Sunday, December 26, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

I came to the book shop with the sole purpose of picking up a story book for my friend's daughter, who turned four today. However, with my latest passion for baking, I was caught up in the Cook Book section, and then wandered around the rest of the floor, and by chance picked up Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin's, Three Cups of Tea.

It is fascinating to read about strangers whom you will never meet, but have acheived so much. Most of the time, we are sure of what we want to achieve, and set out to reach that goal and yet, you know how invincible and small you are in Nature's presence, and grudgingly accept destiny's plans for you.

In 1993, Greg Mortenson's failed attempt to climb the K2, one of the deadliest mountains in the world, turns in to a life altering change both for the village of Korphe, and the personal life of Mortenson. Dehydrated and almost dead, the warmth and love extended by the people of Korphe moves Mortenson beyond imagination. He promises to come back to this remote village in Pakistan to build a school for its children who cannot afford a teacher, because it cost the village a dollar a month. Instead, the teacher is shared between two villages for a few days in the week. Most children do not even have the basic essentials, a village wrapped in poverty, yet magnanimous in spirit and kindness, finds a loyalist in an American who returns to keep his promise and goes on to build more than fifty-five schools in the remote, breathtaking, and forbidding landscape of Pakistan and Afghanistan, just as the Taliban rose to power.

It is a story of courage, endurance, and single minded devotion to a land that meant nothing to a climber, but goes on to become his family and life long teacher.

"Here we drink three cups of tea to do business: the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything - even die."

- Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan

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