Pangong Lake

I had never known complete silence till then. The sheer weight of that noiselessness. It was so sudden, so unexpected, that I had been enveloped in it a good ten minutes before I even realized what it was. I was at Pangong lake, Leh. We had gone there on a vacation. We were almost the first to reach there and had the lake pretty much to ourselves. After the first half an hour or so of doing the touristy things, I went for a walk along the shore. Admiring the beautiful painted hills surrounding me, I walked on, far away from the site of all the temporary shelters and growing crowds. Twenty minutes or so into my walk I realized how far I had come. The crowds were distant specks and I was all alone. It struck me with a force that it was suddenly so quiet. It was is if I had been struck deaf.

Then slowly, gently, quietly, I could hear. The sweet rhythmic lapping of waves on the shale by the lakeside. The tiniest, quietest patter, a softer sound I could not imagine at the moment. Then the breeze picked up a bit and I could hear it whistle as it blew past my ears. A soft whisper that seemed to say, “You come unannounced, but welcome stranger!” I stood there for a long time. To move a foot and scrunch the gravel with my boot seemed a travesty at that moment. There was nothing else in that instant, no holiday, no work, no tensions, not a part of that clawing mass that eats at me like so many harpies, nothing. The world did not exist outside that sphere. All that existed were the lapping waves and the sighing breeze, and me, afloat betwixt the two

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