Dr. Noel Coutinho heads the Business Development at ekincare, he is a firm believer in wellness and walks the talk when it comes to health and fitness. His recent trip to Kang Yatze in the Leh region is a very inspiring tale that one should not miss.
My trip to Kang Yatze (6250 m) a peak in the Leh region of Ladhak happened between July 25 th to Aug 05 th 2019. I knew it was a “mission” that would be pushing my physical and mental limits, but somewhere deep inside I knew there would be more in store for my personal benefit even if I didn’t try to look too hard.
I have been fascinated by the Himalayas after having walked, driven through, and now even summited a peak in different parts of the mountains that are said to be raised from the sea. But, its not just the rugged mountains, the treacherous trails or the stunning valleys that are inspirational for me. I found true inspiration in the locals who survive in these conditions.
The locals of Leh have a deep and rich history of culture and existence. What fascinated me is the way these inhabitants have evolved. Whether residents of a small village of 5-8 families or nomads who roam these wide spaces high above the earth, they have found the way to live healthily.
As I trudged along for 9 days through valleys, rivers, and plains, walking for up to 7 – 8 hours per day I interacted with kids and elders alike and a common thread started to form. Theirs was a life of simplicity – simple food, simple living, and simple moving, and this made them simply strong, simply resilient and simply happy. Most of what they lived off was local – streams of mineralized water from the melting snow high up in the region, barley and vegetables are grown in what looks like an oasis in the middle of the rocky desert.
Diary products from the cattle they tend. Electricity from the sun. Disciplined lives of early to bed and early to rise keeping in tune with the natural resources available to them. They are proud to say they don’t “import” from the city. Education was important to them. The entire route we trekked and villages we camped in had ample emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness. Difficult conditions for a city person like me but pleasurable to see how things could still be done the right way with the most meager of resources.
I summited the peak with much difficulty (and a lot of prayers) having experienced extreme heat, rains, and even snow during the course of the trek with thinning oxygen levels needless to say. I was unlike my puny yet physically strong guide who did it with ease for the nth time in his young career, having done all the simple things over and over again innumerable times during the tourist season (he volunteers and teaches during the break).
I thanked my self for the hard work I had put in to prepare for this seemingly crazy “mission”. Yet, I want to say this – being healthy can be simple and fun and not an overburdening task. Our city lives may be busy, but we can keep healthy without complicating it. Locally sourced food, simple physical activity, basic hygiene, acts of caring for the community and more importantly being informed can go a long way in scaling new heights of healthy and productive living.
Back in Mumbai, I don’t know what my next crazy “mission” is going to be, but I know I can do better from my learnings from the Himalayas, from my guide and the 73 year old horseman and the many Ladhakis who shared energetic smiles and vibes. They will be my inspiration to inspire many more to find a simple way to health.
It also reminds me of a quatrain that I now can relate to much more –
“The truth we mortals need
For us to blest and keep
The Almighty slightly covered over
But did not bury deep.”