79: Pages

20 Mar

Sometime during the final stages of my unemployment, after I’d received confirmation of my next job, I dared to slink into the couch on a bright sunny afternoon to watch tv. It’s not like anything unusual or appealing ever shows on tv these days, which makes it less likely to happen on a weekday afternoon. But I was in luck, by such a freak chance, because Everest was playing, and it was a movie I really wanted to watch ever since it released. I managed to stay glued to the television, then oblivious of the setting sun or how its disappearance meant gearing myself up for colder evenings (we were still in the throes of winter). Perhaps I’d already been vicariously acclimatised thanks to the movie. Never had I felt this absorbed or engaged with a movie in a long time; and naturally, it stuck to my thoughts prominently enough to make me watch it twice more. Poring over client interviews of the 1996 expeditions ensued, and I never really stopped thinking about it. In fact, I made my family watch it and sat through the movie again with them, and happened to write about it over here as well.

But that wasn’t enough. I found myself hunting for Jon Krakauer’s retelling of the experience, which I’ve soaked myself into; savouring it a day at a time, sometimes keeping it aside intentionally just so it lasts longer. You’d say taking over 1.5 months to read a book you’re that connected with is a joke, but here I am, still just a little short of the 3/4th mark, and making quite the effort to tear myself away from it for selfish reasons. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that’s really made me want to come back to it without force, or even compulsion. Into Thin Air, is just that, and a lot more that the reader in me was thirsty for. Call it the influence of this fascination with the Everest that I’ve been unusually drawn to for years now, or the magnetism of a book that speaks to more than just the reader in me.

At this juncture when a lot of my “free” time is conjunct with life’s larger questions and ideas, here’s this book which feeds my need to find answers like a well the thirsty me has been craving for. Like Charlie, I want this treat of mine to last as long as it can, to stay with me and make me feel like I do belong to a tribe that has fascinations beyond the ordinary. Getting lost in his words, his encounters, his expressions, it’s not so much the writer but the magnanimity of it all put together which calls out to me. I do believe we all have our own quests dotted with our own mirrors and empty spaces that need filling. Past the horizon of everything that is tangible and known lies this radiant energy that makes me want to find answers via this book, this movie, and my general obsession with the Himalayas.

Sometimes pages stand still, sometimes they flurry past with no resolutions of answers or a way forward. Settling into the expanse of a space that is mine and mine alone, all in the suffocating confines of a page, lies that x factor which I’m unable to name or put a label on. The only awareness I have is that at the end of every single day, when the last thing I want is to look at a book, this particular one is the only thing that’s been calling out to me stronger than ever before.

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One Response to “79: Pages”

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  1. 144: | Babska's Journey - May 24, 2017

    […] – the entire experience that is the Himalayan expedition. I’ve written about it here, here, and here when I got hold of Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air after obsessively watching […]

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