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Deluge in the hills

Aerial view of braided river. Scenic view of Markarfljot in Iceland. Image is representing beautiful nature. Glacier river from Eyjafjallajokull.  

When I heard the deafening roar of the seasonal rivulet Manjhi, I was mesmerised by the unbridled fury of water. It had been pouring for two hours, not unusual for Dharamshala and adjoining areas.

While driving alongside the Manjhi, the roar seemed to be a warning of enraged nature. Those living in the nearby hamlets were all out on the banks. As I approached a part of the road washed away, a man gesticulated to take a turn. So I took another route to my clinic. While there, I received a call from my brother enquiring about my well-being. A co-worker updated me about some viral videos. I took the information philosophising that nature has its own designs. But that was only till disturbing footage started inundating my personal information space. The gravity of the situation sank in when otherwise busy friends started calling.

At Bhagsunaag, a hill town near the Dalai Lama’s abode of McLeod Ganj, cars were forced down by the gushing waters. The rivulet decided to flow through the bazaar. The constructions had taken a toll. It is important to ask the why of it. It is easy to sermonise and talk prudence with hindsight, but when some wrong is done on nature, we simply turn our back on it rationalising to ourselves that it does not concern us. The fact remains that everthing good and bad concerns us all. The earlier we realise it, better it will be for us and posterity. The inundating waters of the Manjhi were a testimony to our greed tempting us to encroach on the beds of brooks and rivulets.

The sliding slurry of earth loosened by rain at the Boh valley near Dharamshala was a deluge let upon unsuspecting villagers. There was no greed here but pure misfortune that reminds one of the ephemeral nature of life.

Our faculty to forget is a blessing to live through our misfortunes but it also makes us turn a blind eye to the repercussions of our acts of greed. Whatever our schemes be, let’s not forget what Lord Tennyson wrote: “For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever”. That’s about The Brook, its waters and nature, and it will profit us to remember that!

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 11:42:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/deluge-in-the-hills/article37018529.ece

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