A Geology Girl in the Himalayas

This is my favorite photo taken in Palpa. I believe in walking to catch the dreams.
This is my favorite photo taken in Palpa. I believe in walking to catch the dreams.

“You must fall, fall hard. You must learn to fall and stand back. Carry the hammer, carry those rocks, and carry by yourself. Your aim is to be a geologist.” Professor Sharma was harsh in field. We were at Jharkot Village (3500 meters), just below Muktinath temple (3800 meters). The rugged landscape, strongly blowing wind and breathtaking snow weren’t harsh. They were so beautiful. It started snowing. “You are heaven Mustang.”  I whispered. “Did you find any ammonites?” Professor Sharma contested when I was concentrating on the mysterious structures far away, which seemed like caves, like houses where people lived, all around. “Trying hard sir.” I was pretentious. Our main purpose in Jharkot village was to get at least one Ammonite. My twenty-three friends were busy searching the Ammonite. I remembered my mom saying, “Amira, get one Saligram (Ammonite) for me, one for Dijju, one for Amma and one for Aunty. Get God to our home.” I started focusing.

After fifteen minutes of keen observation, I found a Saligram for mom. The radiant Saligram, with numerous ribs, was elegant and profound. Fortunately, I got one for Dijju, Amma and Aunty. Professor announced the end of working time but I still wanted to continue searching Saligram, one for me. He began to walk and we were supposed to follow him, this was the first rule of field work. But my determination of finding one for me didn’t allow me to move. I kept looking passionately. My group started moving. I knew our next spot would be Kagbeni. I heard Professor saying, “To reach Kagbeni, we have to walk straight. No rest in between.” Faraway, I saw a huge black object. Ammonites, I found were black mostly. I ran towards it. I overlooked the unusual trails of Mustang. I lost my balance. I could see nothing, I fell, I don’t know where.   

A small girl, I guess eight years old, with red cheeks, cracks all over face her, was staring at me. “Ouch! I cannot move my legs.” My body was full of bruises. I was astounded. “Where am I? Where is my team?” I shouted.

“You fell down there.” The girl pointed towards the field, green field. I started crying loud. “Why didn’t I follow the group? What to do now?” I was helpless, totally. “I should stand. I should learn to stand after I fall.” I couldn’t move properly. I knew that after our work is done, we would stay at “Hotel Northern Kagbeni”.

Before I asked something, the girl with my hammer in hand asked me, “What is this?” I was not at all interested to reply her. Rudely I said, “Hammer.” “Haaa…mmerr.” She murmured. “What is this? What is inside it?” She pointed my rucksack. “Don’t you see? It’s a bag, big than you little girl. Now, tell me where is Hotal Northern Kagbeni? Actually, where is Kagbeni?” She laughed loud. “This is Kagbeni.”

I sighed.

“Please tell me where is hotel?” I was worried. She rejected. “First tell me, what is inside the bag?” She wouldn’t let me go anywhere without answering. I opened the bag. “See, this is a field bag. This is my field note, my field cap, compass, scales, maps, rocks and Ammonites.” She quickly put her next query. “Why are you carrying these all? What do you do? Why are you in Mustang? I never saw a girl like you before with hammer, rocks and this big bag. ”

I had to reach hotel anyway. I decided to satisfy the girl. “I am a geology student. I study about earth, you know, rocks, Himalayas, disasters and so many other things.” She seemed bright. “Wow!  Himalayas? Mustang?” I nodded. She continued, “You study disaster. Will you study the landslides?”

The girl was smart. “Yes, I do. I have seen so many landslides during my travel to Mustang. Our teachers teach us about these landslides and way by which we can prevent them.” She came towards me and held my hand. “So you are a doctor of landslide? Will you prescribe medicine by which the rock falls near my Kaka’s house will stop?” Her voice was low.

The words were short. I couldn’t think of any reply. I was just a beginner geology student with high aims and dreams of being a geologist. I had always thought about the complex rock chemistry and disaster mechanisms. The question of girl made me lost. Ammonite was away from my mind then. “Say your Kaka to shift in the area that is free of landslide.”

“No he can’t. He doesn’t have money to shift. He works there. Kaka can’t go anywhere. Do something, please.” I was amazed and down too with the request of the little girl. I tried to change the topic. “You go school?” The light appeared in her face. “Yes, I do. I love to study. See my books in that table.”

“Where are your parents?” I could see no one there.

“They run a hotel there. “ She pointed to a house far.

“Hotel, I have to reach the hotel. Now, tell me where is Hotel Northern Kagbeni?” I pleased.

“That’s the hotel my parents run. I will take you there. But you have to give me your hammer. I will carry it till we reach the hotel.” Her eyes crazily wanted the hammer.

“Sure, sure. Can we move now?” I couldn’t imagine what was going to happen with me once I appear in front of Professor Sharma.

On the way, I kept thinking about her Kaka, landslide and geology. I thought of my aims, my dreams. Will they come true? What about these landslides, people suffering from hazard? Will I be able to do anything to them? We reached. I greeted her parents. They smiled. “Are you the lost girl? Five of your friends and Sharma sir have gone to search you in Jharkot.”

I nodded my head.

“Where are other friends? Are they here?” I asked.

“Yes they are upstairs.” They pointed. I thanked girl and moved towards stairs.

But I could hear the girl’s voice.  “Baa, I want to be “A Geology Girl in the Himalayas”, Mustang. I would help Kaka to stop rock falls then.”

 

Badal Pokharel

 

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  1. Moostang

    Finally found some time to comment longer. Your story is very captivating !!.. I am sorry that your group left without you. They should have waited for you !!! But, luckily you got back to base safely.. Your title is appropriate; “A Geology Girl in the Himalaya”. It is wonderful to know that you inspired a local girl in the mountains to become a geologist as well.. We need more female geologist and more stories from you. You have a talent for storytelling, so keep it up !!! Keep on writing !!! Cheers !!!

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      Badal Pokharel

      Thank you so much for your encouragement sir. And thank you for your compliment. You have always inspired me to write, I am actually learning from you. 🙂 🙂 I will try making my writing better everyday. And your criticism is important. 🙂

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  2. srizzu

    Badal ,hats off..u r just awesm..
    I don’t have words ,when I had gone through this article ,I felt reality every time . n u know 1 thing I m getting inspired by u day b day..keep writing.. ♥♥

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