What's it About?
|Image source: Flipkart page for this book.|
Meet Anamika Mukherjee. While on a trek in Markha Valley in Ladakh with her husband and friends, she suffered from pulmonary oedema, and had to abort the trek mid-way. She returned to Leh for rest and recuperation.
Ok, that's just he beginning of the story. What happened after that is the real thing. While her husband returned home having completed the trek, Anamika stayed back. And, after she had recovered enough, set her sights on completing the trek that she had left unfinished!
This journey is what the book “Worth Every Gasp – A Lone Woman's Journey In the Himalayas” is all about. Anamika was joined by an acquaintance Ballu, who had in the past accompanied them as a guide on a few treks in Uttaranchal. Yes – you read that right. A lone woman, trekking in the Himalayas with a man who is not her husband!
Anamika spent a few months trekking in the Himalayas. She started in and around the “lower altitude” (ya, right!) Manali . This was to get a feel for her readiness for the higher altitude treks in Ladakh. Once she was reasonably sure she could pull through, she got back to Ladakh, where she completed, among others, the Markha valley trek which had been her nemesis last time round. That accomplished, she also spent a few weeks back in Himachal Pradesh, rounding off her adventures with the trek to Chandertaal, and then one final visit to the Valley of Flowers in Uttaranchal.
For one, the adventure itself is extraordinary. I mean, can you even begin to imagine the adventure quotient of this trip? In addition, the writing style is so endearing and alluring, I almost packed my bags and left for Ladakh while reading this book.
The language, the wit and humor. You would be pleasantly surprised at the number of philosophical questions that are put forth in the book, disguised as anecdotes.
Then, the writing is also very candid. It is full of matters which we all think about but never say out loud.
- “What? A married woman sleeping in the same tent as a guide?”
- How does one cope with toilet issues on journeys like these?
- How does a woman cope with unwanted attention, especially if she's a solitary traveler?
But, most of all, the thing that made me absolutely riveted to the book is the author's description of the places. Believe me when I say that describing natural beauty is a gift. And the author is gifted. I found myself repeatedly doing a Google image search for the places she mentions, and quite often finding that the image she drew for me very closely matches the image on screen.
All in all, if you are a travel enthusiast, a trekker, a nature lover or a Ladakh-addict, then this book is for you. I guarantee you – you will not be disappointed.