Tales of the Yeti, known to the West as the “Abominable Snowman”, have fascinated the world for hundreds of years. There have been numerous attempts to find this elusive mythical creature but no one has succeeded till now.
The latest pictures of mysterious footprints, seen by the Indian Army mountaineering expedition close to the Makalu Base Camp in Nepal, have reignited interest among the masses about the mythical creature.
My grandmother used to call it ‘Meegye’, her stories of sightings around her village Yangnag in South Sikkim resulted in many sleepless nights for us. Mountain peaks of “Bhale Dhunga” and “Mehnam” is where the Yeti was sighted the most. She believed Yeti to be a protector of the wild, animals, jungles and even the sacred places.
“He does not take kindly to construction especially around the pristine mountains believed to be the abode of local deities.”
Story 1: Long time ago, there was a monk who decided to live in the jungle and meditate. His peace was shattered one day by a huge hairy leg that punctured his roof and landed straight in front of him. The monk was horrified but composed himself and began inspecting the foot – he saw a huge bamboo wedged between the hairy toes. After some struggle, he was able to remove the giant thorn, a grateful Yeti then asked, “Do you want a hairy one or a slippery one?” Afraid that slippery meant snake the monk opted for the other. A few hours later a dead stag was dropped through the broken roof.
The monk was no longer able to mediate and returned to civilization.
Story2: My great grandfather had a lot of cattle, which used to be taken to the higher mountains during summer. Two noisy Tibetan mastiffs guarded the cattle camp. The keeper, a young lad from the village, had the habit of cursing the dogs before feeding them, “Khee ree” rotten dogs he used to shout everyday on the dot.
One day just as the dogs were being served dinner a deep hoarse voice boomed from just above the tiny camp, ‘Khee ree’. Fear gripped the tiny camp! They heard the crashing of trees as the Yeti moved away after playing his most fearful prank.
Incense with butter was burnt that day as an offering to mighty Yeti with a prayer to be kind.
The last alleged sighting was in 2004 in Zuluk, where some labourers, who were working for the Army, saw what they described it as an “animal man”. Their story was chronicled by a friend of mine, Shital Pradhan, in his blog. An army helicopter was also apparently pressed into service to search for the Yeti but in vain.
I bet, every family in Sikkim has a story or two of close encounter with the Yeti. We would love to hear them all…