When we reach the top of the Triund pass, there was a brief break in the mist. We have a full view of the glaciers surrounding us. I’ve never seen a glacier up close before, and I am frozen in awe. But as everything always changes, the mist that protected us from the harsh sun finally descends upon us, and we are enveloped in a cloud.
There is a tea stand near the top of the mountain. I pause to chat with the owner. Nestled into the side of the hill, surrounded by wildflowers, rocks and trees, he set up his shop. Hand-painted signs guiding trekkers to sort through their trash, separating aluminum, plastic, glass and compost and t-shirts saying “Earth Warriors” hang from the walls.
“We live off the land up here. The water table is far below us, the pollution of society is thousands of feet below.” He explains that society is a shame, that we are destroying the very planet that gave us life. Everything we take away, we must put back. Everything we do has an impact. “This plastic obsession– We are destroying the world for convenience.”
I notice he has built a small cabin next to the tea stand. Colorful fabric hangs in the window. He reminds me of a little Thoreau, living in his cabin away from the world. Truly, simplicity makes people happier.
“My tea is made with glacial water. The minerals make it taste good.” He hands me a cup of steaming chai, smiling. “You don’t have to filter it, but I do, just to make people comfortable.”
He is right; it is one of the nicest cups of chai I’ve had all summer. It tastes of licorice and cardamom.