Monday, September 5, 2011

Lady GaGa in the mountains

Two intrepid blogger friends, IHM and Sangeeta Khanna, recently participated in a Women's (actually, Girls') Himalayan MTB Cycle Expedition from Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, to Khardung La , 37 kms north of Leh, in the Ladakh region. Organized by the Youth Hostels Association of India.

Some brilliant photos here .

This is a view from what is called Rani Nala ( the Queen's Stream), on the way to Rohtang Pass. All of the broken white is hard ice, covered with dust. The visual had an unexplained "lip" formation, and with so many modern ladies cycling past smartly on their mountain bikes, some thoughts began buzzing in my mind.

A poem happened. Paththari bai (`Lady Stone') should really now be Barfani Bai (`The Ice Maiden')..... but I always tend to look below the ice for the mind of the Lady ...

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
Paththari Bai,
although a grand dowager,
having lived centuries,
still looks
like a mountain beauty
who does lifetime facials
with Beas Water***
smashed pebbles,
and mashed pears.

But some things have changed.

She's been trying
"Fair and Lovely" ****
and Lakme lipstick
that comes
in double tubes.

It doesn't agree,
and her face
has broken
into patches
of hard white,
around puffed lips.

She watches
civilization drifting
up and down
the roads.

And I think she
has been
to some ladies talk....

***The river Beas
**** A fairness cream marketed by Unilever in India to benefit , not the women, but their own coffers, thanks to the national obsession with "fairness".


  1. Liked the introduction of 'fair n lovely'too...

    The poetry is awe inspiring as always...i am sure you would have sat down with your pen n paper every ten steps in those looks like another planet sometimes.

  2. hahaha Lady Gaga!
    and i love the names you came up with - Paththari bai, Rani Nala, Barfani Bai!