The latter half of this year has been like any other the world over. Upheavals, momentous events, etc all has had their fair share and our website too has undergone some modifications with an aim to be ever transforming and evolving with each edition. Even to the extent that this July - December 2005 issue is being posted three months after it was due. If any of you have missed it and had been wondering "why" then let me put the matter to rest. The entire issue had been ready for a long while and the delay has been solely due to my being absence from the scene of action. However, mind you, I had been seeing and experiencing action aplenty over all these days. In between, I just managed to make a stopover at home and our web master caught hold of me and threatened me with dire consequences if I did not hammer out the editorial before doing my disappearing act again. So here it is.
During July while the skies opened up in India and rain poured like a gigantic waterfall from heaven, I made few forays up and about into the mountains, lush hills and the verdant forests of north India. Memory fails me now as to what I was actually engaged in, but I do have these lingering visions of mists rolling down distant mountains that appeared one after another through the morning haze. After that came the long sojourn to the European Alps where I had a freewheeling time in the Swiss and French Alps climbing and climbing and climbing, and sleeping whenever I got the time. I met up with many of my friends from all over the world, many accidental encounters too. The most surprising meeting took place atop the breathtaking summit of Monch.
On my way down from the top, along with my friends from Poland and France, just while we were negotiating the knife-edge ridge under the bright noon sun, we came across a group of four climbers on their way up. Fully wrapped up in climbing paraphernalia there was no possibility of my knowing who they were. True to mountaineering ethics, we dug our ice axes into the slopes and stepped aside for the uphill traffic. With a slight nod, they started moving up, crossing us real close, as there was barely any space on that sharp ridge. Suddenly I found myself staring at the gaping teeth of the lead climber of the group.
'Satya san,' the guy screamed over the tearing wind, 'what are you doing here?'
Only a Japanese would address you thus and would ask you such an obvious question. I took off my dark glasses, peered close into the face, and realized it was my dear friend from the Japanese Alpine Club, whom I had last met few years ago in Tokyo during one of my lectures. It was a joyous occasion and we all hugged, bowed, and exchanged notes. As I left my friends to complete their climb to the summit and descended I wondered how small the world was!
On my return to India, I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of Limca Book of Records, 2005 that featured my interview. Now that the festive season is all around, it seems appropriate to undertake some serious weight gaining enterprise as I have lost considerably during the climbing trip. I have another major expedition coming up in December to the furthest flung corners of Arunachal Pradesh and I still have many promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. So I would like to take your leave, wish you all the very best in life and let you step into this issue of our journal of book reviews. Happy reading, happy dreaming. take care.
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