We are not Mountains

As Leyla and I bid farewell to Leo and Karen early this morning, the mood was nowhere near as heavy as I would have expected. Her final words before she got onto that harbinger of dorm goodbyes, the airport minibus, were the following pearls:

“We are not mountains; humans meet.”

Even as I basked inwardly in the dawn-lit glow of the wisdom of the ancients, coming from a mouth that often spouted it - punctuating many other things – I knew I would write this entry.

In another culture, songs exhort young children to grow up to be like mountains – tall, proud, unfaltering. The Sankrit word “atal”, roughly meaning ‘immovable’ or ‘imperturbable’, is often cited as a virtue. It was nice to be reminded of a context in which men may not aspire to be like mountains. We will move. We will travel. Someday, our paths will cross.

A similar, though less philosophical mood was palpable on the final night in Lesvos. Group photographs were shot in every possible permutation and combination of classmates, with the same happy, almost overwhelmed smile on faces. In most pictures, my smile reads:

I may not know your person well. I may not know your story. But I am immensely happy to have met you and be thrown together for a year. I am prouder by that degree. I can boast to have known a (….) ian / i / ese. I can make a knowing sound at the mention of that country. I feel connected without ever having been there. When I do get there, I will not arrive to an unknown land.

MESPOM brought us together and after a break will reunite us with half our numbers. The little time we had with some is over. There is no room for mistakes that lose me time with those that I have some more left with.

As for further in the future, mountains may rise high enough so they can all see where the others are, but mountains do not meet. May I have Karen’s wider vision of the future. May I aspire to meet as much as to rise.

Sachin Kumar BADKAS