August 27, 2010


I don't know too many Romanian names. One I do know, since I'm something of a tennis nut, is "Morariu". Corina Morariu played pro tennis through the 1990s, achieving her best results in doubles. In 2001, she was diagnosed with leukaemia and nearly died; but amazingly, she made a full recovery and returned to the pro circuit before retiring in 2007.

So when I heard the name Morariu in Leh a few days ago, I immediately thought of tennis, and this inspiring survivor.

Only, it was another Morariu: Catalin his name.

Catalin Constantin Morariu is a 35-year-old Romanian mountaineer and hiker. In 2005, he climbed the world's 14th-highest mountain, 8013 metre Shishapangma in Tibet. In early August this year, he and four friends, including a 32 year-old Danish woman called Henrietta, travelled to Ladakh for some days of hiking. On August 5, they pitched their tents in the hamlet of Sku, in the Markha valley.

That night, disaster struck in various parts of Ladakh. A cloudburst sent wet and massive destruction into Leh, Phyang, Choglamsar, Saboo and other places. And to Sku. The water swept away the Romanian group. Three of them managed to save themselves by hanging on to some rocks. They saw Catalin clinging to a tree. When the water receded, they found Henrietta's body, took her to a nearby monastery and eventually took her home to Denmark.

They did not find Catalin.

I know all this because of a German woman who was at the same hotel I was at in Leh. An old Ladakh hand, she runs a website about her work there. An uncle of Catalin's lives in Germany. He ran across her site on the Web and left her a note asking if she could find out what had happened to Catalin. Two of us at the hotel (oddly, both named "Dilip") offered to help, but we drew blanks.

I did not have time, before my departure, to investigate any more.

But I did stop for a chat with the founder of a travel agency in Leh. Since his agency has been around for years, various foreign embassies asked him to help find out what had happened to their citizens missing in Ladakh after the flood. In the case of a young Frenchwoman, he found out that the police, unable to identify her, had buried her body in a remote village. He sent out a team that exhumed her body and brought her to Leh, via raft and then road.

This man told me he had heard of a tall Romanian, unidentified, whose body the police had similarly buried in Sku. I left for Bombay early the next morning. I've left whatever information I had for the German woman to work with.

Sometime soon, I hope to hear that Catalin Morariu is home in Romania. If that body is really his, my thoughts are with his sadly bereaved parents.


Anonymous said...

Hello Dilip,
you belive this - an unidentified body, but they know is a romanian body? something are not working....

Dilip D'Souza said...

There are ways, if you think about it, that a body might remain unidentified, but people might make an educated guess about which country the person is from. Perhaps that's what has happened in this case.

Chandru K said...

Once again, I must protest this undue concern for a missing non-Indian in India, with a full name given. In the Pune bomb blast on February 13th, D'Souza did not mention any names of the mostly Hindu Indian victims, including Akriti Jindal, perhaps the most heart rending case. Some violent Islamic protesters in Kashmir were given individual names, despite being rabidly anti-India. But D'Souza couldn't name any Kashmiri Pandits returning to the valley.
So yes, there's a strong bias against the Indic, and for the Abrahamic, in D'Souza's blog.

Dilip D'Souza said...

I know I will regret responding as soon as I hit the button ...

My first (and only, because of web access problems) post from Leh is about the traumatic time Tsering Sandrup had, when he told me "Baarish ke naam se bahut dar hai."

Travelling through Tamil Nadu after the 2004 tsunami, I wrote about another unidentified body, and the next day, the wounds that catamaran logs inflicted on Anjalai and Chelliamma.

Of course, these are all "Abrahamic" people, not "Indic".

Apart, of course, from the nauseating perversity that sees a tragedy in Indic vs Abrahamic terms.

No more from me on this.

Dilip D'Souza said...

No, this much more, sorry: I have already regretted responding.

Shashwati said...

"undue concern for a missing non-Indian in India, with a full name given."

what a unbeleevable p***k. What a sickening t**d. sorry for the langauge, i cant' help myself. "undue concern". My god.

For Romanians who're reading, all indians are not like this!

The dude who used many names said...

Unrelated to the post: how does one give you a listening recommendation?

Chandru K said...

"what a unbeleevable p***k. What a sickening t**d. sorry for the langauge, i cant' help myself. "undue concern". My god.

For Romanians who're reading, all indians are not like this!"

Context, Miss Shashwati. D'Souza mentioned the full name of the missing Romanian( to express and create empathy) and also the rabidly anti-Indian, anti-secular Kashmiri Islamic youth. He did not do the same for Kashmiri Hindus returning to the valley, nor did he name a single victim of the Pune bomb blast last February. Hence, my remark 'undue'.
If you are the same Shashwati( disregard this if not) who maintains another blog, you censored a post where someone mentioned that the American academic Margaret Nussbaum was highly critical of Gujarati Hindus, but had no problem with her country, the US, propping up repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia( where Hinduism is banned) and military dominated, anti-secular countries like Pakistan. That was a trenchant observation, but you elected to censor it, for reasons best known to yourself.

Shashwati said...

Ohh, get lost Chandru. You and your stuff about "undue concern" make me throw up.

Chandru K said...

Your hypocrisy and hyper-emotional attitudes are obnoxious, Shashwati. If you are indeed that other Shashwati, you are just peddling the standard pseudo-secular, Hindu Indian leftist mentality. Thank goodness for people like Julia Roberts, is all I can say.

Dilip D'Souza said...

how does one give you a listening recommendation?

By leaving a comment here.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Can you two take your quarrel elsewhere? I will delete any further comments from either of you in this vein.

Thank you.

The dude who used many names said...

Okay, here is my recommendation: