The “Me” that descended from the Himalayas was completely different from the “Me” that had ascended about a week earlier.

My ego and beliefs were questioned at every turn of the switchbacks, while climbing up and down the Himalayas. And there are like a million switchbacks in the entire route. So the questioning was a million times over.

I thought I was better off the way I was when I started climbing! But, as time progressed I could sense that a change had been set in motion. It was the “Why” part that I was not able to comprehend! Why was I being put through the change, when life seemed so perfect? The “Why” was so overwhelming for my mind, that my emotions could not cope with it.

On my last day, I stood on the banks of Ganga, with tears swelling in my eyes. And I asked her “Why?”. All I could hear was her roar. I asked her repeatedly. Ganga did not answer.

But Ganga was a witness. She was there all along, in the form of Ganga herself, or Bhagirathi, or Alaknanda, or Mandakini, throughout my journey. And she had witnessed the beginning of my change. So, I promised Ganga, my witness, that I might not find an answer to the “Why” that I had asked her, but the change will continue. And when I return to see her again, I would return a better man.

Me being me, I still do not understand how much better is good enough. So, I am thriving to make myself better, in whatever way possible. Probably, there lies the answer to the “Why”!

In frame: Ganga Arati, Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. This is a tribute to my witness, Ganga, who stayed by my side throughout my journey in the Himalayas.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Yes, you can share this work with proper attribution. But, please seek permission before using this work (not including the photo), partially or fully. YOU CAN NOT USE THE PHOTO. Believe me, asking is better than ending up in court or facing public shaming on social media. Thanks for understanding.

© Amrit Panigrahy. All rights reserved.

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Written by Amrit Panigrahy

Amrit is a freelance photographer and a storyteller.

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