On Setbacks & Silver Linings

Rainbow in the high altitude desert of Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Nubra Valley, Ladakh

It seems to have become the norm for me to have bad news to report every other December. Hoping this third time’s a ‘charm’ and will be the last.

I had a fall last week and fractured my jawbone. I managed to dislocate the right joint and have two hairline cracks on the left. I am in no pain currently and hope to have lost enough weight with my baby-food diet to rock it in a sari at the grand-niece’s wedding in Jan. While my jaw is immobilised and consuming liquids through wired teeth isn’t quite fun, I am immensely grateful for all that DIDN’T happen and for being alive and well enough to be writing this.

I am also grateful for the messages of concern and sympathy from friends and relatives and amused by those calling my husband to advice him not to “let me travel solo anymore”. Yes, ‘LET”! I have never allowed fear to rule my life and am not about to start anytime soon.

The images in this post are illustrative of that time, last year, when I overcame my fear and got to witness magic. Not the fear of the unknown that I crossed long back when I took my first independent solo trip, but a real fear for our health. We had both experienced slight symptoms of altitude sickness in Peru and have been wary of travelling to high elevations since. Ravi refused to take the risk, but I, with permission from the incredibly encouraging pulmonologist treating me for breathing issues at the time, decided not to wait for him any longer and battled my anxieties to head to the Himalayas for the first time. I took time to acclimatise and never felt a thing even sleeping at over 15000ft*. Now, Ravi is tempted to give it a try too.

Double rainbow spanning the high altitude desert of Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Fear is a strange thing. All consuming until we leave it behind. This past week, my country did just that. A considerable number of our students poured out into the streets to oppose a blatantly discriminatory citizenship bill.

One of our guides in Romania had expressed cynicism over the survival of democracy in a large and unwieldy nation such as ours. Most people outside of the country do not quite grasp the miracle that is India. This gaggle of disparate cultures, religions, languages and notoriously rule-breaking citizens who’ve managed to stay together despite some of the most corrupt & inefficient of systems anywhere. That diversity has been under threat these past few years by a not too subtle departure from our founding secular values. The silence has been a great source of personal despair. Last week, the apathy finally snapped.

However these ongoing protests end – the response has been brutal and I know the cost is going to be high particularly for our youth leading from the front – the fact that we were pushed to a point where we were forced to re-connect with our collective moral conscience is a huge deal. I am more hopeful for us than I have been in years. Silver linings are a thing.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a year filled with whatever your hearts desire. And many silver linings.

*A disclaimer that altitude sickness is not to be taken lightly and can affect anyone regardless of age. Please research destinations and access to medical facilities and make choices that feel right for YOU.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

62 thoughts on “On Setbacks & Silver Linings

  1. It is great to be able to catch up with you and see the beautiful photo you have left us with ~ but so sorry and sad to hear about your fall, although I hope you are fully recovered over the past nine months. You did make me smile with your comment that you got to “rock it in a sari at the grand-niece’s wedding…” here is to you who can always look at the bright side of things 🙂

    This year has been a very strange one, but I hope you are doing well and from the occasional posts on Instagram I see, you’ve still got the magic with the camera. Wishing the best for you and your family. Take care ~

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