beat. But she was fine and reached her home that day.
But it was just the start of misfortune.
The dawn of June 17, 2013
The day of Himalayan Cataclysm – day of big catastrophe
Heaven broke open. The earth began to tremble with fear. I was just opening my eyes with dawn and what I felt was a sharp pain in my chest radiating towards my back and shoulder. Was it a heart attack? There were loud horrific sounds around. “Oh, what is it?” After a few minutes only I could realize that some of my body parts had revolted.
3800 meters above sea level was my Chorabari glacier – from where originates the Mandakini River. As usual Mandakini was flowing happily in her twists and turns, swirling and dancing around. Suddenly something hit her hard at back. She was awestruck. She got the push again, harder this time. Then before she could realize, sudden torrential rainfall of 340 mm that was 375% higher than the benchmark just flooded her and she was thrown harshly out of her boundaries. She never wanted that. She was worshipped by the locals and gave them life. She cried and cried as she was now taking on hundreds of lives on her go. But it was out of her control.
Meanwhile, after a sudden cloudburst in Uttarkashi, water levels of her fellow rivers Bhagirathi and Asiganga also increased drastically and soon they also crossed their folds and boundaries to take dire forms. And then there were incessant rains; the water level of the Ganges and Yamuna rose rapidly. Kumaon or Garhwal, rain came down badly everywhere. Ganga in Haridwar inched closer to the danger mark due to which hundreds of villages located on the banks of the Ganges flooded. Life came to a standstill. Himachal the neighboring state of Uttarakhand, was also greatly influenced by this disaster. There was carnage everywhere. Floods led to landslides leading to hundreds of villages ravaged.
Home of Shiva, Kedarnath became a horror village completely destructed within hours. The entrance to the holy shrine and all around was swept away or completely destroyed. Hundreds of people were buried in the temple. Several human settlements, temple, cemetery roads, bridges, lost their existence. Heap of “shavas” replaced chant of “Shiva”.
I watched the catastrophe of my own body parts helplessly. How could I stop it, I was handicapped by human itself. I saw all this with open eyes. My entire existence was shaken, my body was shattered, my rivers were devastated, and I was in utter shock. Where there was celebration, glee, hope, uproar, prayers, devotion, and spirituality in the air just few hours back, now there was deadly silence after an orgy of death.
Suddenly I cried out loud!
Where is my Phulki? Where is she? Oh! I was so panicked? I looked around….
Like hundreds of other villages Gaurikund lost its existence completely. Entire 55 households and living beings inside them turned into debris and immersed in me. Her house, her road, all her friends; that bird, that deer, that tree and … and her favorite wooden bridge…….. All were gone, buried in me, lifeless.
“No, no…..nothing can happen to my Phulki” I cried aloud! This is my fault. I can’t kill my darling!
And madly I started searching her around, within myself for days! And then one day what I found was –
The little white shoe of my Phulki buried in my debris. Already broken Me, was completely broken to the core.
Here she was. Immersed in me. Within her baba. In my lap but LIFELESS. Perhaps flying in sky like Kalpana Chawla.
And then after this great Himalayan Cataclysm, came great environmentalists who tested me scientifically. This was not a one day misfortune. Humans prepared decades for this day. They planted a time bomb inside me that I didn’t knew and they never realized when they built dams and resorts on me, walked on me, dumped their garbage inside me for last so many decades. It was a slow poison infused in me day by day. But then it took toll on me and all those I loved including my “Phulki”.
And so... The eternal, infinite, The Great Himalayas! Huhhh!!!
In true terms, today the helpless, old, broken Himalayas covered in the shroud of white snow, thinking whose fault was this?
Mine? Ya, I am weak now.
Phulki’s? That she loved me, and trusted me?
Of human desires, greed, and short sightedness?
I hope you humans learn some lessons from this………..
I am the Himalayas! Once Massive, Great, Chiranjeevi Himalayas!