Friday, April 2, 2021

B is for a Bride in the Land of the Gods #AtoZChallenge

"The life of the land is the life of the people."

 - Tahitian Proverb

(quoted from the documentary 'Moving Art' on Netflix)

Dear Readers,

A little background about today's post: The poem that follows captures an unexpected moment which transpired while we (our party of trekkers) were resting after a long and arduous climb in Uttarakhand which is also know as Devbhoomi, the land of the Gods,  for there are many ancient temples located at great altitudes here which are considered essential to visit once in ones lifetime in popular Hindu belief. However, the massive ongoing roadbuilding projects in the area which promise to usher in an era of progress and make it easier to visit 'god' are creating a very different landscape. We were on our way to Kuari Pass in May 2019.

I'm nostalgic about how my home-state used to be before progress knocked on its door.

Devbhoomi (land of the Gods) 

Dry and dusty was the path.
Rocks lay splayed in thirsty gasps.
No breeze,
no shelter,
limited rations of water.

A tree at last
sprouted in sight
and broke our sultry stride.

Rest. Recuperate. Hydrate.
It was time for a break.

We sat strewn around the tree:
all of us humans
moaning the progress
in painful view:
a mega road that would bring one and all
to the Gods

Our solitary tree 
watched the scene with us,

Will the Gods even want to stay on after all the development is done?
I wondered.

She appeared as a red dot, fringed in gold
twinkling with silver.
Like hope on a forgotten horizon, I saw her
beaming into her future.

May I?
I asked.
She agreed coyly and ordered her groom to pose with her.
Click. Click. Click.

Captured. Still. Delight.

Who would've thought a bride
red, sparkling, joyful in high heels,
would appear out of nowhere
to sprinkle colour
on my state's grey and white?

The bride and her groom and the rest of the wedding party had to reach a bus stop about 2 kilometres away to board the bus that would take them to the groom's village. So, they were in a hurry. 

Her silver anklets sang happily as she walked down the hillside in her pretty heels. I remember looking at my bulky boots and laughing at my inadequacies. 

She'd told us that they'd walked a little more than 10 kilometres from her village to reach the point we'd met by chance. 

I do see the point of roads and convenience. But, these communities have sustained themselves and their mountains for generations and continue to do so. I'm sure they are capable of carrying on. I'm sure their wisdom will keep them and their lands safe. But, are  planning boards and economic gurus ready to listen to them? Is progress another name for greed?
Do trees need to be cut and mountains blasted? 

We watched the wedding party make their way down merrily. The ubiquitous drunk uncle sang and danced loudly, slowing their progress, while the younger cousins waited ahead. 

As Covid 19 makes travelling back to India and consequently trekking impossible for now, I've been consoling myself with nature documentaries on Netflix. Almost all the ones filmed in recent years question the impact of humans on this planet's resources. I do wonder when we will wake up to the reality of our actions.

Has your hometown/state/place of residence resisted progress to keep green? I'd love to know.
In case you've got the time,  the 'B' post from last year's challenge will take you back to a time when my valley was green and lush:

This year, I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z  powered by 


  1. It's quite an amazing sight you got to see. Imagine the efforts these guys take to keep their community and mountains safe.

  2. People who live blended with nature know how to live in harmony with utmost respect towards what the earth provides. Beautiful sight captured.

  3. I'm sure hiking to one' wedding is part of these people's DNA. What enthusiasm to be all dolled up and walking on rough tracks so uncomplainingly! A far car from urban brides who won't lift a finger on their wedding day.
    The whole world is slowly getting destroyed in the name of progress....

    1. You're right. It is part of their DNA:)
      Sad truth of the human race, I'm afraid. I hope we mend our ways before its too late.

  4. Loved this post! The bride looks so cute and the colours are so vibrant. I love Uttarakhand. My trip in 2019 is the most memorable in my life. I wrote my last year's a2z on that journey

    1. Thank you for visiting Meena.
      I'm so glad to read you loved Uttarakhand:) after this challenge is over, I'll check out your 2019 posts.

    2. Hey Meena, Could you share your blog link please? I'm not able to find it.

  5. Few generations back, we served our need,
    Our need soon grew & grew to be greed.
    So greed now takes over, this entire breed......
    These are lines from my poem called “Overdo” , your post reminded me of that.
    The lady in red, readily progressing towards her new journey of rocky roads, ups & downs fueled with hopes & dreams, If we look for harmony we can find it, if we get greedy, it shall destroy us. Thoroughly Enjoyed it,

    1. Spot on Vidya, greed has no vaccine or antibodies--it first destroys common sense and mindfulness and then everything else.
      Thank you for visiting. Hugs. xx

  6. The bride looks so vibrant and happy against the stark background. We are yet to find the right balance between progress and ecological balance. Hopefully some day, before things don't go out of hand.

    1. P.S: Love your poem. It's introspective and hopeful. (I hit the publish button by mistake.)

    2. Thank you so much Srivalli. Coming from a poet like you, this means a lot.

  7. Great poem, and amazing pictures again - what an unexpected moment!

  8. This is a beautiful post - the poem, the photos and the prose work together to tell the story. In the UK unspoilt countryside is often protected in National Parks, but even there the encroachment of new houses being built causes objections.
    Visiting back from

    1. Thank you Sue.
      Yes, we have had the good fortune of enjoying many of UK's National Parks. All I can say is more protection and lesser encroaching should be the policy of every govt. I live in hope:)

  9. Hari OM
    another Brilliant post, Arti! All the way in dress heels - good for her. The expansion of roads into the Scottish Highlands holds similar questions to yours. It is appreciated that tourists wish to visit in, photoshoot and out asap... but definitely the character of a place is scarred from such. Mankind as a species struggles to keep to his own little patch. Always searching to move outward - ''sorry for the cost, but -'' ever ready with the justifications... YAM xx

    1. Thank you for sharing Yamini. I had no idea that the Highlands face similar challenges.
      And you're right about mankind. I wonder if we'll ever slow down in order to enjoy this planet's beauty or will generation after generation just zoom through, destroying more and more, on their way?

  10. Lovely photos that speak a thousand words Arti!

    1. Cheers Ketaki. So glad to see you here. Hugs. xx

  11. What a wonderful chance encounter. Their colourful outfits are stunning.

    I live on the coast and it's the sea that's encroaching and eating away at the crumbling cliffs rather than man. Nature's irresistable progress!

    Here's my B!

    1. Thank you Keith.

      Nature vs. Man--the eternal conflict!

  12. How glorious! What a fabulous chance encounter - although I think perhaps there was more magic involved than chance. :-) Lovely poem, lovely photos, lovely bride and groom.

    1. I love magic and I agree:)
      Thank you Deborah.

  13. What a beautiful surprise to meet them! Their outfits are lovely, and they are very brave too.
    Wonderful poem.

    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

  14. My sister-in-law and I were looking down from our balcony this afternoon and discussing about when the last of the trees in our vicinity would disappear. From the vantage point of a high-rise building, we could see only a few green spaces and apartments all around, and another couple of apartments are getting constructed. We are however to blame as we enjoy this view and comfort as well. We aim higher, the builders construct more buildings and trees disappear.

    1. You're right Namratha. We are all to be blamed. The greed is collective and the visions are very short-sighted. We think of ourselves, our futures as if we exist in isolation--in a vacuum--as if our individual actions are not the drops that fill the ocean of plunder! All I can say is that at the very least, we can plant a tree/a few trees in pots, on balconies, in our backyards and help them grow, Be mindful and politically active.

  15. I loved your photos and poem and words, as always.

  16. Beautiful for people resisting the so called progress-sadly no. Though there have been protests about the construction of coastal road in Mumbai, even the Metro-which ate away chunks of SGNP- nothing has really come out of it. Roads and railways march on..

    1. I know Arti. It's the same everywhere. Maybe, our voices are not honest, nor loud, not sincere enough. How is it that a minority carry on plundering the planet while people like us (the majority--who see and question) merely look on?

  17. Whoa, 10 km in the mountains in heels... that's not something one usually associates with weddings :D She is very pretty!

    The Multicolored Diary

  18. Nothing like being in tune with nature. It's calming. It's invigorating.
    Bengaluru has a strong citizen movement that aims at conserving environment. At times, though I think they go a bit overboard.

    1. I'm happy to hear of these 'overboard' environmentalists Pradeep--only because otherwise no one gives a damn. I think our children and the generations after them will appreciate such conservationist more than we do.

  19. What a beautiful bride... I guess the background and the mountains are all into that conspiracy and a play here in making the beauty even more pristine. Yes, when progress in the name of concrete development knocks on the doors of what once used to be... Nothing can be saved except the sweet nostalgia. Loved your poem as always.

  20. It is such a delicate balancing act. In Maine, one of our battles is to keep enough working waterfront so that lobstermen, fishermen and others who make their livelihood from the ocean still have access and that it doesn't suddenly become dotted with nothing but condominiums and upscale housing for the rich. So far, we've done a decent job but it is always at risk. One statistic that has always given me hope for our environment's future is that Maine now has more trees than it did 100 years ago. Weekends In Maine

    1. Thank you for sharing the statistics about Maine's trees here Karen.
      It fills me with hope too.
      Have a wonderful Sunday. xx

  21. Some are beautiful untouched, nature is such


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