Charlie Holloway: God does not build in straight lines.
This is a memoir from a trip I made to the far north of India, to Leh Ladakh in 2010. I went with group of friends. We indulged in the usual stuff. Loads of sightseeing, which mainly included the Tibetan monasteries. Not really my favorite part. Then there was obviously the trip to the serene and calm Pangong lake which had by then become a star attraction after its debut in the 3 Idiots movie. Other attractions I recall included the Magnetic Hill and Sangam point. Magnetic Hill to me was a stark and desolate place. But everyone does stop to experiment the magnetic force field right in the middle of the road. Sangam point I remember was the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers and the intersection point would be pointed out by your guide. Adventure was river rafting, which also included jumping into the freezing cold waters. You know, the melted snow and ice from the mountains kind of freezing cold water.
However, this post isn’t about Leh Ladakh or the trip. It is about one specific memory of the trip. On one of our trips to a monastery called Lamayuru we passed through a village called Nimoo. I don’t know much about the place as we never really spent time out there and just passed it by. A Google search shows some news of a dam project being started. The dam project even has a Wikipedia page. A few other sites have a description and a bit of information, but overall nothing much. I guess it’s probably just a quiet little village.
The memory is about a view and the impression of it as I approached this village of Nimoo. It isn’t about the village itself, but probably a bird’s-eye view of it. As we were driving, I saw a mile stone announce Nimoo as the next village. We were driving with the Indus alongside us or rather, us alongside the Indus. We were on a straight stretch of road and far into the distance I could see a wall of monolithic mountains loom. The mountain ridge eventually made everything turn left; the Indus and the road that went by it. As you turn left and follow the road, you drive through Nimoo. From the point where I was, with the village yet in the distance, all I could make out of this village was the color. The color was all shades of yellow and green from its flowers and fields. It’s looked beautiful from afar. I don’t think there was much more to that sight that I can recall. So there you have it, a small village in what looked like the middle of nowhere, sitting in the lap of the mountains and the Indus flowing in front of it.
What is so special about that you ask? The artistic impression I would mumble and you would shake your head, confounded. You can’t see it and I can’t show you. So I babble on and tell that which was imprinted in my mind and have never been able to forget. The impression, of a baby in its mothers’ womb. That was what it looked like. The high mountains in the backdrop, forming the walls of the womb, protecting and shielding whatever was in its lap. The gushing Indus; the umbilical cord providing life, bringing nutrients. And yes finally the baby, Nimoo, all curled up. Sounds pretty corny and probably is with a name like that, “Nimoo”.
So there you are. On a trip with probably so much else, this memory takes the cake. Why? because it made me discern art in what seemed like nothing. It created an impression and left me pondering the beauty of it all. Ponder this, the solar system is a larger model of an atomic structure or vice versa. The planets revolving around the sun mimic the movement of electrons revolving around a nucleus. Is it a coincidence that the largest system is a replica of the smallest structure? There is a mystery to it all. God doesn’t build in straight lines.