This is my tale of a rendezvous with the enigma that is called – Snow!
“The first snowfall of every winter is magical,” I remember hearing this in a TV show once.
I am no stranger to winters, but in my part of the World, it does not snow all that often. So it has always been a bit of a mystery to me.
I have been told that as a child, I have witnessed quite a few snow days.
Sadly, I have no recollection of these days.
A few years ago, I completed another item on my bucket list, on a trip to Ladakh, India.
As we drove down the narrow roads, there was a zeal and zing brimming inside each of us.
There was a singular prayer on all our lips. One word. Snow.
The windows were down, I felt the cold breeze against my face, as I stared at the path ahead, from the backseat of the car.
In the distance, I saw the road -glittering and white. I was entranced, encaptured, enchanted.
A few seconds later, I saw a single snowflake dancing, floating, swirling in the air before hitting the concrete.
In the blink of an eye, there were hundreds of these tiny miracles dancing, floating, swirling, and finally landing. I felt a few on my face before they melted, becoming tiny droplets of water.
We took an exit off the highway that led to an empty road.The concrete was not so bare now. There were white specks all over.
I stepped out, tilted my head upwards as I witnessed each tiny miracle completing its journey.
It was freezing cold, I was told. I felt none of it.
It was as if I had disconnected from everything around me. I was in a bubble with only these snowflakes for company.
It was as if I was conversing with every tiny miracle I saw.
I was completely and utterly bewitched by their charm, devoted.
The street off the highway was now filled with families and tourists who had stopped to witness those mesmeric moments of snow.
I heard children shrieking with joy in the distance. I heard people walking through the snow, not too silently.
Pure, innocent wonder.
Up close, each tiny snowflake appears different. Each began its journey as a droplet in the ocean, travels miles and miles away from home.
Suspended, in the freezing cold, trapped inside a cloud. How painful must it be.
Each drop is now shaped differently, pressing against each other, fighting for room.
Then the cloud gets heavy, it bursts.
There is room to breathe now. Room for each tiny miracle, that set off on this journey.
It dances one last time in a lightly blowing breeze, in hopes of reuniting with the homes they left behind.
That day, a few snowflakes returned to the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes they left behind. Others got consumed by the soil, where these tiny miracles nourished life. While some,simply fell on concrete, cars and roofs to bring euphoria and elation to the cluster of tourists and families by that road.
I witnessed true beauty in each snowflake. Selfless. Altruistic.
My first snowfall. Or at least the first I remember, was what I was told it would be. Magical.
Quarantines and Lockdowns have made some of us productive, while others like myself, are constantly on edge.Yesterday, to take my mind off things, I revisited old pictures and memories.
Now, this particular picture, that I have inserted above, caught my eye. And I was taken back to a bittersweet day 2 years ago. 5 minutes later, I was typing away everything I remembered about that day.
I loved writing about it, so, I came across this idea wherein I start this series called “Mindless Musings” and every once in a while, I write about such days, experiences and fond memories!
Below is my first piece of “Mindless Musings”
Let me know what you think!
Encounter with a Cable Car
Even as a little girl in amusement parks, I refused to venture on rides that had anything to do with heights.
Heights. Probably my greatest fear. I have never been one to face my fears, or try in the slightest to get over them. So, the moment I set foot into a cable car for the first time ever, I had a feeling that it won’t end well.
Now, as you read this, you might think that this is my tale of an experience that helped me overcome my fear. I am sorry to disappoint, because that’s just not the case.
Having given in to my cousins’ coercion, I perched on the edge of one of the makeshift seats inside this daunting glassy box that accommodated five people. One very scared girl and her four overly joyous cousins.
I heard the automated doors closing down and trapping me in that box, that would travel so far away from the green fields of Switzerland, Europe. I have never been claustrophobic, but suddenly I was. I heard instructions blaring from the speaker located above my head, and finally I heard the voice say, “Sit back and enjoy your ride.”
Sitting back and enjoying were the two things that felt surreal, impossible, bizarre. As my sister started to reassure me that we were safe, my brother continued to tease me. While the other two were busy clicking pictures.
To be honest, to this day, I have no idea about what either of them said. It was impossible to focus on anything except that the box of horrors would start moving in a few seconds.
I felt a slight jerk, and suddenly we were moving, as the others cheered, I sat very still in this box of horrors. Terrified. At first, we were moving horizontally, but gradually, I felt a slight incline.
Now, everyone was silent. While my co-passengers were in awe, all they did was stare at everything around them, mesmerized. I, however had my eyes shut, completely silent.
I was told afterwards, that talking, felt like disturbing the serendipity they found in that car. So, all I heard were hushed whispers in tones of amazement.
Now, humans are curious creatures, so I gave in to their demands and requests and cracked one eye open, what I saw, gave me chills. And not in the good way. I was now staring at my feet which were set on the floor of the box. Only, it was transparent. I saw how far away I was, how far away I could fall.
At 3000 feet above the sea level, I had a meltdown.
So, I shut my eyes again, only this time I started to pray. Now, I am a Hindu. And Hinduism has no shortage of Gods and deities. So, I prayed to all of them, or at least all of the ones I know. Hoping, that at least one of them would hear my pleas. From Gayatri Mantra to Hanuman Chalisa, I called upon all deities.
But even as I did so, I felt the incline of the cable car get steeper. My eyes were shut, my hands over them, when i felt four supportive hands on my shoulders. The car was very small, so reaching out wasn’t tough. I knew they wanted me to share this newfound serendipity.
Once again, I found it in my heart, to give it another chance. So, my hands moved away from my eyes as I made it a point to not peer through the transparent base of the cable car. Instead, I peered around, all I saw was pale blue sky around me.
We were too far away from the ground,there were no birds flying. Only the clouds floating by. I saw another cable car ahead of ours and I saw the passengers gesticulating at each other, drawing each other’s attention to the different views. Beside me, I heard appreciative cheers.
I was torn. I wanted to shut my eyes once again but there was this part of me that never wanted to stop worshipping the view in front of me.
At 3500 feet above the sea level, I found serenity and tranquility. However, that did not take away my fear.
I heard the camera click, as my sister attempted to get a few pictures with my face showing. But my eyes kept darting away. To the clouds floating by. Now, I am not sure of what happened next. All I remember is the urge to look down. So I did.
What I experienced next, is called, adrenaline induced tachycardia. My heart beat irregularly, on a pace that is unusually high. Exhilaration. Fear. Intertwined together.
All I saw was the green fields for as long as I could see, with small water bodies distributed everywhere. I saw small specks, moving through these fields, that I assumed to be the inhabitants.
At 4000 feet above sea level, I realized just how insignificant I was in the Universe. How small, maybe even unimportant.
And even though, sitting back and enjoying were still surreal, impossible, bizarre. I was wonderstruck, amazed, astonished.
I heard the lady from the speaker, announcing that we had reached the end of our journey and within seconds I felt the box of horror coming to a halt. I realized, that somewhere after my meltdown, the claustrophobia had gone away. Although, I was still scared out of my wits, I had a certain reverence for the beauty I had witnessed.
I heard, the automated doors opening, I remember standing up and walking out.
The hushed whispers turned to normal conversation as I stepped into the coffee shop that was built nearby. Then, out of nowhere came a group hug and whispers of appreciation and support.
As I stepped in the queue, I realized just how significant I was to my family. How important, and loved.
So, I realized, that although, I was a speck in a population of more than 7 billion spread over continents far away. I had immense significance in my family. After all, I comprised a fifth of the group hug that followed my first cable car ride.
This was two years ago. As of now, I continue my love hate relationship with heights. It is, still, one of my greatest fears.