Little Voice Inside

Why are you acting as if you can’t hear me? It’s like all my words are falling on deaf ears. Either you have, on volition, stopped listening to me, or you have lost faith in me. Remember, there were times, not so long ago when I was the only one standing with you on your decision you took years back to express what you felt about her. You used to go to bed confused and vacillating between what is right and what’s wrong and it was I who showed you what is best. I know, I know! I won’t deny that there have been incidents because of me that has left you both miserable. Do you really think anyone could be right on all occasions? At least, by heeding to my voice you ensured that you never go to sleep thinking ‘why didn’t I at least try’? I have been your friend; your confidante; your inner self.

Of all occasions, whenever I have been summoned to help you decide what you should do, I truly am proud that you listened to me years back on this day of the month. Oh! Finally I see you nodding your head in agreement. At least this proves that you have no problem hearing me but were intentionally ignoring me. I have been speaking to you since the day you gained consciousness of world around you. You didn’t even realize that the decisions you thought you were making in life were in reality all suggested by me. No decision will prove to be right the moment it’s taken. Only on hindsight it will turn out to be correct. If not correct, it will simply be an another addition to the Book of Experiences.

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Now that you have grown mature and have more pragmatic view on life, you have lost faith in me. Nothing saddens me more than this. It has been five years since the day you expressed what you really felt for her then. She will of course have her own doubts and from what I know she will keep on doubting you? It is only up to you to prove to her that you are indeed her reality and what she has been wanting from life. Yes! You can argue if it is just your responsibility to keep her happy. Of course not. No one can be happy if one does not want to be and has never ending desires that cannot be satiated. But don’t forget what went inside you when you first saw her.

I still remember that evening when I sensed something strange inside you. You heart was beating erratic. I have lived inside you and seen you grow – from a toddler to a grown up working adult – but never realized you’ll ever encounter this feeling. Love! Just by the sound of it, people either opt to repudiate its existence or spiral down into its clutches. That evening was the onset of events that turned both yours lives beautiful. You were a strong individual, focused on what you wanted from life, and determined on finding success in career. Look at you today. Just her smile was good enough reason for you to leave all aside and pursue her. Oh c’mon! Do not fool yourself. This is the reality. You cannot argue that this isn’t true. What are you afraid or embarrassed of? Only you can hear me and you have already found a way of ignoring me as if I’m just a figment of your imagination. I’m not. I am as much a living individual as yourself- just devoid of physical existence.

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We have spent sleepless nights together, thinking what kind of person she must be like. Does she already have someone in her life? Is she worth fighting for? Is all of this just an infatuation or maybe something truly magical and to last till we turn into ashes? Will she like you the way you like her? There were umpteen unanswered questions. You turned to me for answers but I was clueless too. The only way out of this perplexity was to express what you felt. Had you chosen to ignore my suggestion you would not have been with her today. She allowed you to be a part of her life.

I agree that today there are other questions bubbling up inside you. She may want to know if you’ll continue loving her with same passion for all remaining mornings of her life? Will you change into someone who she won’t recognize as the man she fell in love with? Will you care for her tears in future as you do today? Will her smile mesmerize you even when she will have wrinkled skin? Again, none of these questions can be answered today. Neither you, nor me, nor her.

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Only Time holds answers to these questions. I hate Time. It is cruel and brutal force of life. It will not give in to your tears, your problems, or stress that you both may build for these unanswered questions. Answers will be revealed only when Time feels its right. Until then you both can either keep doubting each other, or trust each other. But let her know what you feel today. You both may feel like you’re taking a blind leap of faith but I find it otherwise. This is not blind. I have seen your relationship grow. It has grown in sunlight of hope, occasional drizzle of despair, hails of mistrust and long distance, and in autumn of beautiful memories with bad memories shed on ground. Life will always throw surprises at you. But if you keep listening to me, I’m sure we’ll sail through this. Life’s beautiful and so are you too.

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till Death do us apart

She kept running, trying to blend into the dark corner of the alley. It was getting increasingly difficult for me to keep pace with her. I was running short of air and desperately wanted to pause this chase for a breath. I feared my pounding and racing heart might jump out of its bony cage and betray me the way the woman running ahead of me once did. I wasn’t a stalker nor someone whom she detested. Why then was she running away from me as if I was her nemesis? I wanted to replay the events that unfolded in the cafe today evening, leading me to this dark corner of the city. I was distracted by the sight of stray cats scavenging the trash cans, trying to find something to munch on among the rubbish of the city. It was like entire city waste was disposed into this part of the city. A cat, divided from its clowder, was meowing and chasing away few rats, as big as kittens, who were clearly interlopers for the scavenge.

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I was already drenched in my own sweat and maybe that is why I was feeling a winter-like chill in this hot month of April. I was experiencing a very strange mix of emotions -of fear, love, and anger. She could never be the one who would run away from me, the guy with whom she promised to be together till death do us apart.

Death?

Oh, yes! Death it was.

Years ago when we had just started living our dreams together, she was taken; and so was taken from me the purpose of my existence. We had spent years making promises of being there with each other in thick and thin of life. How stupid were we! None of us gave penny’s shit to the fact that we were mere mortals and there was a power, beyond our control, that could make all our promises fade away in time as some gibberish-utterance-of-nonsensical-words. With passing time I had accepted her absence in my life. She was long gone, leaving behind this colorless world for me, and enslaving me with her memories. But here today she was, back into my life! She, however, was very different from the woman I recalled from my memories. Or, was she really someone else? Maybe I’ve lost my sense of reality and have merged it with dreams. God! My mind is playing tricks on me.

I am sure it was less than an hour ago when I was having some lone time with myself at this cafe we used to frequent together when we were dating each other. (On her deathbed she had made me promise that I will never visit the places where we used to spend time together. Well! She knew I was very bad at keeping promises; just like her.) I was reminiscing our memories of the place. The time we were drenched in sudden pouring from the sky during monsoons, and the time I proposed her. I was delving deep into the ocean of our memories when when I saw, from the corner of my eyes, someone staring at me. I squinted but couldn’t see anyone except other patrons at the cafe. I ignored this feeling of ‘being watched’ until I couldn’t shake it out of my head.

There was something eerie about today’s evening. It wasn’t cold nor it was humid. I could feel the erratic beating of my heart. There was a creepy chill running down my spine. Sweat beads had already appeared behind my ears. It was an evening that was about to turn itself into a canvas, on which an unnatural picture of events would be painted. It was then I saw her. It was my love, draped in dark-black-shredded gown, the one she loved the most. I froze. My heart skipped a beat. She was seated next to a guy who didn’t appear to be cognizant of the presence of a shadow next to him. She was still staring at me with bright-white eyes that were not hers; I remembered them to be brown, glazed with innocence and grace, before she had closed them permanently. Even the touch of my loves’ skin used to make me think of how much effort the creator must have put in carving and breathing life into her. This woman in front of me, however, had skin as white as fresh-snow, and hair as black as mid-night. I was perplexed. Was I supposed to jump in excitement on seeing her after these many years – alive? Or, was I supposed to waive the figure in front of me as a figment of my imagination? Clearly it couldn’t be the latter. She was there. She had that smile right now; though not the one she wore when she was happy. She appeared to have come to visit me on some purpose. Whilst these thoughts were clouding my senses and stifling my urge to stand up and approach her, she was already on her feet and was moving out of the cafe from the back door.

couple-sunset-silhouette-caribbean-beach-wedding.jpgI wanted to call out her name and ask her to stop, but I couldn’t utter a single word. It was as if a big apple was thrust down my throat. Loosing any further time, I gave into the urge of following her. In next few moments I found myself running through this dark alley leading nowhere. Everything around me blurred out. I only wanted to focus on the dark shadow running ahead of me. If it were not the stench of rubbish and decaying building walls I would have easily thought this all to be just a dream. It definitely wasn’t; nor was the woman shrouded in shredded black gown.

She was now almost levitating and it was becoming harder for me to keep pace with her. After dodging every nook and turns she was blocked by dead-end. She stood right in front of the wall, this time facing towards me, surrounded by walls on her either side, with me standing at the only open end. I had lost track of time and couldn’t really tell if it was midnight already. Tonight was one of the darkest I had ever seen in my life. The only thing lit up were the set of eyes looking right at me across the alley. Panting and sweating profusely I didn’t have energy left to call out to her. For a moment I thought she was trying to approach me and speak to me but something was holding her from doing so. Though dead she seemed to be afraid of something. It was clear on her face. Could dead fear anything? Maybe yes. Maybe they feared seeing their loved ones suffering alone without them in the mortal world. Who knows?

Suddenly the black shredded gown that was clad around her loosened itself from her body and fell at her feet. She stood at the same place facing me. Her body was still as perfect as it was the first time I saw her this way. It was now unmistakably clear that it was her; my love. I knew her body like the back of my hand. The dark shadows white eyes too donned the color I was longing to see since many years. Her brown eyes were now glistening with tears. Soon tears started rolling over her cheeks.

Her eyes conveyed that she wanted to be with me but they were also hinting me to back off and go back to the place from where I had started following her. But, why would she want me to go back? Has she stopped loving me after crossing to the other side of the river of life, which mortals aren’t allowed to crossover? She could never stop loving me. I still could see love for me in her eyes. So then what was she afraid of? Of course, I was mad at her for leaving me in this world alone but that should not make her afraid of me. She was long gone and I had accepted the world as it was. I was merely counting my days before I would rejoin her.

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She was looking at the fallen shredded-torn-black-gown lying at her feet and then at me with some unknown fear. Ignoring her fears, I took a step in her direction making sure she does not run again as I was still panting from the last chase. Gaining confidence, I lifted my feet for taking next step towards her when I saw her tears fall on the black gown kissing dust of the alley. It was then what happened passed a shiver to my inner core. The shredded pieces of torn black clothing suddenly vitalized itself into a hooded figure with a demonic disfigured face.  There were no eyes in its socket and it had a permanent grin on its face. Its’ fingers were long and as brittle as glass, like that of an old dying woman. It, however, had a demeanor of someone who had a purpose behind its existence, and reason behind materializing in front of me tonight. I could my see my love, past over the hooded figures shoulders hiding behind it and concern for me in her eyes. It was Death and it had decided to finally pay me a visit.

It raised its hand and pointed long rickety forefinger towards me, suggesting me to approach further. I was sure this hooded figure was the one that was keeping my love away from me. I simply wanted to see her again so I took few cautious steps in its direction, enough to stand right in front of it. I then felt something crawling beneath my feet that was trying to lift me up. I was stupefied in horror when I saw black shredded robes covering me up from legs to torso. I could feel my soul leaving my body. I was unable to breath when the robe had covered everything except my eyes. I was petrified and the only thing I remember seeing last before I blacked out was a satiated look in the eye-less hooded figure. I knew this was the end.

couple039s-silhouette-in-the-sunset-1920x1080-wallpaper225701.jpgHastily breathing I opened my eyes to find myself in a completely different surrounding. I was back in my bed and found my love sleeping next to me. She had her eyes closed. I was having this feeling of falling inside of a whirlpool with no idea of what was real. There was an feeling of deep inner satisfaction and peace. Worldly matters didn’t affect me anymore. I found solace in my bed with my love. She was still asleep when I planted a kiss on her cheeks. She definitely was real, smelling the way she used to before her death.

Memoir of a Father

No! Kido, do not run. It’s a steep slope, you might fall. Ah! I warned you. I hope you did not hurt yourself too much. I can see that you want to cry but are afraid that I’ll reprimand you for not listening. Its’ OK to cry kid. That makes us human and soothes the pain. I will not scold you as I am now certain that this memory is etched in your psyche; know the ground before you run. This is how you fall and learn.

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You’re my only child and I know you ought to be pampered but you need to learn the virtues that makes a human good or bad. You turn 4 today and have just started breathing air infected with microbes of deceit, selfishness, cruelty, compassion, empathy and other traits that are exhibited only in men. You look perplexed and do not understand single word that I say. Your reactions are normal for a child your age, but I’m sure you’ll understand soon what I intend to say my child.

You’ll grow soon in blink of an eye and will join the wilderness of ambitious, money-hungry, materialistic human civilization leaving me behind. I’ll not judge you for that. I do not say you’ll do so on volition in fact, you’ll have to. You’ll have your own dreams, ambitions and if not that at least you’ll want freedom; freedom of living your life on your terms; freedom from relations that may drag you down, freedom from chains of societal norms; freedom from what I would want you to do with your life. You’ll fly soon, of which I’m absolutely certain, but you’ll fall prey to these microbes as well. What are microbes, you ask? Hahahah…! Oh my sweet kid, you cannot even pronounce microbes! Here, let me share one memory worth not sharing to explain better.

Valley

Can you look around the wide expanse of green in front of us lined at horizon by the snow-capped mountains? This is not our real home. We lived in a place more beautiful than this. A river with ice-cold water used to run through our small hamlet. A small stream, born of the river ran along our backyard, where your mother used to do her daily chores. Our little abode seemed like it was cut out from a fairy tale. From the rooftop you could see the Himalayas only if you manage to find a patch among the deodars lining the horizon. Serpentine smoke used to ooze out of the chimney suggesting its’ going to be Rogan Josh for supper. I believed that was our blessing to be born in such a beautiful place but it wasn’t.

One day some of these microbe infested humans plundered all our wealth, inhumanely murdered men and raped women of our village. I do not know why it happened but all I know is that people I loved were gone. We ran for our lives and arrived in this place what we now call home. I later learnt that the marauders came in lust of acquiring the piece of land which we used to call a blessing. I look sad, you say? Of course not. It’s just that I am remorseful of the acts which I could have done but didn’t. I saved only those whom I wanted to save. I left your mother and selectively valued lives. I ran with you tied at my back. I kept looking back with tears rolling on my cheeks and heart pounding almost at the verge of thrusting itself out of my chest. I ran in my mind the horrific images of horsemen clad in black with their faces covered. The last image I have of your mother was her running from the backdoor to get you. Poor soul didn’t know you were already with me. I regret for not saving your mother.

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I know that to you anything that I say makes no sense. Of course, why it would. You were just a toddler then when we faced the worst breed of men. Today is your birthday and that is why I want to share this with you. The women you call mum today is my wife and you are the daughter of my brother. You don’t seem to be amazed? Well! maybe someday you will. Soon you’ll be an adult and be like one of the million candles burning in exact same way but believing that you are different. You will strive for being best at your work. You will make monumental efforts to outshine your fellows. You will, if you decide to, have a family and makes sacrifices to keep them happy. But all that I wish you remember always despite you being at zenith of success or nadir of failure, life is simple and beautiful, its’ just the weight of ambition, responsibilities, relations that makes it difficult. Strive instead to keep these microbes at bay. Fight them. Remember to remain human with goodness despite of infested humans around you. Be happy and spread happiness. And always remember to take a break and come here; to us; to remind yourself that life is what you make of it.

Father and Daughter

P:S: I’ll be always there for you. Always!

Restless Wind

I walk towards you,

Climbing mountains, swimming water, ditching sun,

Leaving behind time whilst you await my arrival,

Every mirror sees me traversing the distance towards you.

 

Reaching the parlor I await your glimpse.

Days have passed and today here I am,

Watching sands fall in glass, time fly leaving memories.

The earth beneath me reminisces this place,

The place, where you peeked into my heart.

It confessed that it jumps a beat watching you smile,

And it will be grateful if you stay with it for a while,

As I’m mere mortal soul of dust and sand carrying it.

 

Hey! Cool evening restless wind bring back my senses,

As I await her arrival anytime soon.

Brushing each other the leaves cheat your sight,

Flapping their wings the peacocks expose your beauty,

My eyes blink slowly to absorb your gait,

They see you and turn blind for beings around you.

You wave hi! Passing your smile,

And yet again the stupid pump skipped its beat.

 

Inside of me feel beautiful calling you mine,

With a fear in my mind, of distance, future, and time.

I think of song I would play to you and our children,

And they would dance to its tune, not to my voice of course.

Restless wind brings back my senses again,

As the road between me and her grows shorter.

How I wish I could always be with her,

Make her day filled with happiness, love, and joy.

 

Restless wind I seek favor yet again,

Keep passing my messages to her when I’m not here,

When she needs to speak to me,

When her hearts seeks to be consoled,

As I trust you’ll always be there. My friend.

I speak to her now if you don’t mind.

You have bubbled up to surface things inside me,

I didn’t notice they ever exist.

You’ll be bestowed with love, care, umpteen reasons to smile,

I’ll be wishing for this until we’re one again.

Until then the Restless Wind will be your companion.

Sail to Destination

With monumental force I cracked open the huge boulder and made my way through it. I had been riding on the chariot of the gushing waters aimed to deter by no one in my way. The only thing that was carved in the very purpose of my existence was to reach the Destination. No one ever guided me to reach there nor what this place held. Yet I’m positive that I’ll realize it when I’m there. Yes! I know nothing of the Destination. Didn’t know why I was always this frenetic. Didn’t know why I keep on working hard and give blind eye to the dawn and the dusk, as for me both were the same. The only thing mattered to me was making my way through all the objects in my path and reach the Destination.

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I could easily be crowned as the fool of fools who knew nothing of the reason why I was in rush. I have been the object of mockery for the beings around me as they believe I never eat, nor recline, and don’t ‘live’ life. Some better day I would object to this but not always. The truth is I have had no aim in life but to reach the Destination. From the facade I appear to be strong, confident, deterred by no living force; that’s the sole reason why I have made it this far. But I do have self-doubts when I would easily fall prey to low morale.

Something must have gone wrong with me at the time of my genesis. I truly believe that just flowing and making way through gorges, falls, twists-n-turns of forests, cities cannot be the only purpose of my existence. I should have been here for something big. I must be completing the big picture of the Creator. I’m not mere an ornament to decorate this world; nor am I here to help others; nor I’m here for only living for my self. I believe that my strong urge to reach the Destination has something to do with realizing the reason of being alive. There must be something or someone waiting for me at the destination which is not allowing me to contain this juggernaut.

Today however I raise finger at my creator. How certain can I be that the worth of reaching the end would justify the things I have had to let go while traversing the distance? With wavering force and making sounds that would pass chill to the very spine of every living being I have been flowing since many years. I met beings during my entire course. Some became friends, some foes, and some accompanied me without falling into either sides. They were there with me for the passing phase of my travel but not forever. I don’t blame them. They tried to follow my trail but unaware of where I might lead them they chose to say their goodbyes. They had their own course to follow and different Destination.

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I don’t remember when I embarked upon this journey but I do remember her. The one who caught me by surprise when I actually wanted to stop. Take a break. Contain my frenzy of moving ahead. I didn’t notice when she had started following my trail. I couldn’t see her but was able to see the signs that she was with me. She had lined the banks from where I flowed by trees and vegetation of so varied kinds that would sooth eyes of a vexed mind and be tonic for soul with troubles. We weaved beautiful memories together. She would display her shyness by making the trees dance to the tune of my song that I played while jumping from mountains, and thrashing the banks around corners. Flapping their wings and rising from their nests her Messengers would drop her gifts for me. The birds would also dance to the joy of being in love, being alive. I wanted to kiss her feet, her navel, her eyes, her lips. However these will always remain as a figment of my imagination.

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I shared my miseries, happiness, joy, troubles and my desires with her. But from start I knew we were not destined to be together. We’ll have to separate. Of course this separation is not permanent. We again will meet. As I said, fulfilling destiny is the only thing that matters to us all. One may agree or disagree but in the end it is what we have to do. Right now flowing towards my Destination all I can see is vast expanse of ocean wherein I’ll merge like many other child of the rivers merging into the ocean. This is my Destiny. My Destination. But is this all?

Aiming for something is always a nice thing but trust me after reaching my aim of life, the ocean, I feel incomplete. Maybe the feeling has not yet sunk in that I’ve finally made it. I have crossed all obstacles, mountains, lands, enemies and reached the Destination. I’m at peace but there is still a hollowness inside me. I’ll be lying to myself if I say that I do not have regrets in my life. I do have! Not many but considerable. How beautiful it would have been if I rested for sometime! If I analogize with humans acts it would be just like taking a sip with bunch of friends, indulge in joy and revelry, enjoy the moment, not just passing life but ‘living’ it.

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Life lived once cannot be relived again except in memories. And I’ll always cherish the beautiful memories of the sail. I now realize the message that I was expecting to receive when I reach my Destination. I was wrong. The message was not here. It was with me all along. I had been carrying it since my origin but never realized. I do now. The joy and happiness of journey is more beautiful than the Destination itself.

Oblivion of Truth

I could see him. He appeared pensive whilst I tried to construe the silence between us. His eyes were gleaming when he looked right into mine as if he was able to see past through me. I could feel the presence of people around me as if there was one big occasion but this could have been just a figment of my imagination as all I could see and recognize were his beautiful and inquisitive eyes. He was holding me like I was a newborn child. I have always enamored the way he has looked at me. This look, the one which made me fall in love with him the first time I saw him when he came to our door-step wearing his damp shoes, with snowflakes kissing his socks. He stood at the threshold with the same gleaming eyes and wearing a smile so beautiful that I didn’t recognize he was a stranger who had just moved into our neighbourhood. He wore the same look when I gave him a peck on his cheeks for the first time under the chinar tree which was dressed in blanket of snow; the look he had when we used to make love; the look he had when he held our son while I lay right beside him on the hospital bed, drained of all energy after going through the labor but invigorated by the touch of his lips on my cheeks. But today, it was something different. He looked anxious and his eyes seemed wet.

il_570xN.579370548_3qjaI mustered strength and asked, “Why are your eyes wet? Is there anything that you want to tell me? Why are you looking at the ceiling when I’m asking you questions? Now you are making me angry. You know how much I hate when you try to fool me around. Oh! now I understand. You are worried because winter has set in and it might snow any day from now while we still haven’t got our roof fixed. Yes, I know last year our neighbours roof caved in under the weight of snow. Its’ all going to be ok. Oh! you want me to stay with you, is that a question? Of course! I’m not going anywhere. We’ve known each other from days when we used to build snowman right outside my house. Oh! C’mon now stop crying. You are making me nervous. You ask me if I remember the days we spent in each others company? Are you trying to distract me? Of course! Every detail of those moments is engraved in my conscience.

I remember the brief walk we used to take around the lake when the sun was just about sink behind those snow capped himalayan mountains as if it were playing hide-n-seek with its other planetary companions. Both the animate and inanimate objects of the universe would start mocking at our ignorance of the feeling hidden inside us. Fireflies, like thousands of burning dots in the shadow of the thicket of deodar trees in the distant would dance to the tune of music composed by camaraderie of rustling leaves, crickets in their secret hides, and cracking of dry twigs under our weight. Smoke emanating through chimneys of the houseboats like a menacing viper sparing its hunt for a day would too get engulfed in the madness. We would walk down the road in silence, only to be broken by faint and distant buzzing of a bee or flapping of wings of chukar zooming above our heads. Some days we would frolic the very same roads as if we were reliving the child within us and some days we would simply cherish the blessing of us being together. I know you could hear the sound of my heartbeat and see the bead of sweat sliding down behind my ears when your fingers were locked in mine. 

BMduUGzCIAA30uvI don’t know why but I feel like holding on to you as if everything around us will be sucked into nothingness except you and me. As if the mountains that saw us spend our childhood, adolescent years, and married life will cave in under the weight of snow. As if there will be no pain, no sorrow, no happiness, no joy in the world. As if the gods have grown tired and will drop the strings attached to us. I long to be with you and freeze this moment as if there will be no breath of life in this universe ever again. I feel like a heavy burden has lifted off my chest. Look! The sun is covering us under its golden blanket as if it were putting up one last fight against the onset of winter. I sense your fingers interlocked with mine. But why is it that I cannot feel the touch of your skin? I feel cold.

goodwp.com_25842What? Speak a bit louder as your speech is getting inaudible. I’m not able to hear you though I can see your lips moving. I am concentrating on the redness of your lips whom I’ve caressed umpteen times and want to feel them again on me but there is something stopping me from touching it. The presence of people in the room is getting stronger. The sound of silence is deafening me. I’m really afraid now please tell me what is going on? I am trying hard make out the human shadows of various sizes crawling on the floor but I can see no one. I can hear the faint and distant cry of our child and call of my Ma but I can see none of them. There are feeble noises that I’m unable to distinguish. They sound ghastly. I am scared. Please make these people go away. Hold me tightly and never let go of me. I just want to be with you. I see that the sun has finally lost its battle against the winter clouds and it seems that we have the first snow of the season. Please, stop crying! Yes, I’ll always love you too and I’m there for you. Hold me and never let me go. I’ll be with you in this life and the next. I’ve closed my eyes now and want to sleep in your arms.

The Trail

DSC00638Everything zooming past me was just a blur of spectrum of colors. Green Pine and Deodar trees, white snow capped mountains, blue waters of river Beas, brown fertile Himalayan soil and gray smoke rising from the chimneys of shacks in the vicinity. Catching up my breath and resting my burning feet on the paddle of my bike I could feel the presence of my other mates riding far behind me. I don’t know what was driving me to get past all of them. I was not in a race. There was no incentive to reach the milestone first. No prize. No levels. Nor was I challenged to prove my mettle. No accolades whatsoever. It was just the thrill of speed. The joy of being free from shackles of figments of human imagination. There was no friend, no foe; no love, no hatred; no joy, no sorrow but the ethereal feeling of being just you and the nature with nothing in between.

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After kilometers of uphill biking it really was exhilarating to let my legs rest on the paddles, maintain the posture, remain seated and gripped on my seat while the downhill gradient took care of the rest. Right at that moment all problems of life, thoughts of people, notions of Utopian world seeped down to the core of my body. The only thing that occupied my mind then was the beauty of the Himalayas. She was -in fact will always be- perfect. She’s been the enchantress not just for me but for every human eyes that has ever fall upon her. Not just the exotic vegetation that is born off the lap of this great mountain range but the mountains itself is a medication for a wretched human soul.

Situated in the Kullu valley, Manali is exactly the place that would steal your mind with her beauty, her simplicity, and her closeness to nature. I remember the very first sight of mighty Beas whose monstrous waves hit the congregation of boulders in its way while making its way to meet Sutlej. The moment I entered the valley it felt like my school drawings of river flowing through and sun rising behind the mountains had been breathed with life. The locals travelling with me in HRTC bus from Delhi to Manali exuded so much positiveness towards life that seemed to be missing in people living in cities. I don’t mean that we don’t have such positiveness in our life. Its just that we seem to loose all the wonders and gifts every new sunrise bestows us. For that I would blame our mundane routine and race to make our future better – not just for us but for every individual for whom we care.

DSC00924For me it was not just a random trip to escape my routine, or the realities of life. I embarked on this expedition to get away from the thoughts of loneliness that clouded my mind by the absence of someone whom I missed. It had been almost 2 weeks since I heard from her. I don’t know if this is normal for everyone else out there. Of course it should be. I’m not the one who is smitten by this bug. May be everyone in their life have been through this. No fret. But I find myself lucky to have tread this trail. In fact not just me, but all other mates who were with me on this trip must have some or the other reasons for joining this YHAI trek of Manali Biking Expedition.

Me in the distant
That’s me spoiling the pic 😉

I remember the full moon night of November when I arrived in this town and took a stroll to the Mall Road, the market place of Manali. College students, young honeymooners, school children and some adventure-seeking-foreigners populated the area. Delicious road side chat, mouth watering tandoor, and some really beautiful girls from North India caught our sight. We were asked to jog and exercise -something I hadn’t done in years- in chilly mornings to acclimatize ourselves. Later through the fumes of freshly brewed tea we could feel the light morning air of the valley that made us feel as fresh as a daisy. 

That's my ride in the picture
That’s my ride

Sounds of the forest brought me back to the time when I could still feel the air hitting me while I rode back to the hostel. I tried real hard to make myself memorize the ecstatic feeling I was having then. The feeling of being free. Feeling of going wherever I wanted, doing whatever I felt was right, talking to anyone whom I felt like talking, and keeping mum without answering anyone why I wasn’t uttering a word was quite cathartic for me. But even then I feared my mind would get clouded by thoughts of ‘her’ as soon as I’ll leave this town. I believe that is in fact the beauty of separation. You get to know the importance of people once you go away from them. Many a times we question own-self why is it that people around us don’t understand our situation and why don’t they conform to our wishes. But the fact remains that we are, on the contrary, unclear of what are our desires and wants. When do we want space and when do we want care & affection? When do we want to be independent and when do we seek support? When do we desire to be left alone and when do we long for someone’s company? Well! It’s better to keep some questions unanswered because that is the beauty of walking the trail of life.

Last Day of the expedition
Last Day of the expedition

Here are some pictures clicked by me during the trip. Please avoid using the pictures for commercial purpose. I hope you’ll like them. 🙂 For information about YHAI, check out http://www.yhaindia.org It’s a really well organized trek and worth being a member of YHAI. I’m not paid by YHAI, just FYI ;).