Away from the chaos and cacophony of modern civilization, there lies a land—a haven tucked in a corner, protected under the shadow of snow clad Himalayas. The barren terrain and dry river bed lay exposed to the azure sky and patches of vegetation emerge here and there. As you drive through the stark landscape with the occasional sight of white houses, giving evidence of human settlement, you gape in amazement if at all life can sustain in such isolation. Yet the isolated nature of Spiti radiates an indescribable charm and allures its spectator with each passing moment.
I get the first view of the Ki monastery perched atop a hill. The winding roads tease you with its brief glimpses from a distance. At 4166 m above sea level, the cold temperature accompanied by wind gusts bites you. I long for a hot cup of coffee and comfort of my bed. Funny, how easily we get distracted at the slightest hint of discomfort. Quickly, I realize that I am standing a few meters away from an 11th-century old building surrounded by jagged mountains, which makes the whole scene look surreal. I trudge up the slope till the entrance.
It is afternoon, I see monks in maroon colored robes strolling around. Locals and tourists have come to pray, to visit. They merge while crossing their paths. Children in their free spirits are giggling and jostling whoever comes in their way. Sitting on a staircase in a corner, I happily watch these events unfurl, bit by bit, breathing in the positive air. A few kids in maroon colored robes are playing hide and seek. At that moment, I hurry up to capture their energy. Suddenly, these little monks huddle together in front of my lens and pose for a snap.
The picture remains my most favorite of all till date. I ask myself what makes it so captivating.
Must be their innocence and their cheery faces. But what makes them cheerful? What is the source of their happiness? I cannot find any plausible answer to these questions. “Being in the moment” is what I felt could be the closest answer.
Do you as a kid used to be engrossed in your activities like playing, reading, dancing, even while conversing, without any worry about the next moment?
When you are present, totally absorbed, you will feel complete and there is a sense of accomplishment, which inconspicuously leads to happiness.
When I look at these kids. They are not concerned about what is up for them the next moment, what is going to be their life like. In their innocent self, they have immersed themselves in the moment. If we can understand and practice that, we all could be happy and enjoy the things we have. We will stop feeling miserable.
Happiness is within. Sometimes you need someone or some things to find that out for you. You must simply allow.
I laugh and play with them for a while before I leave. An old monk comes to me and gives me a bowl of flattened rice and sugar garnished with dry fruits. He says, “It is a blessing for you, we serve this only to the monks.” I smile at him feeling eternally blessed and pay my gratitude for this moment.
As soon as I step out of the monastery, I realize how freezing it is outside. The wind is fiercer now. Perhaps I was caught up, rather I was engrossed in playing and laughing with the kids that I forgot the world around me. I was happy. But now the reality of icy winds got into my skin. Not long after, I am sitting with a hot cup of coffee in the comfort of my bed, sifting the pictures and reminiscing about the day.
I come across the picture of these little monks of Spiti. I tell myself “Be in the moment.”