I’ve just moved to a remote village high in the Himalayas. Forgive me for not naming it, but I’d hate to see it become the latest hot destination, though it may be too far off the beaten track for that, anyway. I love this village, which is filled with simple, unpretentious people going about their lives in a very straightforward manner. Everyone is friendly and the feeling is generally a harmonious one.
Even the dogs are well-mannered. They rarely bark at people—except for night intruders, probably, if there were any—but leopards, tigers and monkeys generally make them go berserk. Animals can’t be left out after dark because of the predators, and people tend not to stay out late, either. This certainly isn’t a place for lovers of nightlife.
The flat is partially furnished, but the kitchen has nothing but a little table and a small shelf, which isn’t really big enough even for the dry goods. I put the stove on a metal trunk, which requires sitting on a mat on the floor to cook. The wire dish rack is sitting on some wooden blocks to get it up off the floor. Vegetable cutting happens on a cutting board placed on a clean newspaper on the floor to catch escaped veggies. There’s no fridge. I get everything fresh from the market every morning. Soon I’ll be getting milk from a cow across the road, as well.
Naturally, I was thinking of getting a counter made so I could cook standing up as I’m used to, but I’ve discovered that I like sitting on the floor to cook. This is how most Indians cook, actually, and I’ve noticed that many cooks employed in homes with Western-style kitchens still prefer to sit on the floor to cut vegetables. I’ll make a low counter for the stove and food prep so that I can do everything sitting on the floor except wash the dishes. It’s so relaxing to sit and cook that it turns the whole process into a rather meditative one. It will actually be hard to go back to a Western-style kitchen.
Unfortunately, the only sink is in the bathroom, so that requires a bit of adjusting, too. I’m hoping it will be possible to put one in the kitchen. A few more little upgrades and the place will be really comfortable. I plan to stay here for quite a while, so it will be worth the effort. It’s a good place, and the balcony has a truly inspiring view of some of the highest Himalayan peaks.
There are a few fruit and vegetable sellers and at most a couple dozen other little shops, as well as one bank, an Internet cafe, a post office and a few hotels and restaurants. Total population could hardly be more than a few hundred people. Although there is a bigger market town less than half an hour away, it’s a few hours drive to the nearest town of any significant size.
Many people would get bored after a while, but for me this is bliss. I have some friends here, so company is available when I want it. I usually meet up with one or another of my friends every day. It helps that some of them are extraordinarily interesting people, of course. Otherwise, I mostly just write and meditate and go for walks.