Where I live the land is mostly plain. Sure there are ups and downs, but not much that you notice. There are plenty of trees around and an aerial view looks like a sea of green. So, when I see a treeless terrain presided over by barren mountains, I try to imagine how life must be in such conditions. How would it be to wake up daily to have a mountain as your neighbor, or a stationary fixture in your backyard?
Driving to Nizwa fort yesterday (the brother-in-law drove, I was only a backseat passenger and hence had enough time to watch my surroundings and ponder), I noticed the arresting presence of the mountains on either side. The left side had mountains of different heights one behind the other, looking pretty as a picture, the color going from dark to light to lighter, but at a distance from the road.
To my right though, they were closer and towering. Time in the form of wind seemed to have written volumes on its surface. The pockmarks, streaks, rifts, crevices, the roundness in some places, razor-sharpness in others, told their own story. But what really amazed me were the houses nestling beneath them (and the people living in those houses), even the three-storey high buildings looked like tiny toy houses next to the mountains.
I wondered what those living in those houses felt having a mountain almost in their backyard. I tried to imagine having a huge mountain as my permanent neighbor, living life in its shadow, waking up in the morning to find it peering at me through the window, watching over me as I stood outside in the balcony in the evening drinking tea and feeling its brooding presence as I slept at night.
I couldn’t actually imagine it, but I tried to anyway. That’s what I am good at, imagining things I have never done/experienced before. It is a game I revel in. So may be I won’t be at a loss IF I do have to move to a house next to a mountain in the future! That’s the best outcome of playing imaginary games, you are ready for contingencies.
Now, coming to the Nizwa Fort, I am told it is Oman’s most visited national monument, which is why I was eager to see it in the first place. Imagine going all the way and returning having not seen something so well known. It was constructed in the 1600s though the foundation dates back to the 12th century. You can find more on Nizwa Fort at Wiki.
The sun was already up and shining bright and hot by the time we reached. Our hats/caps were feeble protection against it on top of the fort. But within the walls and in the souk, it was relatively cool. The old-timers knew a thing or two about keeping the heat out, eh? The climb to the top took a little (a lot, for me) effort, but the view was worth it. Here are some pictures I took.
©Shail Mohan 2018