On looking at the north face of the mighty Nanga Parbat lies Fairy Meadows at an altitude of 3,300m. I remember when I was five and there was this one generic picture we would all draw, of cows munching grass, with a forest, snowy mountains, a bright blue sky, and never to forget, the big rainbow that used to fan out across the page. Born and bred in Karachi, where snow capped peaks aren’t exactly found everywhere, yet every child in my class drew that one picture. It was a fanciful image, inspired by fairy tales.
Fourteen years later, that same picture I drew when I was five came to life this June when visiting Fairy Meadows. The image was accompanied by the smell of heather, pine cones and fresh manure, along with the light headed feeling and sausage fingers that come with altitude sickness. Accompanied now with the ability to prance around the cows, to trek through the forest, and to watch falling stars under the night sky which bathed the Naked Mountain with star light.
The surreal feeling that Nanga Parbat was right in front of me, the snout like shape the rocks and snow made on its surface, looking down at me as if challenging me to climb it. I can’t help but snigger at the thought. As if! – Text and photos by Kulsum Ebrahim.