Thank God for those who believe in Yetis

The Indian Army tweeted to let the world know that its mountain expedition team had found footprints of the "mythical beast Yeti". PTI photo

Scrolling through my hate-filled Twitter timeline on the night of April 29, I was witness to a miracle. Before I could come upon the next contempt-filled tweet about our reigning gods and asuras (don’t ask me which is which), fighting for the elusive pot of nectar that will appear on May 23, something completely unthinkable happened.

The Indian Army put out an insipid-looking tweet with four photographs and a string of badly-composed sentences that could well be the best thing to have happened on social media for many, many days. The tweet read: “For the first time, an #IndianArmy Mountaineering Expedition Team has sited (sic) Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast 'Yeti' measuring 32x15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019. This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.”

Now, I am not the kind who will stop to read updates posted by the Additional Directorate General of Public Information IHQ of MoD (Army). No, I don’t even follow the handle (this may change over the next few days depending on what else appears on it). But my desperate scrolling for the next, juiciest tidbit had come up against a series of eerie responses from those I do follow. Soon I too was checking out the tweet in question. There it was, unarguably and unequivocally. A “mysterious” creature, believed to be “mythical” and “elusive” had suddenly decided to visit us in the middle of the most acrimonious election I have ever witnessed. 


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I saw the timelines of people throwing bucketfuls of hate at each other, now bathed in the moonlit glow of the discovery of a white-haired, superhuman creature, who had literally dwarfed all of us and our petty bickering, even if only for just a little while. Of course, I got carried away. But who says that’s a bad thing?

Some people believe the Yeti to be a creature that is more than human, and not in a good way. The Sherpa word Yeti is supposed to literally mean “wild man”. But what if this meant wild in the best sense of the term. In the way that nature is wild, but not cruel. Maybe the Yeti was a superman, someone whom all of us could hope to be someday.

And if you ask me, the appearance of the Yeti did seem to bring out that part in people which is closest to our truly wild side in the best way. The side that can imagine and the one that can create. True, it made Twitter’s determined resident sarcastics come out in their usual numbers too. The Indian Army was a sitting duck after having put out a tweet that utterly flew in the face of all that we know about Yeti sightings this far. Despite the best efforts of hopeful mountaineers, romantics and simple folk who want to believe in the existence of otherworldly creatures, there has been nothing over the past century to confirm that the Yeti actually exists outside of the legend of the mountain societies that speak of it.

But does it really matter whether the Yeti exists or not? So many of us who saw the word Yeti first thought, “How thrilling!” The idea of the Yeti has stubbornly persisted over the years because of a certain need that is innate in the human race. The creatures – and the Yeti is one among many such creatures including the Loch Ness monster, the Chinese dragon, the Sasquatch, and so many others from Indian myths and legends that are known to exist but inhabit a completely different dimension from the one in which we live and operate – actually serve a purpose.

Isn’t there something in all of us that wants to believe in something completely unexpected and outside of the bounds of logic? Ever tried telling children a ghost story? They may think the story is all made up, but they never stop believing in the possibility that it could be true. But, of course there are ghosts out there, and Gandharvas and Djinns and so many other creatures that visit the world of humans from time to time without ever fully living here.

Like them, the Yeti too exists in our imaginations, in the stories and tales we have heard as children. Isn’t it miraculous that this mysterious man-beast stepped out of our imaginations and decided to signal to us at this point in time? What might it be saying? Perhaps something along the lines of, “Stop being self-obsessed, there is a big world out there with many, many unknowable things. There are limits to your knowing. And your imagination, of which you choose to use so little when you hurl the choicest of words at each other, is capable of conjuring up spaces where you can live in wonder. Be silent a while, without asserting, claiming and declaiming. There is a world where it is possible to play, a world where it is possible to go back to your child-like selves.”

Maybe that’s what the Yeti is a symbol of. And so, thank god for those who believe in Yetis! 

(DISCLAIMER: Views expressed above are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Deccan Herald and Deccan Herald does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same)

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