[Click on the image above to open Full Resolution image in New Window]
Of course cadre means everything to an All India Service officer. Well, almost. Like what sort of bungalow you shall live in. How many ardalies shall call out your name, or whether any at all. What kind of wife you will find yourself with, and I don’t mean Homo sapiens sapiens. So, when I knew, or when I was told that I would be getting Himachal cadre (the latter of which was much earlier – apprehension dawned much before knowledge), I congratulated myself that my cadre and I are made for each other. After all, such an inveterate indolent specimen can hardly find refuge in the more hostile climes of the plains. Down below, literally. I always told myself, up shall I go. Much happened in between, and we shall have lots of occasion to go into that, but to cut a long story short, I went to Manali. It was a charming trip, and among the many unforgettable memories I carry shall be one of the glistening Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar, above the Beas basin, in Manali. At 10:30 PM I beheld a slice of what Longines long ago called ‘the sublime’. I beheld the sight, and the sight beheld me. I remember a charming line from James Joyce’s Araby: “her name was a summons to all my foolish blood”. The moonkissed slopes of snow blew a shudder in me. But the effect was quite akin to what it would have been had Mangan’s sister been there – standing close. The shutterbug that I was, I started tweaking my settings. I got some lovely snaps in the middle of the night, with long exposure. Many of them were taken with an exposure of 16 seconds. And then back home I ‘sewed’ those pictures to create my first panorama. Here is a full resolution version of my touch with sublime.