It’s June in 2015. The sun is sailing high above cotton like, fluffy clouds. The Himalayas are showing off in vivid tones of blue and green. Horses are grazing in lush meadows and beautiful birds with metallic blue tail feathers chirp lazily, perched in the fields. The tiny mountain village of Kasol is as idyllic as it gets.
The temperature is perfect, just warm enough for a cold shower. And my android phone is at 33% battery when the power gets cut off. Nobody worries about it too much for the first few hours, as power cuts are common in the mountains. But, after about five hours, the panic slowly begins. Tourists are the first to complain. They start nagging guest house owners because their TV no longer works, and they are about to miss the 9 pm game. Others get whiny for the lack of connectivity. Facebook must be accessed.
Now, its ten hours since the power got cut. Generators are being refilled, and those who own solar panels are suddenly very important people. The buzz of the village turns to a moan. The markets are filled with human voices instead of blaring speakers. And the power cut is the talk of the village. Still, life goes on.
At night, the village gets dark early, and the calming flicker of candles replaces electric lights. At my guesthouse, we decide to ignore the nagging jabs of Facebook addiction and make a bonfire instead. In the darkness of a shrouding silence that has filled up the valley, ten odd people from different parts of the world crouch by a merry bonfire, with warm beers and the void that electricity leaves behind.
Potatoes, peppers, eggplants and onions are wrapped into shiny, silver aluminium paper and put into the fire. Smokes are lit. Everybody relaxes a little. Potatoes are taken out and eaten with salt and cheese.
On fulfilled bellies, stories start being told. Tales of travels and life and loves lost. The darkness in the valley makes the stars look brighter. Under a million stars, sit ten people, from different walks of life, and talk about deep experiences and candid feelings. The darkness jumps around, as does the flame, revealing different facets of people’s facial features, their personalities, and their lives.
I know that night, if my phone was on, and the silence in the valley wasn’t so intense, I would be on my email, ignoring the beauty around, lost into the thousand pixels of a laptop screen. The power cut shifted my focus from things onto people, and reminded me of what’s more important. Every now and again, life gives us a little nudge into the right direction. I read mine in the stars of a glimmering mountain sky.