On Setbacks & Silver Linings

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.

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.

Posted by

Hi, I'm Madhu. Wanderer. Travel blogger. Story teller. Bitten late and hard by the travel bug, I am on a mission to make up for lost time.

61 thoughts on “On Setbacks & Silver Linings

  1. Wish you the best for 2020. It is very easy to take sides in what is happeneing in India but not everything is black and white. There are shdes of gray and as educated balanaced people we should be able to differentiate.

    1. Thank you Indira, a wonderful new year to you too!

      I agree with you about every issue having shades of gray, but it is what is clear as day that has us concerned citizens deeply worried. You do not need much formal education to sort right from wrong, really. And when the highest authorities who are supposed to make things clear lie through their teeth it makes it more bothersome still.

        1. Agree with you again about the deception. What’s that Lincoln quote again? “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Quite possibly the reason why they are rushing around deleting old Tweets and videos. Unfortunately for them, this is an age of archives and screenshots.

          No one stopping you from expressing your understanding. On your blog. Please don’t continue to insult the intelligence of so many young people – of ALL faiths – standing up against hate and bigotry.

  2. I was so glad to see a post from you again, Madhu, and about one of my favorite things, silver linings! But then I read about your horror. I am so glad you are safe and having a sense of humor about it all (and for no current pain!). Take good, good care.

    1. Thank you dear Riba. Yes, grateful for the absence of pain. Just went in for a review and am assured the wires will be off in a week. Could have been so much worse.

      Seasons greetings my friend, and all best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

  3. Oh, nooooooo, I’m so sorry to hear that, my friend! [Falls seem to be a December thing …personal experience! 😉 ] May you heal very very soon [great to hear you’re in no pain] and may you have nothing but joy from now on!!!! Love and many hugs xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Haha good to know we aren’t the only family of Calamity Janes every year end! forgot to mention that the bride was bitten in the face by her dog – a stray she brought home several months ago! So kind of going with the flow.

      Thank you for your wishes dear friend. Wishing you a fabulously creative year!

  4. Very sorry for your fall Maddhu. Wine is all right though. 😊🍷even with clenched teeth. And i’m sure you will rock at the next wedding.
    Protests? I’ve shut off most news since the summer (and not the worst for wear) but there are protests everywhere. France Latin America. Hk. Now India. Something will come out of it. I read the ministry of utmost happiness this year. Took me maybe closer to the current complexity of India. Ot should i say the eternal complexity? Again the unrest is worldwide. Shows how the system(s) is cracking at the seams. (Good thing about saris. No seams) you take care pf yourself my dear. Happy new year.
    Brian.

    1. Hahaha India IS complexity! See, humour is the only way to keep sane in this world today😄 Thank you Brian, happy new year to you too!

        1. Good question! I would normally insert the English word if I were speaking in Hindi.
          The right term is apparently ‘jatilata’.

  5. So sorry Madhu to hear about your jaw! I hope it’s healing well. WTG with going to the Himalayas and facing the challenges of altitude. Don and I did it in the Andes and know how challenging it can be. I agree that protests are a sign of hope. People will arise when they’ve had enough as we’re seeing with the worldwide climate marches. I certainly am hopeful. I agree silver linings are a thing! I love your country and am so happy to be returning for a fourth time in February.
    BTW did you know we lived in Tiruvannamalai for 3 months a few years back?
    Alison

  6. Oh no, I’m so sorry for what happened to you. ☹ Wishing you a speedy recovery, Madhu.

    Regarding to what’s happening in India (and many other places around the world, including Hong Kong and to some extent Indonesia), it’s been a tough time for democracy and human rights. Ultranationalists seem to be on the rise. But the fight young people are putting up against them is encouraging, indeed. In Indonesia, they managed to force the parliament to drop a proposed revision to the country’s criminal code which, if passed, would have been a lot stricter than what the Dutch colonialists imposed on us.

  7. I hope you are much better soon! What an awful thing to happen.
    We can’t let fear stop us doing anything otherwise we might never leave our houses. That would be a pity when there is so much wonder in the world.
    Have a great 2020.

  8. Goodness me! I hope you are recovering well and keeping out of any more trouble! A belated Merry Christmas to you – and I do hope 2020 brings you ‘better’ fortune!

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.