Run away, Yeti: Why the Indian Army sighting 'Yeti footprints' is not good news at all

The Yeti was first ominous in Sherpa folklore. It had a warming change of heart after meeting Tintin and Chang. But now, meeting our social media, it will surely die.

 |  3-minute read |   30-04-2019
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The mountaineering expedition team of the Indian Army has claimed that it spotted a few mysterious footprints — of the mythical creature, the ‘Yeti’ — close to Nepal’s Makalu Base Camp.

Last checked, comic book hero Tintin had a brief interaction with Yeti when he was on a mission to save his young friend, Chang. Chang, however, had developed kind feelings for the Yeti who saved him in the icy mountains, following a terrible plane crash.

But, despite this charming and heart-warming backdrop, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah cracked a kill-joy joke on Twitter.

There are similar snide remarks galore on social media which directly relate this incident of the Army showing proof of what could be the Yeti's footsteps with that of the Army apparently not showing Balakot attack proofs, etc. Also, there's much speculation on whether Yetis have only one foot or do they prefer catwalking perhaps, etc., etc.

But it’s a serious issue!

There’s a reason why the Yeti is referred to as a mythical beast.

There are frightening stories, interesting folklore, whimsical novels and intriguing movies on the Yeti that make you sit on the very edge of your imagination.

No one has surely claimed to have seen the ‘beast’ or ‘the snowman’ or the ‘ape-man’ — whatever it is called — or have complete knowledge of how it looks, where it stays, what it eats, etc., as yet.

Huge footprints with three toes on the snow are the only tell-tale signs.

But with these goes a great deal of our imagination and our moral mind.

According to a BBC report, the Yeti is an ominous figure in Sherpa folklore — something like, maybe, Thanos.

Those stories revolved around the ferociousness of the Yeti, presumably told to keep Sherpas always on their guard when on higher altitudes.

yeti-shiva_043019030352.jpgGood Yeti? Bad Yeti? No one really knows. (Photo: Book cover)

The Yeti has its own trajectory in these folk stories — somewhere, the beast gained strength, somewhere, it moved to higher altitudes.

"Perhaps folktales of Yeti were used as a warning or for morality, so that kids wouldn't wander far away and they'd be always close and safe within their community," Shiva Dhakal, writer of Folk Tales of Sherpa and Yeti said to BBC.

But Western interest in finding this strange creature changed everything. 

tintin_043019030546.jpgAre we afraid of the Yeti? Or should the Yeti be afraid of us? (Photo: Twitter)

In The Sherpa and The Snowman (1955), author Charles Stonor wrote of local hearsay about the Yeti. Thloh-Mung was the original name of the creature which looked like a man, was covered with long, dark hair and was more intelligent than a monkey. The Sherpas call this Yeti, which has an interesting etymological history — Yeti is the Western version of 'Yeh Teh'. The word 'Teh' refers to the animal and 'Yeh' means a rocky place, which makes 'Yeti' a dweller of a rocky place. 

In the 1950s, some regulations were even issued on 'Yeti hunting' for Western adventurers — Sherpas are generally Buddhists and they never wanted to hunt the Yeti. They preferred to let the Yeti be as a creature that lives in the highest place we humans know — our thoughts.

But now that the Indian Army has sighted the footprints, and Twitter has been quick to make fun of it, we are sure the fabled 'figment of imagination' will be hunted mercilessly, till derision forces the Yeti, a shy creature by all accounts, into the wildlife of social media — where it will be killed with cruel remarks.

Also Read: Spare a thought for wildlife this summer

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