I have been asked ‘what was ONE moment / event in your US trip, that stays with you?’ Prefacing the answer with ‘choosing one is difficult’ is as close to truth as truth itself. Not only that, it is fashionable you see. Any famous director worth his film roll has these first words in response to ‘whats the best movie that you have directed?’!
In my trip, the grandeur of man made creations stand tall in memory best matched by the moments spent soaking up oodles of natural beauty and the sheer majesticity of nature, left less touched. Those were truly moments that took my breath away. Quite obviously a few will get detailed in these pages.
While those moments took my breath away, there were other moments that filled me with LIFE. Much as the mind races to recount the stories of the bay-buildings and beauty, quite unsurpassed as they are, the heart wills to share these other stories.
Stories of people. Moments tucked away in the suppressed mutter of a word, the resounding splendour of a ringing laugh, a quiet exchange of an idea, a shared understanding through a glance, handshakes, brush pasts and many others, all heralding simple conversation! Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Desis, Mexicans, Britons, Australians and many others. And ofcourse, Americans. Including the original Americans!
‘Been living here, ever since I know. Having Mother nature taking care of your backyard is worth it all’. With a wistful twist, she added, ‘She makes the big mountains, small rivers, and smaller people’. Her voice trailed off, allowing silence to complete the sentence !
We chatted for a while, about life, living, giving and contentment. Even as she maneuvered the buggy on a terrain that was tough, sporting an intelligence that was profound and an attitude that was humbling.
The Hualapai people, as they are called, are a native American tribe who live in the mountains of Arizona. Markedly distinct in their features, if not in their costume.
One of the attractions of the Grand Canyon is a skywalk, atop the canyon. Some sort of a cantilever bridge, built on an edge of the Canyon to give people a REAL view ! With strength enough to support 71 filled up Boeing 747s ! Some chutzpah ! Isnt it !?!
Which brings me back to the lady and her sign off statement. I told her that I was Indian as well. But a different Indian !
With a twinkle in her eye, a sparkling smile on her lips and a warm hand placed on my shoulder, she responded, “The more different we seem the more alike we are. We are all from mother nature. Come again young man. It was nice talking to you”
I thought of us and our pangs around ‘development’, tradition, preservation, distractions and such else. It seemed to be the story of the world ! “The more different we seem, the more alike we are !”