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A day long affair

Jebel Jais

The mountain to is full of cars, people and idle chatter. We too join the maniacs scampering to the top. The summit is a pile of boulders disgorged by the earth movers. Their yellow arms are visible scooping the innards of the mountain. The rocks here are dark, granite colored, porous. Around us the mountains shimmer in a curtain of haze. The glare is uncomfortable, but the breeze is soothing.

The valley, hemmed in by the sand stone cliffs is so much more beautiful than the hill top. Lot less people too. The hills are barren, lifeless apparently. Their immense scale in space and in time, is a jolt to my perpetually preoccupied ego. My citadel of self is knocked down and I am able to breathe freely. This sense of relief, of exhilaration even, however brief will draw me back here again, I’m sure.

For many this visit to the mountain is an ego trip. This is evidenced by the proliferation of selfie sticks and number of people snapping themselves in grotesque postures. The adrenaline junkies are here too desiring to tame the terrain with power packed 4×4’s. The mountain does not decimate their selves but inflate it. This seems strange to me now, but I was one of them. Time has eroded much of my ego since. The pride and glory I had attributed to myself surface only in brief flashes these days.

I cannot be judgmental, though I’m frequently so. There is no right or wrong.  I realize that it is only a matter of outlook, differing points of view. To me the experience is humbling, to another it is a reinforcement of self. The mountain and the valley provides me a sense of peace and pervading silence. It provides an opportunity for camaraderie – a good time with friends, conversation, sharing food to another. The mountain is bountiful to all. It exists straddling space and time and we are weekend refugees seeking different ends in its folds.

Why is it that we cannot feel the same beauty and quiet in the concrete canyons of Dubai? The Burj Khalifa is just as tall and admirable as some of these hills that surround me. One certainly feels awe and great appreciation for the ability of man when gazing at the tower. But the tower is designed to impress, it has a purpose and it evokes, no demands, admiration. Whereas the mountain, ancient, inscrutable, detached does not demand anything, it is indifferent to our approval or censure, it just exists. Each of us find satisfaction based on our mental makeup within its ambit. The mountain is not a mere reflection of our mind though, it broadens our perception. Even though we have expelled the gods in its summits, even though we now soar far above them, the mountains still instill a sense of proportion to our existence – an exhilarating sense of insignificance.

A glimpse of the mountain was sufficient to dispel the accumulated claustrophobia and stress. I stand liberated for a brief moment in life. The mountain winks.

Convoy of cars are snaking up the mountain on our way back. There is only one mountain,there are so many seekers.

On the way back

 

Jebel Jais is in Ras Al Khaima, 2 hours drive from Sharjah.

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