Cold and forbidding to some, a comfort and solace to others, India's mountainscapes are a testimony to the endurance of the human spirit.
From the Himalayas in the north to the Nilgiris in the south, there exists a diverse range of physical, cultural and aesthetic lifestyles. 'Into the high ranges' brings together essays and creative works by some of the India's best known contemporary writers as well as fresh writings by other authors whose imaginations have been fired by these high reaches.
Covering a broad spectrum of themes that delve into literature, history, culture and politics, these narratives present an intimate view that differs from stereotypical musings on mountains.
Namita Gokhale writes about returning home to the Kumaon Himalayas to search for calm and meditative silence, while Agha Shahid Ali's poems long for the solace once provided by his home in the Kashmir valley. Jamling Norgay risks everything to retrace his father's historic journey to the top of the world, and David Tomory reminisces about the seventies and his rock and roll youth in Mc Leodganj. Ruskin Bond shares his passion for the 'great trees of the mountains', even as Suketu Mehta points out the hazards of their rapid depletion and exploitation. Gita Mehta traces the relationship between the river and the mountains just as lucidly as Allan Sealy describes the magic of the rains in the hills.
Also contained in this collection are stories that highlight the culture and lore of mountain communities, descriptions of the daily labours of mountain folk, articles on the havoc created by war in the border environments like the strife-torn Siachen glacier, and many such thought provoking accounts.
With an insightful introduction by Ravina Aggarwal,this anthology is essential reading for the mountain lover and arm-chair traveller alike.