Learning Forward Podcast

Life At My Pace - Aati Pema

While I procrastinate, I remember some things that make me want to curl up and stop existing and others that make me grateful for them happening.

What you're about to read would be hard to actually sympathise with and enjoy if I do not give you the setup, so I hope you enjoy it.

I was a young boy almost in 5th trade, and being raised in Ladakh, I was like many drawn to the waters not by the thirst to drink but with the desire to immerse myself in the bone-chilling waters; though many could not swim, it did not stop us from enjoying it. For me personally, I remember embracing and enjoying every aspect of it, the bone-chilling river young from the glaciers making our nose redder than Rudolf's, the clear sky with its thin atmosphere letting the scorching sun bath us with its warmth as we lay on the sandy banks. The whole experience was perfected by the breathtaking views of the mighty mountains touching the clouds with their tips where it snowed permanently.

Now that you know how it was to be there, I will tell you a secret: we were not allowed to go near the river. But it only made it more of an adventure, so we used to make these plans to go to which place when, and we were always on the lookout for new spots. One day, one of my friends came excitedly and said that he had found a great place and we had to see it. The problem was that my hand was plastered, but I let it off and went anyway.

When we went there, we reached a gate with spikes, which I barely managed to get over. As we approached the pool, I saw why he was so excited. Usually, the waters would be high and were a continuous river, but from time to time, it lowered and let small ponds reveal themselves. It was one of such ponds, but it was unique because it was steaming, and the water was pleasantly warm a natural hot spring! 

We did not need any invite going bare; we jumped right in. I ensured my left arm was always above water and could enjoy just as much. After we were done it was almost dark we were glad that we had gone on a weekend, but as we reached the road I saw my mother searching for me, and when she saw she was not happy! We were scolded for a while, and my friends were asked whether they needed to be dropped home, but as their houses were just a bit away, they went after apologising. 

As I said bye to my friends, I told them where I had been and was again scolded for my carelessness. But till we reached our home, my mother's anger had subsided after having dinner as I lay in the bed with my mother watching a serial I did not know. I fell asleep while still thinking it was great. I did not know how to describe my feelings then, but I do now. It was a pure, immense sense of happiness and gratitude for everything: my mother, friends, and homeland.

This was one day of my life, but this made a part of me.

- Aati Pema
Pestalozzi Children's Village India


  1. Makes me want to visit Ladakh.... Lovely thoughts Aati


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