For Annapurna, the Mountain Queen

Annapurna, your precipices looked forbidding enough
without that hostile glare that you gave to onlookers;
your walls covered with knee-deep snow, your tongue
lashed with the smile of loss, your lips curled in a
laugh that was cruel than death itself; you painted
quite the picture. The aversion could have been
shrugged off and torn into pieces only if you were
willing to, but it took me long enough to realise
that the hostility was only a pretence – that deep within
you welcomed us all into your lap.

A lap that was colder than the degree to which
human faith could go. Annapurna, did you even realise how
beautiful and ghastly you looked at the same time?
Your onlookers paid tribute after tribute to your eyelashes
while all I could see were the fangs that would engulf
me in an avalanche that was only your creation; only
you could have been so hateful to those of your
admirers. You asked them to go the extra mile, as
the French did in 1950, yet you were not satisfied;
you sent them tumbling down running away

from the animal that you had turned yourself into.
They named you after the Hindu goddess of food
and nourishment, yet all you gave were barren delights;
only those who went close to you could have noticed
your bare fangs, from 45km away you seemed pristine
to a 21-year-old from Hyderabad who had only heard of
you and the challenge you posed to those who wanted
to go near you. You gave death to those who wanted
to touch you, and paradise to those who wanted to
just know you. You did not want to be attained.

Annapurna, these days I wonder if you shall
remember me or Maurice Herzog more fondly. He, who
exposed your weaknesses and brought perennial shame
to your snowy flanks, or I, who watched you from afar,
brooding and promising to myself that life wouldn’t
have been half as well-lived if I hadn’t seen it from
the diagonally torturing corners of your balcony.
Or whether you still believe that I will come back,
having made a name for myself and claiming the
assurance you presented to me that day.

Mohul Bhowmick is a national-level cricketer and passionate writer. He is also pursuing an MBA from Osmania University and has published three books of poetry.

Featured image credit: Wikipedia/Annapurna