Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mules in the Pindari Valley

While trekking in the Pindar Valley, it is difficult to escape the mules and ponies. Their cheerful jingling wakes one up early when the loaded ponies set off. On the trail, they are everywhere. It is nice to meet the patient little beasts plodding up a path and exchange a greeting or two with the owners.

A slightly less pleasant aspect is the dung on the path..especially when it is buzzing with flies, but that is a cue to think, "ah! soil fertilization!" and carry on.

The ponies are for the large part well treated. they do lead a hard life, but so does everyone in the Himalayas. They are not very pet-able, but that is largely because they are used to being treated as working comrades rather then 'whosaprettyboy'.

The chai stall at Mallya Daur is a rest stop for the mules as well as a salt lick. And those guys do crave their salt! That was the only time I saw the ponies being aggressive towards one another. Mine!

In a tourism-driven valley inaccessible by road, everything is brought in on their backs. groceries, vegetables, carpets, machinery, furniture, clothes- Everything. Like all working creatures, the mules and ponies also appreciate their time off. I watched as a mule was unloaded in Dwali. The instant its harness was off, it went purposefully to a patch of grass and rolled onto its back. I could almost hear the deep and happy sigh. In the evenings, of course, the animals are free to do as they please. Tomorrow is another working day.


Anonymous said...

not petable- because they are used to being treated as working comrades rather than whosaprettyboy-

the things you notice, the way you explain the probable reasons for them-

as if 'forgiving' the world for whatever unpleasantness it has..

your blog gives me so much..

mabel said...

i feel like a mule today. your blog gives me hope :)