The pace of life in the nourishncherish household has been peaking. The husband, in a dash of mid-life madness decided that what he wanted most was to add to his resume, the fact that he scaled the tallest peak in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney. Hikers apparently prepare for a few months (with at least a few hikes in high altitudes), but the husband and his friends don’t set much store by what people usually do. So, in their typical fashion, they went ahead and attempted the peak after 5 weeks of ‘rigorous training’ on a hillock by our house. It is a bit like jumping in the middle of the ocean and navigating through the rip tides on the firm knowledge that you can swim in the deep-end of the pool in your local pool, even when the lifeguard was not on duty. (I exaggerate as usual) But like our friend said wisely, you only get to be young and stupid for so many decades of your life and so, there they were.
I have observed this multiple times with the husband. When I ask him to take a packed lunch for example, he scoffs. He not only scoffs, but also shrugs his shoulders in a manner suggesting that it is only old maids, elderly aunts and mothers who think of food and packing and all that. Not cool guys like himself. He is a man who will hunt for food, rouse his primal instincts for food gathering or stop at a sandwich place. But to give the man his due, I have never seen this cool attitude towards the food linger once the Biriyani packets are opened at picnics. There are some egotists who would turn away from the Biriyani thinking back and reflecting on the hurtful statements hurled at the Biriyani earlier in the morning. Not so with the husband. All trifling misunderstandings with Biriyanis are shelved and he is the true example of the bigger man. He shows that all biriyani-related ill-humour earlier that day is water under the bridge and tucks in with joy and enthusiasm. The biriyani is happily settled in the stomach and the smile of contentment is happily displayed on the man. All is well.
Characteristically, when I asked him what he planned to do for food during the hike, he scoffed. I suggested Idlis (steamed rice cakes) because I thought idlis were a good food to take on hikes (they are starchy enough, steamed and relatively dry). But more importantly, I thought ‘Idlis on Mt Whitney’ would make a good blog title. The husband snorted loudly at this. I then prudently suggested Bread and Jam. It is easy to handle, light, and there is sugar in the jam which can be critical when they planned to hike for 16 hours non-stop. He poo-ed and pa-ed and that was brushed aside too. I told him to forage berries for himself on the barren mountainside and set about packing Biriyani packets for their drive a little haughtily. It was then, that his friends (3 of them planned to hike together) intervened and said it might not be a bad idea to take some parathas (Indian breads). I still think my bread and jam idea was better, but ‘Parathas on Mt. Whitney’ sounded like a pretty good blog title too, and I let it go.
So, off they went with the biriyani, parathas, an unhealthy dose of over-confidence, a seemly dose of comradeship and a good dose of adventure to conquer the King of Peaks, Mt. Whitney.
Our friend has written about the journey here, and he is also the one who gave me the pictures for the Mt. Whitney posts:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/krishna-srinivasan/hiking-mt-whitney/10152822684056613?pnref=story (the link may only work for his friends)
Did they do it?
Read on in Part 2, for it is a thrilling tale: Do bears prefer Pizza to Parathas? We may never know.