A short lament by a great mountain


Kanchenjunga by Mayank Chhaya

The latest issue of the Northeast Review (NER), where friend and fellow journalist Sumana Roy works as non-fiction editor, carries a digital artwork of mine depicting the great mountain Kanchenjuna. Sumana has been generous enough to not only use the artwork but use it with her editorial. The NER has a sort of special about the Kanchenjunga which until 1852 was considered the highest mountain on the planet. However, calculations by the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1849 were accepted by 1852 to declare Mount Everest, which was until then known as Peak XV, to be the highest. The Kanchenjugna stands at 8,598 meters (28,209 feet) as compared to the 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) for Mt. Everest. That makes Everest about 250 meters higher.

I wrote a sonnet about the mountains. (See below). Admittedly, Shakespeare would not be too pleased with the quality of my sonnet but since I have written it I might as well use it. Sonnets are written in 14 lines and follow a specific rhyme scheme. I have at least adhered to the 14-lines part of it. The rhyming part is clearly labored and not in accordance with sonnets’ rules. I am conscious that I should not consider giving up my current career to become a fulltime sonneteer.

I write this sonnet
As once the highest mountain on the planet
You were then just “Peak XV”
And I was your envy
Then came 1852
When they found you
To be 250 meters taller
That made me holler
Why first exalt me?
And then salt me
In my wounded pride
But, you are still by my side
Always in eternal rest
You, Mount Everest


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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