Humans of Himachal

Stories • Destinations • Motivation

A Contrast in Life

It’s apple plucking season in Himachal, and since the pandemic has brought everyone back home, it’s all hands on deck! We’ve been spending all our days in the orchards, plucking, carrying, and packing apples with high hopes of getting a fair price for all the hard work. Trust me, it’s not easy for someone like me, spoiled by the corporate luxury of sitting and getting the job done without breaking a sweat.

On one such day, tired and out of breath, I put down my bag and decided to stretch a little to relax my muscles and nerves. I could hear all the women up on the trees still plucking and talking cheerfully, some on the ground picking the fallen apples with their bright smiles and cracking jokes with each other. And as I sat there, cross-legged, and as still as death, looking out at a beautiful range of mountains, I got swayed by a sudden flood of thoughts.

I started thinking about how naive and innocent we are as kids, making steering wheels out of old pipes and little houses with mud and sticks. Oblivious of the breaking of hearts and healing broken bones with kisses. When finishing the food first and following a trail of ants to their home is our only most significant achievement.

And then one day, we wake up as 30 year-olds, worrying about the balance in our bank and how much the stock market fluctuated. Chasing after awards and rewards, and tiring ourselves again with work that once felt like a vacation, but is now just a tedious job that we hate but continue to let us eat from the inside anyways to keep the plate full and the house running.

Are we really living or just trying not to die?

I thought about it for almost ten minutes before I stood up to get back to work, and I’m still thinking about it as I write this. I hope you do too.

-Arundhati Thakur (@ofpoetryandpeople)

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