What Pangong Tso Taught Me About Beauty

Posted: October 10, 2018

Pangong, the world’s highest brackish lake helped author redefine and understand the concept of beauty better. 

“…before us stretched a lake like a sheet of molten lapis lazuli, merging into intense ultramarine in the distance and into radiant cobalt blue and opalescent Veronese green towards the nearer shore, fringed with gleaming white beaches, while the mountain that framed this incredible colour display was of golden ochre, Indian red and burnt sienna, with purple shadows. Yes, this was the luminous landscape of my dream, rising out of the blue waters in brilliant sunshine under a deep, cloudless sky!”

— The Way of the White Cloud by Lama Anagarika Govinda




My visit to Pangong lake in Ladakh made me ponder on our clichéd version of beauty, so intricately marketed by the fashion world. And social media that makes most of us, unable to cherish the beauty in vulnerability, barrenness, and rawness. So, here are my musings and opinion about beauty –

• Beauty does not require a secure environment to sprout but it survives and even flourishes in the harshest environments. Situated in this biting cold location, this lake is a testimony of how to flourish in adversity. It comes as no surprise why people who rose like a phoenix from the ashes have the most beautiful soul.

• Just because there is no life , it does not mean it is dead. Pangong being the world’s highest brackish lake does not support aquatic life except for some small crustaceans. Finding even a blade of grass on the rocky and dusty mountains would be like a treasure. To add on to this is the deafening silence of this place. In spite of all this I have never felt so alive in my life. As human beings, we judge people so easily. Being a certified introvert it was very easy for people to classify me as boring, dull and even lifeless. I guess people who connected to my writings and understood the meaning behind my sketches can vouch for my cryptic liveliness!

• For many, the cynosure could be the ethereal blue of the lake. For me, it was the brazenness of those dry, barren, cold, mountains that acted as an oasis by accentuating the blue of the lake and adding a dash of colour and depth to the existing mercurial blue. The world might find beauty in cosmetics but for me that beauty is ephemeral. Eternal beauty starts from a woman’s thoughts, her humour in the most vulnerable situation, her raw looks even when she has cried the whole night and her unrelenting spirit amidst all odds. That’s what poetry is and poetry is the most beautiful ornament.

Image Source – Wikipedia

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