Monday, October 25, 2010

Land of the Yeti

There are many things one can use to represent its country. If you ask anyone about it, one might probably think of things his/her nation created. The Americans might say their corporate ways, the massive great wall and large scale production for the Chinese, Indians might say the ayurveda, and their skilled IT workforce, the Germans their cars, and high tech machinery. With each country having their own specialty; the list is endless.
Now speaking in context of Nepal, that is if I were to represent my own country how would I do it. With the savagery of the khukuri? The might of the Gurkha? The great Himalayas? The birthplace of Buddha?
Or will it be this unheard, rarely used word "the Yeti"?
Yeti suggests a magical creature, sighting of and encounter with the mystical yeti is not uncommon. Almost a year ago, an American expedition near the Everest base camp found a foot print which they claimed to be that of the yeti.
The Himalayas has long been known to be the homeland of the yeti, vivid description of encounters with an immensely fast, strong, dark man like creature is often heard. And if you ask anyone in these regions about the existence of the yeti they will definitely have something to tell you whether it be an anecdote or folklore. And when asked why with all the profound evidence no one has yet captured a yeti, I was told the yeti possesses supernatural powers.
Bizarre as it sounds with all the fantasy and no facts proving the existence of the yeti, what has compelled people in believing in the yeti? How did it even come into being, and why even the wisest of people believe in it. Late Sir Edmund Hillary was convinced that a creature such as the yeti exists and even reported seeing one in his Everest expedition.
Nepal is one of the smallest countries in the world, with its meager contribution to the world economy and added by the fact that it is mostly hills, mountains and deep dark forests. Nepal is a dot in the world map. Few people in the world know of it, few people know of its beauty and the others who have heard of its deep deadly crevices, savage rivers that carve their way through the misty mountains to the sunny plains, ultimately gave Nepal an identity. It became a mystery.
This mystery has been well woven to bring many mysterious creatures to life. Stories of whirling wind in unclimbed mountains, large wandering beasts of burden, undiscovered cascades giving rock faces new, shapes and people’ imagination have only added to this mystery and without any doubt found magical stones of power, mythological artifacts, God itself and maybe the yeti too.
I believe the Yeti is part of that mystery that was shaped from the very foundation of a nation and the people that live in it. It is a surreal mystery that seems so true because of Nepal’s geography, its people, and how Nepal is perceived to be by the outsiders, the mystical land of the yeti.

-Sajin Rajbhandary