(Image courtesy: planetmountain.com)
While ruminating on why do we seek risky adventures in remote areas, the script writer of ‘Mountain’ has come up with a beautiful answer. She says that our daily life has settled into such comfort and security that now we seek danger elsewhere.
The documentary movie ‘Mountain’ is a melange of enthralling background music and stunning views of mountains and mountain adventure. To top it all, the background narration is like a poetic recitation with plenty of silent or musical interludes.
The script writer is from a developed western country. Here in India, if you live in a metro and your office is 15-20 km away you have your daily dose of adventure while commuting to and from office. In rural and semi urban areas, fulfilling basic needs are filled with their own daily perils. And we are one of the oldest civilizations of the world. Now imagine the hourly adventures the people of countries like Afghanistan must be going through just to keep their body and soul together.
Come the full moon of Kartik when in Odisha we have the ritual of rising early in the morning, going to the nearest water body (preferably a river) and set sail tiny boats made of balk of the banana plant. These boats contain disposable lamps. This is called boita bandana. It is done to remember the glory of our ancestors who used to set sail during this time for the far shores of Java, Sumatra and Bali.
Sometime after that, for 1000+ years as Indians we seem to have lost our spirit of high adventure. It is not surprising that most crowded family beaches for Indians can be found in places like Puri or Murudeshwara or Kanyakumari so that in addition to the watchful eyes of parents we can venture into the sea with the watchful eyes of the local gods. But there also our venture into the sea may not extend beyond knee deep water.
But our spirit of adventure finds expression elsewhere. Or so do I think when I see a group of youth riding bikes without helmet and skilfully docking the traffic cops.
Coming back to the Mountain documentary, along with glorifying human aspiration for achieving transcendence, it has undertones of lamentations about the human propensity to commercialise and vulgarise the sublime in course of time. In this age of instagram, selfies and overt commercialization, conquering the Everest is no more a mark of exploration into the unknown. It has turned into something similar to a long crowded queue to the Disneyland.