In India, when somebody says ‘river’, they mean ‘the Ganga’. And if somebody says ‘hills’, it’s, unquestionably, ‘the Himalayas’. And if you ask me, I think that there’s no other mountain range that’s as fascinating as the Himalayas.

One obvious reason for this love is that I grew up in the Shivaliks, the lowest Himalayan range. For me, a rising sun isn’t beautiful unless it rises from behind the hills, neither is a sunset as alluring as the one that plays the shadow game on hills. Stars never look clearer than what you can see from the peak, neither does the Moon gets more romantic when it’s seen while perched atop a rock.

People say that I suffer from the HIH Syndrome, that is Happy In Hills Syndrome. And I don’t deny it. In all their loftiness, the Himalayas make me feel at home. The higher you go in these terrains, the more humane souls you meet. Folks, who smile at you, with those smiles stretching up to the brim of their eyes.

Miles away from any traces of urbanity, hills are God’s kingdom.

The same set of people also say that for me, a hill is just a whim away. If a night has me dreaming of hills, a few mornings is the longest time I can wait to hit the road again. No amount of doping can give you a high that can equal one that comes when you, carelessly, dangle over a cliff, breathing in the thin pine-laden air, in love with life, in sync with nature.

But yes, don’t forget to secure some ropes to yourself, or this dangling might turn risky!

Tibet, Ladakh and the cliff side wonder country of Bhutan – my pit stops for the coming years. I cross myself as I write it, for I can’t risk these dreams, can’t risk them not coming true. All these wonderlands are shacked neatly in the might Himalayas.

Heinrich Harrer was lucky for seven years, I’m aiming for a lifetime joy. Again, I cross myself.

Ahhh… How I wish! I’m in love – yes, hills can do that wonder to me.

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