Living by the sea, and thinking of the snow clad peaks. That defines me the best. Rather than defining myself, I should look at defining the world today. A lot of things have actually changed the way I used to look at the world or the way the world seemed to be to me. In so many years, I have seen a very distinct change in the world around me. I have seen a change in the way I fit into this world. Today I have seen the larger world than just the one I had seen sitting behind my dad on his scooter.
It was 1991 when I had just heard about the internet and its powers. My uncle told me back then that soon we would be able to follow a cricket match on the computer. Little did I know that this very thing called the Internet would become a part of every household. In 1997 when I got my first computer, I was given a shell account :( then upgraded to TCP/Ip account on a 9600 bps modem… anyway… those were different times. Now we have a 100 Mbps LAN with 24 hour internet connectivity. The world has become more colourful. It has got faster. But somethings never change. Or maybe I should say, some people never change.
The present scenario in Tibet is really a shame. I dont understand why some countries behave like hungry hounds. I have never understood the practice of nations and rulers to capture as much territory under their rule. The European nations did that in the previous centuries. Now the new nations are doing the same. Fighting for land? Fighting for territory? It is sad for me to read about Aksai Chin and the Pamir region. I have always been in love with snow clad mountains, especially the Himalayas. They give me a kind of happiness that nothing else gives.
Pamir region is the highest region in the world where Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalayas join up. The region which we now call Pakistan Occupied Kashmir lies just south east of the Pamir. If you travel even further east, you come across Aksai Chin, the part of Jammu and Kashmir now claimed by China.
This region of Asia has more than 4 of the world’s 15 highest peaks. The average altitude of the region is about 4000m above sea level. It has been my dream to visit all of these places. Once in my lifetime I’d love to travel on the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad in Pakistan to Kashgar in China. It passes through absolutely beautiful Karakoram Range, cutting around the base of K2, the second highest peak in the world. Soon you enter the land of superlatives. The altitude wont drop below 4000m for hundreds of kilometers. You’d be surrounded by mystic peaks all around. Passing through passes and cutting across glaciers, you’ll drive your way to China. 75 % of the road passes through POK. The part of Kashmir under China’s control includes 67% of a beautiful lake called Pangong Tso. Those who dare to go to see the remaining 33% of the lake that falls in Ladakh region, know how beautiful it is.
On the other side of the Himalayas, we have Tibet. The absolute snow desert. There is almost nothing there but barren plateau all above 3000+m ASL. The route to Lhasa from Kathmandu takes a few days, and that from Gangtok takes 10-12 hours. The trip to Mansarovar would be reduced from the 15 days to merely 2 days. But the Nathula border is currently closed to tourists. Even to visit the border, Indians need to take permit from the army. Beyond that, the Tawang region in Arunachal Pradesh is the final frontier where China stakes its claims over Indian territory.
It is beyond my reason to find out why China and Pakistan are interested in capturing territories on land. Just to gain strategic positions in case of another war, and troubling the local people, its definitely not worth the humanity that we have evolved to. Let people live happily and travel where they want to, should be the spirit of the new world.
It is only because of the internet that I know such places exist in the world. And its only because of the internet that I wish I could go and see these places one day. But if such politics of war continue then leave alone my dream, but the world tourist would be deprived of perhaps the most beautiful places on earth. I really cant fight to get Tibet free from China, or get back the parts of Jammu and Kashmir that China and Pakistan have taken away. I can only hope that whoever owns these places, permit free travel to the honest traveller. One day, I’d love to see them all… and I hope you’d wanna go there too.