Sunday, September 25, 2005

Roof of the world

Yesterday I got a mail from my cousin. I guess that's as mundane as getting your morning newspaper ( though that's not mundane in some parts of the world these days). My cousin had been gone on the trip to her village which in Nepal ( Our community is spread across the Indo Nepal border) and I wasn't expecting to hear from her for atleast 1 month till she made it down to the plains of Uttaranchal where we have the last outposts of decent internet speeds.

as one goes up in uttaranchal hills one slowly sheds away the modern civilization's taken for granted gadgets one after the other. As you go past Almora and Pithoragarh on my side of the Uttaranchal you should say good bye to your cell phones and email. As you would cross the last point like Tawaghat you should say goodbye to modern day version of Mr. Ford's gift to mankind ( though on a good day you can go some 30-40 kilometers further on wheels). Then as you make your way further up you would start sorely missingly Thomas Alva Edison's ubiquitous invention called light bulb and you will have make do with gas lanterns ( thank god for Indane ). You may see them occasionally but even those poor things have forgotten why they are there. In the Nepal side you maynot be so lucky and would have to go back a few decades further back in time.

She had gone to Kailash Mansarovar ( it is easier to go there if you are Nepalese citizen) and was now in the small trading post called Taklakot in Tibet. So this e-mail coming not more than 100 kilometers away on the other side of the border from this little Tibetan hamlet( we call it Kidang) , pleasantly surprised me and made me green with envy ( This area of Tibet was entirely dependent on supplies from Indian and Nepalese traders for things as basic as Salt till 1980's). to rub it in they have cellphones too!!! In a so called occupied territory China is able to get internet and mobile servies working and here we are the IT giants of the world leaving rest of the nation dependent on good old postal system at best ( occasionally helped by age old Wireless systems from ITBP). And believe you me ITBP camp is able to watch Satellite channels there with the help of a genset and dish antennas.