Friday, 25 May 2012


 Last year we had barely been in Mussoorie for a few days when my back gave out and I was horizontal for most of the time.  We managed to get our long-hoped for overnight camping in on the last possible day.

History repeats itself.

They say the first time its a tragedy, the second time its a farce.  I don't know which.

But I do know that I am horizontal as I type this - with cramping back muscles that have been my bane for a number of years now.  I am safely back in Shanti Kunj, but after spending 2 days in bed and our departure planned in 48 hours from now, I don't know whether I shall be able to go back to Thane when planned.

But first a bit to bring us up to speed.

Things were going swimmingly.  The highlight of our time in Mussoorie - the long-planned 3 day and 2 night camping trip that Oma and Opa had so lovingly and thoroughly (but of course!) prepared for was well underway.

We had taken the short hike up to Flag Hill.  The tents were pitched.  The firewood was gathered.  We had already had a picnic lunch and now were settling down to our evening meal and campfire.

Everything was perfect.

The crisp cool air whistled through the blue pines and oaks had been washed with the golden setting sun.  A short drizzle had abated and the stars were now peeking through the trees.  We were togged up in our woolens as the bite of the evening air brought us closer to the fire.

Marshmallows were out and being held over the coals.  I reached back for more wood from our pile and felt something give way in my back.

That old sickening feeling was back.  I tried to cover it up.  Quietly lying down.  But like a bad toothache it did not go away.

I had a miserable night.  What should have been a heaven of delight was one long night of pain in our tent.

The next day was spent horizontally.  Out went our plans to go on day hikes to nearby hills.  My view looked out and the beautiful trees from the door of the tent.

In the afternoon I tried to walk - but just couldn't - so I crawled like a dog for 20 meters into the shade and had this view to comfort me.

Amid the dissappointment I was showered with love from all.  Prayers were said.  Food was brought.  I was royally treated as a patient out in the jungle.

And I had books along too.  To take my mind off the pain I went back to the beginning of time and listened in wonder as the great Lion Aslan sang the world into being (The Magician's Nephew)  and I travelled with Digory and Jill under the earth to free the enchanted Prince Rillian and see the joy of the earth-men as they floated down into the wonders of Bism (The Silver Chair). And then there was the evergreen The Wind in the Willows.  I hurt myself laughing as I read through that book under the blue sky.

The next evening came.  It was going to be our last on the hilltop - and the question of how I was going to go down the next day was huge.  I had barely managed to crawl to and fro from the tent.  And that too in pain.

Many prayers went on through the night.  We talked about caling an ambulance and getting a stretcher team up the hill if necessary.

I slept pretty well in the night and in the morning was able to walk a bit.  I lay in the shade waiting as the others gallantly broke up camp.  My job was to entertain our newest Eicher - little Amira who had her camping debut 7 years before her cousin Enoch.

And then amazingly I was able to walk down the hill.  A real miracle.

A taxi took me back to the top of the hill and then I gingerly walked down to Shanti Kunj - grateful for a home and a refuge.

And so the last two days have slipped by with me horizontal.  More books read.  More sleep.  The beauty of Shanti Kunj all around me.  Love in large measure.

Its still hard to be horizontal though.  To have my private pain and not to know whether I will be able to go down the mountain with Sheba and Asha and Enoch on Sunday to catch our Monday train for Mumbai.

And so I pray and try to be thankful in all things.

While next to me Ashish and Enoch's lovingly crafted lego creation of a pizzaria sits on the table.

And as I type these words Asha is asleep after coming back from the Spring Concerts at Woodstock School (with all the other family members other than Dad).  Sheba is reading a book in bed while Enoch is with me watching the Indian Premier League cricket match on the other part of this computer.

Life is not always exactly like we want it.  But what a blessing to be cared for so lovingly here in Mussoorie.

I am horizontal.  At least for the near future.  But I believe that I am down but not out!


  1. sorry the back went out . . grateful for you to be able to rest and enjoy this time with family . . . take care -- send my greetings to everyone!

  2. Sorry to hear about your back... Just an indication of how hard you had been working...rather serving...

  3. Thanks friends - one of our elders told us a few years ago that if we do not take rest the Lord will give it to us ... in a hospital bed... I think I am seeing the point of what he said! Thanks for your prayers and encouragements!