In a world where culture, language, religion, identities are bland with globalization, Tamangs have preserved their unique culture and identity over hundreds of years. We owe them appreciation in that regard. Here, time is still a product factor of sunrise and monsoon, full moon and harvest. In a place like this, something like clock flunks to command recognition for its existence. In contrast, in our modern lives, the same mechanical tick-tuck decides the pace of life – when to eat, when to sleep, when to work, when to shit. That last phrase was probably too much. If there’s anything that is moving with the pace of life in Gatlang, that is covalence and harmony between the people and nature for hundreds of years. And, their lifestyles still retain similar characteristics of the lifestyles many grandfathers ago.
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A simple dinner with the locals – millet and potatoes, and I am set to roll out. But that was a failed quest. In glimmering light of firewood and kerosene lamps, neighbors talk about daily affairs in their language. The houses are made from stacked stones and wooden roof. That allows enough space and air for sounds to escape. Result? Neighbors five houses apart hear what one talks about in his house. I am no exception. I am hung on thin air without sleep. The twilight stricken Langtang II and Langtang Lirung (7246m) make up for the stolen sleep. Not too long, the sounds extinguish, and suddenly a freezing silence stalks the narrow alleys of the village. It’s 9:00 pm, and smoke cease to exit chimneys. We are deep asleep.
It’s another 6:00 pm, and I was one of the last souls to rise. The sun gilds the flanks of Langtang Lirung, and I am fiddling my lens for the right capture. A black tea with Tibetan bread and conversations stuffed with interesting facts about the village and its traditions. What more? I am out to verify them.
Gatlang – Part III
At a sight, the entire village is similar to individual rooms in a modern house – where rooms are aligned together horizontally in rows. The only difference is the space factor. Space and dimensions fail to prove their engineering ingenuity in Gatlang. Where space is too spacey or too bottlenecked, it loses its proportions.
Gatlang depicts the latter. In our modern cities, a 16 sq. m. room is fed to a person at the least. Here, a 16 sq. m. house is feeding a family of 6-8 persons at the least. Stunned? Privacy, as we understand in modern lives, is reduced to non-existence in Gatlang. It is well-digested negligence of forsaken idea of privacy. It may be a choke for most civilized beings, but who are we to criticize things we don’t understand. Dimensions go wild and crooked regardless of the motion in civilization in Gatlang. Symmetry is human’s attempt to flip nature’s tendencies of irregularities. Gatlang ventures to do that, but natural laws prevail, unwounded.
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