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The Stones of Ladakh


I'm poor, but I sleep well at night.
I make my own clothes, I grow my own food,
I make earthen utensils; I have 50
mountain cows, and they supply me milk,
butter, cream, et cetera.
Down below in the plains — there lives
Hindus and Muslims; they come here
as tourists, in the summers.

I have 5 boys: all of them go to school; when they
come back home — they tell us about fascinating
stories of America, of Europe, and other
such places.
I have a small television in the house.
My boys love to watch movies
of Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, and so on.

Although life in here is harsh in the
mountains, there are certain advantages here—
For example, we have no mosquitoes here. In
summer nights, I stay awake for long
and enjoy the iridescent stars overhead—
We are an old people; we are like a colossal
tree whose roots are so deep in the earth
that they can not be traced anymore; I tell
my boys to have respect for the old way
of life — but they want to go to the cities,
they want to drive cars. . .

I have lost most of my teeth, and I'm only
barely 60. I can not eat hard food anymore,
I have to crush food with my gum.
I have other health problems, too; but I do not
want to go to a (city) doctor. I do not care
for this body. I'm a Buddhist — I believe
that we live innumerable times, and
innumerable bodies are waiting for us.

In my next life, I would like to become
a bird (an eagle specifically) — and I shall
travel the entire world on my own
wings. After my journey is over, I shall return here,
in Ladakh, and search for the meandering
river, named "Kaali", and become a boulder
on Kaali's banks.
I believe all the boulders in the world were
humans once. They, like me, had
metamorphosed into birds. Then they
ossified, and became boulders.

I have bought a Kodak digital camera—
In my free time, I take pictures of
boulders that strike me: and upload them
to Flickr. I want to record every boulder
in Ladakh.


Hegel (author) from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on March 15, 2021:

Thank you, Chitra ji.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 15, 2021:

Beautifully composed poem. Thank you for taking us to the amazing scenario of Ladakh, the beauty of which is not possible to describe.

I liked your lines with reference to the elderly, being deep rooted and grounded.

Excellent piece of writing. Thank you for sharing.

Hegel (author) from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on March 15, 2021:

Thank you, John.

Hegel (author) from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on March 15, 2021:

Thank you, Peggy.

Hegel (author) from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on March 15, 2021:

Thank you, Misbah.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on March 14, 2021:

Tanmoy, this was a very engaging story. I like the Buddhist belief of being reincarnated, and given a choice, think I would choose an eagle also. Movies and TV does give children a yearning for other places and lifestyles. It is good to see you finding new subjects and inspiration.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 14, 2021:

Thanks for sharing your part of the world with us and your beliefs. I hope your wishes come true.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on March 14, 2021:

Tanmoy, This is a great share

I am glad to see you are finding good subjects to write on

I want to see the world’s biggest and highest road there “Khardung La“

I have heard a lot about it

Thanks for sharing

Have a blessed Sunday

Hegel (author) from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on March 14, 2021:

Thank you, Manatita bhaiya.

Om Shanti!

Hegel (author) from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on March 14, 2021:

Thank you, Ann.

manatita44 from london on March 14, 2021:

What a beautiful piece! So well narrated! I really like this take on Ladakh and its people. Awesome!

Yes, all kids East and West are going the ways of the 21st century. Evolution is moving very fast! Om Shanti!

Ann Carr from SW England on March 14, 2021:

Enchanting! A great glimpse of such a life and upheld beliefs.


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