The true men of Himachal, an unseen side | Milaap

The true men of Himachal, an unseen side

So what makes a rather sceptical female like myself fall in love with the attitude of the men who are either from Himachal or came here long years back and became of the place.  They say staying amidst nature brings out the outmost natural part within you. Maybe it is the air of this majestic place or just the insignificance of human existence that mild down the actions of bold MEN into a rustic value.

What could possibly be better than this?

Shyam, is a young lad of 21 who is dreaming of opening his own homestay in Kalga, a small hamlet in Himachal Pradesh.  Leaving his home back in Kerala he strives every day at many homestays to learn the art of running a people’s place. Might I say he has excelled in that job way faster than most of the degree earners would have? With a smile on his face and eagerness to feed everyone around him, there is no doubt he makes much of a charming man. But can we imagine that a young boy who is still growing up has taken a staunch decision of taking care of an 11-year-old child he found in the nearby village. He has taken the responsibility of giving that poor boy a home, a job and when time permits some wit about the world. For many, this must-have moved mountains inside one’s head but Shyam simply puts it as, “ I have a brother, an elder one, I know what it means to have a shade above your head”.

Shyam posses for a picture

Saran is a lean guy who never runs out of energy. All-day he is either replenishing the mis-carvings of the doors of the many toilets we have here or he is cleaning the mess caused by over-enthusiastic groups this homestay invites every night. After the day’s work, he quietly sits in the kitchen and listens to some classic Karnatic music which he says gives him the peace. With a slipper and a jacket one day he walked off to Kheerganga and came down running calling out my name. There I saw his shining bright smile and sweat dripping from his forehead and it took me a while to take my eyes down to his hands. A bag filled with bottles and plastic he got down from the hill above. Being a human I might take the wrong turn of thinking it was for me but as he lays down, “Like I understood, one day everyone will, they all will have hope Didi”.

Saran gives us a smile

The pair of Gautam and Sunil Bhaiya is like Jai and Veeru from Sholey. The former is a driver and the latter is conductor, and warn you they take their job rather seriously and with absolute dignity. I happened to meet them on my hopping from one village of Spiti Valley to another. That which started with a mild introduction on a busy local bus ended up as a lifetime relationship. How? Well, a night at the small quarter of these two gentlemen who gave me shelter for the twilight considering my low budget was for starters. The palatable meal of traditional Himachali veggies, dal and chapatti, cooked with love just added to the warmth. They had no reason to give a home to a stranger but they felt that my cause was beyond that of wandering.  They gave me their bus to snuggle up to in colder nights when they couldn’t manage a concrete wall for me. Such trust can come from minds that know not to think of ill doings.  As Sunil Bhaiya says, “Helping you, is helping the cause and that is the extent to which daily labourers like us can do”.

Gautam Bhaiya

Sunil Bhaiya

How much agony can a growing child of 19 hold that he stands out in an icy cold evening by a tree and expresses his grievances about what goes under oblivion in the mesmerizing beauty of Demul, a high raised village in Spiti.  The very cold that attracts us from the plains to the hills, brings death every winter in this village for there is no access to any health care. To make a phone call one has to walk miles and by then, household demise knocks on the door. Then, a village that runs on dairy, has no professional vets so it, not just our own kind that perishes in the winters, the cattle face the wrath as well. Demul is blessed with one school and cursed with the absence of teachers.  Tenzing says that his village produces the best of labourers but all out of compulsion not out of the will. With a shrill in his voice, he expresses his anger for being settled with the age-old tradition of following ancestors blindly when the whole world is progressing. That very voice also had a sense of pride when he curbed his involvement in the bus service recently started by the Government in the summer times. These were the last words of this young rebel, “When I am a father I will never allow my children to go through what I have gone, they will study, they will grow and if they have to lay hands on constructions it will be their will, not by brute force”.


It does not take an organization per se to do good to even think about taking a small step towards positive change. All it needs is an individual effort and beyond that the hope that we all are capable of doing something more worthy than our personal egoistic desires. My pride and reverence lie with all such men who have assisted me, a mere woman, and my kind, in walking the path of service.