22 Jun 2013


Chris Gayle discovers marijuana, denounces hair care.  
When Girlfriend and I set off on a trek around Kasol a day after my book launch, the rules were clear: personal hygiene would be a personal choice. No judgments would be made, no snide comments would be passed and we would spend our days in sun-soaked, rain-drenched Himalayan hermitage in blissful quest for the muse. We were damned if we couldn’t squeeze some literary juice out of a month in the hills, what with Girlfriend having quit gainful employment and yours truly never really joining the ranks of the big boys in the taxman’s scheme of things. We were, therefore we’d write.

For those who don’t know (I say that grandly, but I hadn’t heard of the place till Girlfriend drew out the itinerary and circled our stops in idiot-proof red on Google Maps on her tab), Kasol is apparently where half the Israelis in their early 20s come to let their hair down and generally bum around after two (for women, four for men) compulsory years of military service.  Seriously, I’ve learnt more Hebrew from shop signs here than I did in twelve traumatic years of catechism classes. 

Generally marijuana-friendly and devoted to the thaandav-doing, chillum-toting Hindu stoner deity Shiva, the town is a pint-sized cross section of little gullies and one winding main road by the banks of the River Parvati, whose valleys produce some of the best hashish in India. Once the stronghold of Hindu pilgrims and babas, Kasol now boats of a vibrant multi-cultural hippie populace, from suitably unarmed Israeli forces to backpackers from Europe and America, dreadloacks and tie-dye everywhere.  

The baba is the collective- if curious- patron saint of the movement. Armed with nothing but chillums and a Beatles-worthy catalogue of variants of the same song, they stomp up and down these mountains in valiant search of the self, pausing only at the Hot Springs atop Kheer Ganga for some TLC. Our own plan was a little less Deepak Chopra, but the destination was the same. We’ve been here a few days now and we haven’t made the 4-hour trek to Kheer Ganga yet, but encouragingly, the babas don’t appear to be in any great hurry either. You can find them holding court in several of Kasol’s cafes, surrounded by awe-struck millennials and spouting platitudes to Shiva while smoking (and graciously passing around) the holy herb. We haven’t gotten much writing done, but all is, as the Israelis would say, sababa.    

                                       Icy Highs's Music Recco: Kula Shaker- Govinda  


austere said...

I trust this isn't in Uttarakhand/ HP and you're ok.

icyHighs said...

Haha I'm in HP indeed but far away from the floods. It's like 20 degrees here. I wish it'd danger up a little. :)

Anonymous said...

Did you really say "unarmed Israeli forces"? You kidding me - right?


Is it the affect of the holy herb?

Honestly it hard to imagine "unarmed Israeli forces + holy herb which = sababa" without thinking you were hallucinating.


icyHighs said...

No matter where you're from and what type of person you are, it's all peace and love this side of the border, BAB. :)