Z and I are walking around the Annapurna mountain ranges, when he gets his first glimpse of Machapuchare. He points out like a child would an elephant, “Look the fishtail, Machapuchare.” It’s beautiful I think, but he is besotted by its allure, always waiting for the clear skies to reveal to him, his favorite mountain.
He doesn’t know why he loves Machapuchare, he just does, like a love that needs no reasoning. Our local guide Mr.Indra tells us, “No one has ever been able to reach the peak of Machapuchare. Sometimes the first leg set onto it gets broken. Often those who went, never returned. Or those who did, were injured and unable to reach its summit. Planes and helicopters don’t fly over it, because of its powerful magnetic force. And now the Nepalese government has banned all trekkers from climbing its mystery mountain.”
However Mr. Indra, did have a morbid love for dark stories concerning death, so I looked up what Wikipedia had to say, just incase he was indulging himself. “Machapuchare has never been climbed to its summit. The only attempt was in 1957 by a British team led by Jimmy Roberts. Climbers Wilfrid Noyce and A. D. M. Cox climbed to within 50 m of the summit via the north ridge, but did not complete the ascent; they had promised not to set foot on the actual summit. Since then, the mountain has been declared sacred to Lord Shiva, and it is now forbidden to climbers.” It is not always the tallest mountains that are the mightiest (with all respect to Everest).
Something that Machapuchare holds within itself, is its own little secret that remains a mystery and allows none to tread upon it. Bare without footsteps in the company of the sky, we respect the mystery of its virgin peak. Sometimes instead of questioning how or why, you have to just revere mystery. We let the mystery be mysterious to itself, often like it is to be human. Science, Art and Philosophy; all explain their own idea of why we’re here and what we’re doing. Darwin would say Life is but the process of natural selection and Evolution. Ask the great Persian poet Rumi, and he would say life’s purpose is to Love. Many don’t even look further than the roles assigned to them by society that follow a prescribed order. Each has his own explanation, the poet and the scientist, the musician and the philosopher, but life itself goes on to be a mystery like Machapuchare.
by SHENAZ WAHID
photography ZAHID BARI