Monday, March 26, 2007

Low investment, high returns

A bitterly cold December morning in Darjeeling. My alarm rang at 3 30 am. I unwillingly dragged myself out from under the thick quilt, and woke up my friends, who were equally reluctant to get out into the biting cold. We cursed and fretted, got up and washed in the freezing water and stepped out into the darkness, tumbled into a jeep and set out to catch the world-famous sunrise at Tiger Hill. We dozed in the jeep, shivering under layers of clothes, and I kept muttering, why exactly am I sitting here, freezing in this jeep when I could be curled up under the warm quilt at the hotel? No answer.

But a couple of hours later, I had just finished witnessing one of the most magical sights of my life. The sunrise at Tiger Hill. I had seen the enchanting Kanchenjunga in the first rays of the sun, and even now, eight years later, I count it as one of the best experiences of my life.

All I had to do was withstand some cold and give up three hours of sleep, and I had got myself an experience that I will always cherish.

So simple.

I cannot count the number of times I have cribbed at being woken up at 5 am on a Sunday to go for a walk at Lalbagh. But each of those walks remain in my memory as some of the best days of my childhood.

I remember how much I cried about being waken up by my parents at 2 am in the night to watch my first complete lunar eclipse, and my first comet. But I'll never forget either experience, ever.

I would get so irritated with my father for waking me up at dawn when we were on vacation - couldn't he see that I was sleepy? But he would say, "You can sleep any time, you might not get another chance to visit this beautiful place and see the view at this hour ever again".

How I hated being woken up by my mother at 4 am in the morning at Mysore, just to make me listen to the terrifying roar of the lions in the zoo, 5-6 km away. But how I cherish that memory now - knowing that I'll probably never hear anything like that ever again.

It is not just about losing sleep. Some of the best places I have been, have been travelled to in rickety little village buses. Or been travelled to for long hours in hot, dusty trains, with upset stomachs. Or in hot old shaky taxis, thirsty and hungry. But though I do remember that there was some discomfort, I don't remember how much or how it felt. All I remember is what I saw and enjoyed.

Life holds a lot of treasures - how much of it you will find depends on how much hardship you are ready to face.

Little discomforts, which will be forgotten in no time - in exchange for memories of a lifetime. What a small price to pay!


Shammi said...

True, true, SO true. I would have missed a spectacular sunrise over the frozen Yellowstone Lake last year, were it not for my brother who was unquenchably enthusiastic about waking up at 4am, even though it was a few degrees below freezing, to set up his camera just right to film the sunrise. It was absolutely fantastic and I owe my brother for not missing it! I am a little ashamed of grumbling so much... but I do so love my sleep too! :)

Full2 Faltu said...

Its also probably the efforts you took. The whole experience to get that one moment of beauty makes it definitely worth it. I still remember my one walk through the black forest in Germany with our dog was worth taking him for a walk that morning. It was the most memorable moment in that entire three days trip


Anonymous said...

I am one of the habitual late sleepers! But yes totally agree with you here. When we give up certain small things we consider as pleasure normally, we achieve something that's infinitely more cherishable! Superb post!

Anonymous said...

"Life holds a lot of treasures - how much of it you will find depends on how much hardship you are ready to face." -- So true.


Oracle said...

There is no bigger bliss than sleep all through the night. Comets and eclipse notwithstanding! :)

Anonymous said...

your committment to take all these made you wake up and take so even though you were feeling like taking nap/rest your mind made me to experience these wonderful moments which may come once in a life time opportunity.
great narration with all relevant links good post shruthi keep going


Anonymous said...

Oh how true, Shruthi.....just that little discomfort goes a long way in giving us some of the best moments of our lives.

Well written, keep going.

Sachin said...

Great post!!! Reminds me of the time when we had woken up at 4:30 am at Kanyakumari last year to see the sunrise there. We went to the rooftop of the hotel we were staying at and it was pitch dark even then. We then realized that there was a heavy cloud cover with a few showers the previous day so we did not get to see the sun rise after all.

But even then, just that experience of seeing the rosy tinted sky behind those clouds and knowing that the Sun god was somewhere behind in all his glory was something that I will never forget. The Kanyakumari temple right at the tip of India was so beautifully outlined in that light!!! Makes all the effort waking worth it.

Your post is now inspiring me to do something I've being trying for the last 2 months - get up at 6 am and go for the proverbial "morning walk"!

Good to see a post after long, Shruthi!!

Usha said...

I agree that little discomforts are a small price to pay for such wonderful memories - but it is funny, I cannot remember anything like that in my life.Never been to a forest, never trekked - god, I seem to have missed a lot.

Prashanth M said...

Nice write-up.. this reminded me of my journey which I travelled in a train, bus, truck, auto, bicycle, a moped - same day, to reach a place...

let me see whether I can convert that into a blog-post :)

chitra said...

"Little discomforts, which will be forgotten in no time - in exchange for memories of a lifetime. What a small price to pay! "

So profound. But many of us are shortsighted. And prefer to take the shotcuts.

P.S. : It was sweet of you to link the story written by shankari at Blogbharati.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Well written --- very well written in fact. Nobody hates getting up any more than I do, but some of the treasures of nature are indeed hidden in the primeval moments of dawn. Thank you for reminding me of that.

Shruthi said...

Shyam, I love my sleep too! :) That's why this post needed to be written ;)

Punds, you are right. It could be the efforts we take too - interesting perspective.

Mysorean, Praneshachar, Vani, thanks!

Suyog, yup - wisdom gathered from personal experience :)

Oracle, this post seems to be just for you :)

Sachin, wow, sounds wonderful! And great! Looking forward to read your experiences of your morning walk ;)

Usha, its never too late, is it?

Prashanth, wow, that IS interesting! Yup, a blog post, please!

Chitra, yes, that's why I wanted to share my thoughts with everybody so that they don't miss out on great experiences!
Shankari's writeup is so good - it was begging to be linked!

Sudipta, thanks. And glad that you understand! :)

Junius said...

ya we can sleep n sleep but i have miles to go before i sleep
(and after i sleep :D)

Anonymous said...

As for sunrises, I have one magnificent show to recomment, much closer home. Head to Hampi in peak winter, get on the top of Matanga Parvatha before 6am and just sit there for the magic to unfold.

I know how it is to wake up early in the morning in the Himalayas. We were in a harder condition. At 14k feet we woke up at 3.30am in hopeless cold, and walked up to watch the golden glow on Kanchenjunga, and yet we missed it! But like you say, they are all very very memorable.

Raj said...

Like work-outs, doing it is tough, but the thought of 'having done it' is great! Very well written piece, as always.

Viky said...

This is great!!!

BTW, i see supremus has lost his 'r'!!!

8&20 said...

the question, now, is - the next time you need to wake up early to see a magnificent sunrise, or the like, will you do it without complaining for a second? :)

Viky said...

On boxing day, people here get up at 3 am and line up in front of NEXT - a retail chain - because he offers upto 80% off.

All of them in the line are cribbing about getting up in the morning - but when they take home car loads of loot, I dont think they would be thinking about losing sleep.

A very low investment indeed!!!

Prashanth M said...

Here it is - post on travelling in almost all available road transports in a day :)

Sanjay said...

Very true. I always find it easier to wake up early in the morning when I am traveling, for the same reason that your dad gave - You never know when you might pass that way again.

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