After long years I found myself lost. It happened this way. I was on my morning walk in Leh, where I had come few days back on vacation, says Prof Mrinal Chatterjee

Leh, the headquarters of Ladakh union territory is a hill town at 11,500 feet altitude, surrounded by rugged and barren mountains and flanked by the Indus River. As in all hill towns, the entire town is located in stacks, at different levels.

Yesterday I discovered a short cut pathway along a small gurgling nala (there are many in the Himalayan plateau) which led me to a black topped road to Santi Stupa. So I went that way.

But while coming back I missed the small opening where the pathway meets the black topped road. I walked ahead immersed in the pristine beauty of nature. After quite a while I became conscious of the fact that by this time I should have been in my hotel.

I walked further and I could see Leh Palace at quite a distance. I realized that I have lost my way. It was quite early in the morning. Few people were to be seen around; Leh anyway is a sparsely populated town. And I had no idea where I had come to. I was hungry too after long walk.

Hunger always gives rise to anger. I was angry with myself – how could I, an old man of 62 years lose my way! I was angry with people around for being so late to show up and guide me. I was angry with my phone which had no network to switch on the gps to guide me. I was standing on roadside helplessly.

And then I found a middle-aged man with a pair of kind eyes, who looked like a local. And then I remembered that I had the card of my hotel in my pocket. I asked him the location and direction. To cut a not-so-long story short, I found my way to my hotel.

As I entered my hotel and the room service boy smilingly offered me a cup of hot tea, saying “Sab, Kahan chale gaye the?” Sir, where had you been?

I discovered that now, at this very moment all my tensions are gone and I am actually enjoying the fact that I had got lost. Paradox of life! Or probably it is good to lose yourself once in a while.

(The author is Regional Director Indian Institute of Mass Communication, IIMC Dhenkanal. Views are personal)


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