Friday, February 1, 2008

False Dilemma

I am stuck in a classic beast of a dilemma where I have to choose between two, undesirable choices. What do I do? Well, write a post on it, for starters. I need to make a trip to Vaishnodevi. If you don’t remember why, read this old post. Cutting to the chase then, I am making a trip to India in March. Just me and Chip. For a just little more than two weeks. After five and a half years long years. After getting married, after having a child, after BigGeek’s “little adventure”. Many people to meet, very little time.

To make a trip, from Mumbai to Jammu and then on to Vaishnodevi, in a schedule that is already stuffed to the brim, is no lilliputian task. But make do I must. As much as I would have liked to take a train and chug though sleepy little towns and their dusty train stations and crusty vendors hawking hot tea and show Chip these little nuggets of quintessential India from my past, I can’t. Not if I have to make a trip in three days. I have to fly. Fair enough. You can’t have everything. So, I fly out on day1 to Jammu, drive to Katra. Climb up the Trikuta Mountain next day to the shrine and then climb back down. Depart for Mumbai on day 3. The climb is about 14km (9 miles) each way. It took my friend and her mother nine hours to climb the mountain. I can do it; I am in fairly good shape. And I am sure if my mom/mil/aunts/grandma accompanies me they can always get a doli. The challenge is of course Chip. I cannot imagine not doing the yatra without him. But to keep him engaged for such an extended period of time, managing his potty and meals will no doubt be arduous, especially since both, he and I, will be jet lagged. There is of course another alternative. The heli ride. You can now get to the shrine in 8 minutes by a helicopter, instead of anywhere from 5-8 hours if you walked. It will be a breeze for Chip and me and the mothers. But I am uncomfortable doing it.

Pilgrimages are not supposed to be made in a chopper. They are supposed to be journeys. Where you travel different lands, meet interesting people on the way, experience adventures. Almost like a microcosm your larger journey in life. The journey is important; perhaps because in a sense it begets the final destination. It can’t and shouldn’t be fitted into an eight minute ride. That just doesn’t feel right. But rationale triumphs. How is the palanquin or a pony ride different? One is not walking with one’s two feet. But the journey takes just as much time, doesn’t it? And it is leisurely, is it not? Maybe at the bottom of it all, I am truly trepid of filling six long hours with nothing to do. Except of course entertain and feed and clean Chip and walk. Perhaps my life has become a macrocosm of the 8 minute helicopter ride.

I am wondering about how to deal with this. Should I ride the helicopter or should I walk? I want to walk. But I also want to ride the helicopter not feel like I am cheating. It is a classic dilemma. Or it could be that it is not really a dilemma at all. Most problems are analog spectrums. They are not binary. And perhaps there is a third answer lurking somewhere. But it is eluding me. Big time. Kahlil Gibran once said that the road to knowledge starts with perplexity. I am sure he meant it for people like Plato and Socrates and their bigger, important dilemmas that truly stood on the brink of great knowledge and wisdom. Mine seems like a joke in comparison. But then again, we all have our own dilemmas handed out to us by providence. Big and small. And perhaps it is the size of dilemmas that cast the difference between the making of a great Socrates or the insignificant me.


B o o said...

If I were you, I would walk but without Chip. If taking Chip is important, then Heli it is!
*how easy it is to make decisions for others*

mumbaigirl said...

Can you send Chip and the mothers by helicopter and climb yourself?

choxbox said...

i'd take the heli. climbing can be done when chip's older.

Mystic Margarita said...

I second mumbaigirl. It'll be best for Chip and the other accompnying adults to take the chopper and you can climb like you want.

noon said...

Hi dotmom - I can imagine me having the same dilemma. I assume if you have this issue at hand that means sending Chip with your parents on the heli while you walk up is not an option? If so, I would say take the heli with Chip. You can do another trip later when he is older and you can walk up. It may turn out to be OK but if I were you, I would surely not walk up 9 long hours with Chip. No way. I don't see the need to put a child through that esp when he is jet lagged. We went to Tirupathi with KB - the only hard part was the throngs of people as we neared the deity. But even that was tiring enough for all of us, esp for KB and my MIL. I will have no guilt in my mind wrt to this if I were you. 10 years later, god willing, you will make that trip when Chip can do it more comfortably. But for now, it is better to make it pleasant rather than tedious when you finally get to your destination! Esp for such a young child!

Moppet's Mom said...

Hey, love your new look - although I gotta say, I thought you'd be more of the bold colour type! :-)

I was going to say the same thing as mumbaigirl - if your mom / mil is coming along, maybe she and chip can go by chopper and wait for you there while you walk up? And then you can all come back together?

Vinita said...

Hmm. Read your "this last post".You have been through a difficult time.
1. Send the baby with your mom and mil and you climb.(just as mumbai girl said)(Because you were personally invited by "her" others are just tagging along so why make them climb.. leave it up to them)

2.Since you are short on time everyone goes by helicopter. Its the thought that counts. Go without guilty.

3.Write each option on a small piece of paper, fold it, sit cross legged in front of your worship place, close your eyes, ask "her" to make the decision and pick up one piece. Whatever is in that, is your command.
Do it without the guilt.
4. Go by helicopter.After coming back to US. do all the walking.

Whatever you decide it will be the best one because GOD works through us.


Kowsalya Subramanian said...

I also feel you should send chip and others by heliride and you walk. Good luck for a safe journey.

DotMom said...

boo: hahaha. the last line was precious !!

mumbaigirl: could.. hard to tell how much time it will take me...

choxbox: there's an idea there..

mystic: dunno how it will work logistic wise..

noon: i like the option of doing the trip on foot when Chip is older...

moppet's mom: lol. I am trying to act my age now :P I am going to give this option a good deal of thought.

Vinita: Now that's what I call thinking outside of the box!! I totally like option 3 and 4. Thanks soo much!

kowsalya: hmmmm.... That's an option! thanks for the wishes, girl!

choxbox said...

hey done the tag!

Preethi said...

I agree with Boo.. either walk without chip or take the heli with him.. sometimes the rationale has to win.. and who said that makes it any less of a pilgrimage? Have a fun trip girl :)

Anonymous said...

Do it when Chip is older, but realistically when can a child take in 9 hours of walk. Maybe when he is 15 to 16 years old ? And that means, you might not want to put it away for that long. You are relatively young now, compared to the future years. And what fun is it if you are rushing through everything. Can you do it later at a more relaxed pace? I guess BigGeek accompanying you, in the furture sometime is still in the picture ?

Parul said...

hey, where did my comment go?

Anyway, I wanted to say - how about spending some time alone thinking out what is it that YOU want? What is important to you - is the darshan, the trek, the thrill and the feeling of achievement that comes with accomplishing the task? It is easier for me because I believe in a benevolent God, a paternal figure who wants to meet you at that destination and does not care how you get there, in fact would want you to be as comfortable as possible while getting there (without hurting anyone else)....again, just my opinion!!

You're tagged too...

Y said...

I can only imagine how you feel, and yes, it is a real enough dilemma. All the best with whatever you decide, and please don't feel guilty whichever way you choose.

Tharini said...

Dotmom : Don't exactly think this is a false dilemma, but I can see where that word stems from! :)

If I had been in your place, I would have undertaken the journey and the climb and left the boys at home with my parents, and gone with a friend or relative who was also interested in the journey. I know you want Chip to experience this, but I really think its a lot to ask for a little child, not to mention the logistics of caring for his needs in a slightly remote place. I am sure he will have ample opportunity to do so in his lifetime, and perhaps when he is older, you might go again?

If you can do that, then by all means, no heli ride and you must walk. Its just something you h.a.v.e to do isn;t it? Just one of those things, to feel right.

If you cannot leave Chip behind, then the best option seems to be to send him on heli with your folks. But who will you make the trek with then? And how long will they wait on top or back in the hotel for you? 9 hours is a better part of the day. It IS one day. What do you think?

But by no means, take Chip on the 9hour trek. Its too much to ask of him! ;)

Lastly, how exciting!!!! I have had an eternal fascination for Vaishno Devi and would have loved to join you for it and walk the walk. I'll eagerly await your account of it and feelings that coursed thru you, while you were there.

All the best in finding a true solution for your false dilemma and seeing this journey through! It is going to be memorable.

DotMom said...

choxbox: will come read it now.

preethi: you think??? thanks!

taamommy: exactamundo! I might not be able to walk that much in 15 years. BigGeek is not accompanying me here.. he is visiting other countries for schoolwork!

parul: I am one of dem shtupit peoples who want it ALL... why is this so damn confusing? Will do the tag!

Y: thanks Y! didn't know you read my blog :) well... hello, then!

tharini: you are right.. it is really too much to ask that of a child. about making the trip together.. let's do it once the kids are older and we can get away without having to make heaven and hell meet :) The point with heli ride is exactly that.. I don't know how fast/slow I can go... don't want them to be stranded on the mountaintop! I will ofcourse do a post on it :)

karmickids said...

Now where did my long and painstakingly typed out comment go??? Anyway, the gist is, take the helicopter. You have the responsibility of a small child and older people with you. And the climate isnt child friendly there at all. Devi will understand and empathise, afterall you have already made such a long trip to get to her....Jai Mata Di.

DotMom said...

karmickids: that's what BigGeek feels too. He said I am flying to India and then to Jammu.. its not like I am walking all the way there!