They just moved ahead of us, can’t you fucking speed up? , said the elder brother.
The younger brother responded, his face all red and body sweating on a cloudy winter day in Dharamshala, “Come on bro, it is so tiring. And what is the point of going there, it is too far, we don’t even have jackets and we are wearing bathroom chappals. I am damn sure that we will go back all drenched to home and mom will beat the shit out of us.”
Why don’t you grow up? Look at them, they are just like us but look they are going to the next level and we are just sitting here, said big brother.
The younger brother abused himself and reluctantly started moving towards the next destination and said to himself, “Why we have to beat them? Can’t we be just what we are?”
They both had decided to roam in the hilly area, which happened to be just below the mighty Dhauladhar Ranges, that’s where they used to live in their colony. They would go and visit the lower ranges of the great Dhauladhar, almost every other day.
However, today they met few foreigners who have come to the majestic lands of Himachal to see, feel and be blessed by the nature. The elder brother was overwhelmed and he wanted to stay ahead of those foreigners.
If they would climb one mountain, he decided to climb three. The brothers sprinted and reached at the top of another mountain. However, those foreigners have decided to call it day. They had pitched their tents and were enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature.
The brothers could see them relaxing; the elder brother had this sense of joy in his eyes. The younger brother also had a sense of pride in his eyes but it was absolute. He was feeling good about being there, where he was, not about beating someone in the race, in a race that ‘he’ never started.
Let us go, that one is the last, said the elder brother pointing towards the next visible hill.
“Are you crazy? How do you know that is the last one? That is what you said when we were down there, and now we have climbed two more hills and none seems to be the last one”, said the younger one, perspiring, his face almost swollen because of high altitude and chilling winds.
BB – Come on now, listen to me. I know this is going to be the last one; we will be on the top then. These foreigners will be able to see us clearly from there.
YB – Why do you want to be seen by them? Didn’t they look at us and smiled when we were just starting? How will they get to know if it is we or some wild animals grazing at the top?
BB – They will know, when you are at the top, everybody knows you.
YB – Do you want to know them?
BB – No, I do not.
YB – Then what makes you think that they want to know about you? If you are at the top or at the bottom, why would anyone care?
The elder brother had moved on and the younger brother could not do anything but move behind his brother because he was feeling scared by now, as it was getting dark. They both started climbing the next visible hill and after thirty minutes of struggle, they reached at the ‘top’.
And when they reached there, younger brother was overjoyed at the sight, but the elder brother could not hide his disappointment.
YB – See bhai, look at the mighty Dhauladhaar, it is just endless, there are so so many tops, that’s why they call it Dhauladhar Range, I guess.
There is no top, said the elder brother to himself, I thought it was the last place to be reached. He could not admire the beauty of the vast Himalayan landscape; the open sky and the endless mountains; he just could not notice them. He was blinded by the fact that there was no top.
The day has ended but he could not reach at the top.
However, the younger brother was over joyous at the sight, now he did not want to leave that place. However, both of them had to leave because they had to go back to home. They slowly descended and moved past the sleeping foreigners. The younger brother was turning back and looking at the ‘top’ from where they have just came back.
The elder brother was still thinking about the fact that there was no top at all.
The elder brother was too young to think beyond his mind, he could not accept the fact there was something beyond his vision too. But he was just 13 years old and at 13 you are allowed to make mistakes because they enable you to learn.
Several Years Later
The younger brother has studied and earned more than enough and now he had gone into depression because he could not handle the pressure of life, if life has ever exerted pressure on anyone. The reason could not be figured out; however it was assumed that he wanted to make more money, buy bigger cars because he wanted to outsmart his friend and his friends and his friend’s friends.
The elder brother was telling him a story, so that he can pull his brother out of depression. The doctors had failed and they had declared his case hopeless.
The elder brother said, “You remember our old days? The small town days, when we were kids, we used to climb the hills. Every time we would climb a hill, we would see another hill, taller and farther. And if my memory serves me right, once we even went on to climb the taller hill, which we thought was the biggest mountain of the region.
And when we reached there, what did we see?
A series of higher hills, spread all around. We were so confused and we decided to come back.
That is life.
No one reaches at the top. There is no top at all. You have to draw a line, not for this society, not for people around you but for yourself because in this blind pursuit, in the blind race of winning the race, you forget to look around, to stop and breathe and to see the colors that actually make up life. You keep running and when you realize , OK, I am tired now, so this must be my top, and then you realize you just don’t recognize the colors, because your eyes have forgotten to recognize them.”
The younger brother blinked and a silent tear rolled down his eyes.