My friend, the Young Mountain

The Purple Corner

Akanksha Joshi, an award winning documentary film maker based in New Delhi writes a poetic rumble, one that puts an ear to the heart of the Himalaya. And hears the ultrasound of man’s doings and undoing. A fresh take on a long relationship the mountains have with rivers and people with nature.

The story is old, very old. About 90 million years ago. India began a journey. Not the nation, but the land mass. It split from what used to be a huge continent - Africa, South America, Australia, Arabia, Antarctica. Somehow, this land seemed to be in a hurry. Travelling fast. Northwards. About 18 cm per year. Simultaneously rotating, creating oceans, and finally, colliding with Asia.

A part of the land went down, another part came up. Some folded, some twisted. Bits of the ocean's crust, Tibetan earth and bits of the Indian earth, all mish-mashed to emerge as the world youngest mountains. Yes, the Himalaya. Since some 10 million years, growing. And showing no signs of stopping.

To a mountain, growth often means intense periods of the earth rumbling, opening, breaking, transforming. It’s a phase of tenderness, innocence and beauty. But also that of fragility. Anything can happen, anytime. Your friendliest curve, may become an angle. Your favorite valley, your beauty spot, might disappear forever. Your knee may turn into your tooth. Anything is possible. It’s a challenging time.

Times like these, everybody needs friends. Rivers are the mountains best friends. What makes them 'best' is that they do two things. Sometimes, they dance with the mountains. Sing songs, laze around, have a cozy. And other times, they rage. Get angry. Wild in their deep gorges.

You'd say, 'But anger is a bad thing! How can you be angry with your friend? That’s not good!' Anger, like that of the river, can help clear a lot of muck. You see, the clouds? They travel around. They carry the weight of the world. And sometimes, when the time is right, they unburden, reveal the pain of their heart to the young mountain. They pour, pour, pour, pour. For the young mountain, handling all this pain gets tough. He is small, you see. And the pain is huge. He shivers. He crumbles.

But his friend, the river? She is a sister of the ocean! She knows the art of absorbing pain. She drinks it in. Transforms into rage. A rage that takes away all that hinders growth, all that hinders the flow. Of Life.

Its natural. It happens.
And sometimes, it involves us.

You see, it’s like living with a friend. You realize what makes him feel happy, what saddens him. When he is grumpy, what can bring a smile on his face. Slowly, slowly. You learn to breathe with him, to grow with him.

With the young mountain, we learnt how to live.
Then, we forgot.

We forgot that the mountain is still young. Alive. Growing. We forgot that he is still breathing. We forgot that the clouds cry. We forgot that the river rages. We forgot. We made them into dead objects, possessions. Of beauty. Of profit. In this world, or that. To use. To throw.

We forgot that river has her own home. Her verandah, her floodway. She may not visit that often, but its hers! She can come when she wants, how she wants. And she does, she did.

The river is big. We are small. Our houses, our hotels, our profits, our businesses, our plans - very small. The mountain might be young, but its 10,000,000 years old, and we  60, 80, 99, at most?

The Indian subcontinent is moving northwards at the rate of 67mm per year. The young mountains are maturing, growing, at the rate of 1 cm a year.

In next 10 million years Indian land mass will be 1500 kms into Asia. And our young mountain? Much bigger than he is now! The story may be old. But its alive, its growing.

Akanksha is in the nature of wandering minstrels, a story-teller who uses films, sound, text and dance to share her experiences of the visible and inner worlds.
She is also an award winning film maker and photographer. Her oeuvre stretches from stories of compassion, Gujarat 2002- Passengers to spending four years on the banks of Chilika Lake in Orissa. Another few roaming the forests, the deltas and the arid lands for her most recent award winning work- Earth Witness. She is the recipient of many awards for cinematography, direction, and a nomination for the Wild Screen awards at Bristol 2012.She continues to be a one woman film company who films, edits, scripts and directs herself.

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