SPOTLIGHT ON WRITER: SATIS SHROFF

1. Where, do you hail from?

I hail from a geographically landlocked Himalayan country surrounded by blue Shiwaliks and Mahabharat mountains, where the people actually live. Having grown up in the foothills of the Himalayas, I was fascinated and awed by the change in colours of the majestic massifs in the different seasons and times of the day. I’ve witnessed magnificent Himalayan sunsets of the Kanchanzonga with peaks bearing names like: Janu,, Kabru, Dome, Talung, Kanchenzonga, Pandim and Jubonu. I was thrilled to the core by the beauty unfurling in front of me. The Kanchanzonga, my Hausberg, has always been a sacred mountain and on its feet are precious stones, salt, holy scriptures, healing plants and cereals. It is a thousand year belief and tradition that the Himalayas, the Abode of the Gods, should not be sullied by the feet of mortals.

I had another epiphany in the Gornegrat glacier area, with the Zermatt as the jewel in the crown of the Swiss Alpine peaks. In winter I regularly visited the North Sea isles of Sylt or Langeooge. I became a child, admiring the crustaceans on the shore, the sound of the wind and waves. In the Himalayas you also find crinoid fossils and Everest is made of calcium carbonate. So the sea and the mountains are interrelated. Both have always given me peace and tranquility. Home is not a specific place for me.

What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

Home can be places: the place where I was born, the place where I grew up and went to school, Kathmandu where I studied science and worked as a journalist and Freiburg (Germany) where I studied further and worked. Home is where your heart is. It’s not a specific place for me because I have been on a journey and quest which took me 8,000 km away from by birthplace in the Himalayas. I left my inside world after school and went to Kathmandu, my first outside world, which in Nepali is ‘bahira.’ If you asked a Nepalese from the hills or flatlands, he or she’d invariably say ‘I’m going to Nepal.’ Nepal was Kathmandu and Kathmandu was Nepal. The world of the Shahs, Ranas, the education, foreign and home ministries, with all those neo-classical palaces, shrines, temples and pagodas. You couldn’t close your mouth. It was so awesome for a Nepalese from the hills.

Schwarzwald woodpecker: aquarelle by satis shroff
Grusswort by Satis Shroff at the Historical Kaufhaus, Freiburg

--

--

Satis Shroff: writes, lectures & sings. Awards: Heimatmedaille 2018, Neruda Award 2017, German Academic Exchange (DAAD) Prize.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Satis Shroff

Satis Shroff: writes, lectures & sings. Awards: Heimatmedaille 2018, Neruda Award 2017, German Academic Exchange (DAAD) Prize.