Skip to main content

The Rocks Speak

ANTARCTICA : 28.11.07

India is a country full of statues carved out of small and big rocks. They are as live as could be. They have been part of our culture and history from ancient times and give us a vivid account of life of people of a particular era and area. They are now major tourist attractions. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora are awe-inspiring, how in that era people went into those hills, discovered those caves, and just with chisel and hammer produced wonder to last till this planet lasts. Or for that the famous erotic sculptures at Khajuraho or Sun Temple at Konark only leave you spellbound. Similarly, the marvels of near Mysore are just breathtaking. Each and every piece of art is not only to admire but it gives living account of the history, culture of its people. That a piece of rock even without it being transformed into a piece of art could tell us about the evolution of world, I only recently learnt in Antarctica.

We have, in India, seen any number of movies where sculptures are important part of the main story line, or sculptor plays a crucial role in the movie. Who can forget the immortal scence of 'Mughal-e-Azam' where the seductress of that era, Madhubala playing Anarkali, makes her grand appearance in the court of Emperor Akbar disguised as a magnificent marble statue. Any number of movies, for example, Guide, Neel Kamal, can be named. One movie takes the cake 'Geet Gayon Pathhron Ne' (Song by the rocks) made by none other than legendry Shanta Ram.

I accompanied the team from Geological Survey of India for their study and collection of samples from some rocky area of Schirmachar hills. By the way, GSI is one of the earliest scientific institutions established in India, in 1851. It was a very educative experience for me. I felt truly "Antarctican" of being in the white desert. All around us was just ice and ice, and then you understand why it is called a white desert. It reminds you of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer areas of Rajasthan. You only have to think of sand instead of ice and snow. Some rocks here and there and not a blade of grass. Not only that, you also see dunes here similar to sand dunes of the desert. The only difference is that in a typical desert the sand dunes keep on shifting, but the crests and troughs here are kind of permanent. Secondly, the language used by these geologists was as if they were describing some living specimen, for example, words like veins, corona, age, full of character, no character etc. A piece of stone that I found beautiful was dismisses as of no signicant character, and what they found as 'full of life' was clear to me only when they explained to me its physical, chemical properties and its evolutionary history. They gave me some pieces of rocks to carry home as souvenir. I was reluctant. Chitra would certainly chide me that I go to Antarctica via South Africa and do not buy a diamond, but bring some big, heavy and uneven piece of stone as a gift.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Winter Embrace of Kedarkantha

TREK TO VALLEY OF FLOWERS AND HEMKUND SAHIB

When I told my family and friends that I wanted to trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib this August, everyone thought I was just crazy. Besides Delhi, the rain gods had been relentless over Uttarakhand too causing road breaches at multiple sites in various hill towns. There were landslides everywhere and traffic to all the well known pilgrimage centres of Badri Nath, Kedar Nath, Gangotri and Yamunotri were getting cut off from rest of the country every now and then. The group I was trying to assemble had fallen through. But to do justice to the Valley of Flowers, one has to trek there in the month of August only when the entire valley is at its best bloom. So finally, I enquired at the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd (www.gmvnl.com) if they had any vacancy for its weekly tour to Valley of Flowers – Hemkund Sahib – Badri Nath. Of course, they did not have any for the month of August. However, I was banking on some cancellations hoping some people might not like to venture on this…

REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY

REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY
Recently on my visit to Chawri Bazaar in old and real Delhi, where my ancestors settled, lived and thrived ever since Bahadur Shah Zafar left Delhi, the paanwala (read panwaari) gave me a good lesson in Reverse Psychology. Before I give you my story, let me explain what Reverse Psychology is. By the way, Chawri Bazaar is close to Chandni Chowk. Metro stops at both these places. For the uninitiated, the important landmarks of Old Delhi are, Ajmeri Gate (adjacent to the New Delhi Railway station), Sita Ram Bazaar, Lal Kuan, Jama Masjid, Fateh Puri, Town Hall, Nai Sarak, Kinari bazaar, etc. The famous ‘parathe wali gali’ is in a narrow street off Chandni Chowk. Many important historical landmarks are there; Lal Kila, Jain Temple and its world famous Birds’ Hospital, Gauri Shankar Mandir, Gurudwara Shish Ganj sahib, Ghalib’s haveli and many others. This area is famous for many age-old traditions in eateries. Parathe of parathe wali gali, dahi-bhalla of Central Bank, vari…