Literature & Fiction | 3 Chapters
Author: Nigil M Narayanan
She wanted to be the rain, he remembered. “Whenever I wanted to meet you, I could just come pouring down. The trees, the roofs, and everyone will stand in our way, but I would still fight through them, soothe them and finally reach you, embrace you”. When he hears the rain, the murmur of the rivers, the wind singing to him; the only thing he remembers is his little escapades with her in Kerala. Follow Abhi in his present journey through Himac....
To all the people who believed in me and have been my critics all throughout this short journey till now.
Noushin, Vivek, Aswin, Azhar, Adil, KJ, Sonu, Dani, Naseeb for not laughing at me when I told you ‘one day I would write a book’.
Shafeeque, Abhin, KP, Rohit, Sanjay, Amal, Deepak, Ali, Gireesh, Aftab, Aswin, Priya, Shabin for being my first critics when I started this journey.
Prajil, Pranav, Anooja, Saneesh, Akhil, Abhijath, Logi, Uday, Asha, Amrutha, Anu, Praji, Angel, Nivya, Ashwin, Abhinav, Aman, Kunal, Siddhart sir, Anand, Chetan sir, Alok,Inshu Mam and Himanshu sir for all the encouragement
Hanzel for the dearest review I ever got.
Nimisha for the encouragement you showered all through out.
Lastly but not the least, the two most important people in the completion of this book; Bharat and Anfaal. Without you the book wouldn’t have been even half as interesting as it turned out to be. Thank you both for the ideas and feedbacks you gave me all throughout and for being there whenever I was in doubt.
I would like to thank everyone at Notionpress for everything you have done for the completion of this book. Anu and Hamza during the initial stages. Sherine for guiding me through the entire process and finally my editor Fabiola for helping me complete the book.
“Of all the ways we have found to hurt ourselves,
the worse has been through love.
We are always suffering because of someone who doesn’t love us,
or someone who has left us,
or someone who won’t leave us.
If we are alone, it is because no one wants us...”
Manual of the Warrior of Light
I was standing next to the monastery, running my hands through the prayer wheels. People came and left along my sides running their hands through them. The ringing of those bells which resonated all through the alley made the atmosphere spiritual. Some monks were seen walking into the temple. The sun cast a certain glint around the magnificent temple and its premises.
My eyes fell on a girl who was sitting chatting with a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper was an elderly woman. Two children were sitting on her lap, who might have been her grandchildren. The girl sat on the floor next to the bamboo chair on which the lady was sitting. She was talking to the old lady and toying with the children. Her hair was cut short and made into a ponytail. She was slim and beautiful. I looked on as she stood up and walked out of the shop holding the hands of the children. They went into a nearby shop and came out with chocolates. They walked towards me and crossed me and stopped in front of the prayer wheels. She picked them up one at a time and held them so that they could turn the prayer wheels. The ringing of the bell resonated on the faces of those children as beautiful smiles. She was making them giggle with her little games and play acting. She was spreading happiness, she reminded me of someone. They then moved into the alley and walked away from me into the crowd swarming those streets. They crossed him, my eyes left the girl and it got transfixed onto him. He seemed lost.
I could feel the taste of her lips, the rain that drenched us, the chill that went up my spine. It seemed like I had been in deep sleep for years. A sudden noise pulled me out of my sleep. I was in a cold sweat.
A book had fallen off from the bunk bed above me. When I came to my senses and realised that I had travelled 5 years further ahead, my eyes fell on the green pendant which was hanging from my wristband. I ran my other hand over it while my eyes started to identify the familiar surroundings, before sleep drowned me into its depths.
The creamy white room, the posters that hung on the walls; Some depicting the majestic ranges of the Himalayas while others were just art works made by guests. A beautiful unrecognizable fragrance filled the room.
I had arrived earlier that morning before the sun had risen, occupied my bed trying not to disturb the others and slept there to shake off the tiring bus journey.
There was a blue notice which hung on the back of the door. It was about hostel policies that we had to adhere to. The sixth point read ‘do not cause any nuisance to fellow guests’. I looked at the book that lay on the floor. It was titled ‘The Choice’ by Nicholas sparks.
I got out of bed. The person on top was sleeping with his mouth wide open. I looked across to find that the other two bunk beds were vacant and the beds had been neatly made. There were backpacks underneath the beds, the occupants had left to enjoy the day.
I was feeling hungry; it had been 16 hours since my stomach had a meaningful meal. I got ready and decided to hit the streets of Mcleodganj in search of local food rather than to sit at the hostel and enjoy the mostly European cuisine it offered.
I took out a pullover from my backpack and pushed the bag back underneath the bed. It was the fag end of October; it was not so cold. The decision to go out with the pullover on, was due to the unfamiliar weather of the Himalayas. I didn’t want to go under the weather and jeopardize the rest of my trip.
I went towards the market area which I had noticed on my way into the hostel before dawn. Everything which was in deep sleep, when I crossed them in the early hours of the morning was now brimming with life.
Shopkeepers sat outside some shops enjoying the sun. Some were chit chatting with neighbouring shop owners or tourists. I saw the Buddhist temple at the end of the street. Between me and the temple, there were a line of shops selling various kinds of artefacts, handicrafts and clothes. Some were entirely reserved for Tibetan merchandise and religious books. The beautiful little things hanging in front of each shop made it look like streamers that had been arranged in order to decorate the path towards the temple. Everything glistened in the sun. Buddhist prayer flags with texts inscribed on them were tied all across the street. The peaceful atmosphere was disrupted only by the chants coming out of the temple and the frequent ringing of bells. There was an aura of spirituality that encapsulated the entire area.
I usually wondered why people keep themselves busy with all the materialistic things in the world. I was also one among them, maybe some years ago. It is hard to understand why people don’t retrospect the path they are on. They work their socks off in companies they don’t like and live in cities they hate. I have never met someone who was happy with the money they made. My travels took me to faraway places and made me meet different types of people. The way many people went on with their lives initially shocked me, they were happy with whatever they could achieve in their life. They were less educated and in inferior living conditions than their counterparts in big cities, but they were happy. I started to understand their ways and their happiness.
Finally, my hunger overtook the spirituality I was experiencing there and I decided to give in. I decided to try a Tibetan restaurant that was two shops away. It was a small shop with 4 tables. A foreign couple sat on the table next to mine. The interior was painted in red with skirting of bright yellow. Origami dragons and round red Chinese lanterns hung from the ceiling. A photo of his holiness Dalai Lama hung from one of the walls.
The waiter, wearing a full-length dress, came to my table. He was a polite little man with a friendly appearance. He tried to show his hospitality by starting a conversation. It was hard to understand his accent, but I tried to reply to whatever I could decipher. He handed over the menu along with a piece of paper and a pencil and returned to prepare the meal for the other guests.
I ran my eyes through the menu and had a difficult time choosing what to eat. Finally, I wrote down croissants and Gyuma
I took the newspaper that was lying on the table and skimmed through the pages. When I got bored, I looked out to the streets and watched the lives that were rolling by. I noticed a backdoor that was opening into a balcony, got up from my seat and walked towards it after exchanging greetings with the foreign couple.
The balcony opened out into the beautiful landscape of Mcleodganj, the mountains, the valley and the pine trees that formed a green blanket over everything. I stood there absorbing the beauty of the place. I saw some kids who were playing just underneath the balcony. While my body stood there absorbed in the vibe that was being circulated, my mind took a deep dive to a place that lay 3000 kilometers away and many years behind.