The Mountain Top

I tried to capture a photograph and add that with this post but the internet is not that strong here. This mountain top that stands tall right opposite to my balcony, and the base of which should not be more than a mile away from where I am writing this post, troubles me a lot. This is one thing that I see the most here – while reading, writing, going out, coming back. It refuses to budge. 

It works as a leviathan cinema screen, and presents me with the most fascinating and charming movies – the theme always remains ‘Nature’ of course. Sometimes it is shrouded with white fluffy clouds and looks what heaven must look like. There are times when after a day of snowfall it assumes an outline of bright white colour.

After the sun rises it becomes slightly hazy, and just before dusk it showers the rich green colour to the eyes. I recognize the trees outlining it by their shapes. Some look like men working, others pose as huts, and animals. They must feel awesome perched up at that height, or maybe very lonely.

The rain brings the best of the scenes. It cleans every little speck of dust from the surface of the mountain, and you suddenly feel like you are watching it on HD screen. You can count the trees, see their tilt. Some big boulders raise their heads and catch your sight. Occasionally, an image of an animal is visible, and right at the top tiny black dots of kites appear floating around.

The trouble is that I want to go there and see it all from close – but I can’t. From my place, it is a descent that will leave your knees wobbling at the end, where there is a valley. After that you will need to cross a river to get close to the foot of the hill. And then begins a very very steep ascent. It can take you hours even to reach the midway, and that is after you are extremely fit, and not afraid of leopards. And beyond a point there is no way for you to walk through the thick vegetation. You are the first person to walk any path you take thereafter. Small unrecognizable animals and insects start to flit across your vision too often for your comfort. And then begins the dark – though it still is noon in the sky now out of the reach of your eyes. Your imagiation takes over from there, and voices, all sinister, make you shudder, and your feet develop roots of their own.

That’s where the beauty you saw from your balcony vanishes, and you wish you were still there looking at it from distance. But now it is already afternoon, and the evening threatens to take over anytime. The slope appears too steep to walk on, and you begin clambering down nervously, slipping every now and then. You don’t know how you ever came that far in the first place.

Your eyes search for any signs of civilization, and you scan the distant hills all around. There a white blur of a car appears snailing far away. You take a deep breath and acknowledge that this is not the way you came through. 

“River,” you jump, “there was a river in the valley. Where is it?”

You walk to one side and then other. Get on top of a rock, and peer down to the abyss, to locate a stream. Any signs of water.

Water!! 

Where is your bottle? That’s ridiculous. You took the last sip half-an-hour back. You are extremely thirsty now. That’s it. You need to reach home as soon as possible.

You are walking down and down, and though you are famished, you dare not stop and eat even the chocolate that’s in your pocket.

The density of trees starts thinning, your hopes shooting upwards. “Ahh, I saw that little temple coming up.” And the life becomes easy when you notice a flock of sheep clung to rocks almost vertically and savouring green grass. The village at the base is now visible; the river flowing by its side. The sun is nowhere to be seen now.

In the twilight, you continue somewhat relieved, and reach the river almost in one piece. You cross it, jumping on the stones cautiously not to dislodge any.

The villagers are surprised to see a stranger roaming around in the dark, and group around you wanting to talk. You aren’t really feeling very social at this time, so you quicken your pace despite crumbling legs.

The steep and winding stone steps take you closer to your home, but now dogs stir into action not accustomed to human presence at this time. You act brave. Animals sense fear. You break into a gallop once you are out of their reach.

Your heart revolts having not had this much of work to do since you turned an adult. Sweating profusely you reach the best place in the world – your home.

You switch off the torch, and slump down on the chair in your balcony. A great sense of relief and joy come over you, and you close your eyes.

Breathing deeply, you open your eyes slowly and look at the great mass of darkness staring at you.

“I am invincible,” it appears to be sneering.

“You might well be, but you are my slave. You can’t leave me. I enjoy your beauty at will. And I can leave you whenever I want.” You smile, and go back inside.

Advertisements

Let me walk in peace

‘Hello!’ A booming voice shattered my reverie. I looked around to see where it came from and found a bush some twenty feet up the mountain quivering. Beside it was squatting a scrawny little man. He was scratching his white beard vigorously, and staring at me with his brows furrowed.

‘Yes,’ I shouted back, ‘what happened?’

‘Who are you? Where are you going?’ He demanded.

‘Just going for an evening stroll. Why?’

‘Nothing,’ he relaxed, and continued, ‘Where’re you from?’

‘Somewhere nearby,’ I said rather irritated, and resumed my journey uphill.

I was an outsider here. Local people would stop me on the way like this to complete their inquiries. It felt like they took me for a potential danger to their farms, or livestock. That’s why I would never eye a wandering goat or sheep, lest somebody should hit me with a stick.

I stopped after a while and went to the side of the road and glanced at the valley below. I had reached a substantial height. I inhaled the purity of the air in a long and deep breath, and checked my watch. It had been an hour since I left home.

It was a soothing sight below. A river was smoothly flowing across the farms. I traced the river to find its source on the mountain behind it, and lost it midway around some thick vegetation and rocks. My eyes glided up to the top of the hill, noticing the dense forest on the way.

The clouds were resting comfortably just above the peak, swollen bright white with pride that no one else could reach them. In the greenery below, I could see a speck of white – probably a building, a home. But who would live at that height and how? I need to buy binoculars. I took a mental note.

Must be some kind of temple, I decided, and moved on.

I had made it a point to complete this daily ritual of evening contemplative walks. Besides being very healthy, they gave me food for thought. And I love thinking deep.

I smiled at the thought of reaching ‘my spot’. My spot, was a huge rock positioned beside a road higher up the mountain, shaped like a ledge.

I reached the place and sat on the rock, eyes closed, breathing deep. The air here has a restorative quality to it. Every breath would work like an energy drink.

Generally, this place remained devoid of human existence – it was high and cold and desolate and may be slightly dangerous here – but that day I could hear some noise coming from a distance. A kind of procession – may be religious – I thought. Then I saw people emerging from the far end of the road. I turned and focused back on nature, disconnected with what was happening around.

The sky far away was displaying magic with colours. Turning in all the known and unknown shades of yellow, orange and red. Sometimes I could see the clouds shimmering in gold as well. The Sun was nowhere to be seen, having already set behind a high hill far away. But its rays were still not ready to call it a day, it seemed.

This beauty quietened every voice in my brain, every activity in my body. It brought out best of my memories to the fore. The most beautiful of them were invading my mind, leaving me in a state of trance.

And suddenly, I was pulled back with cruel force. Back from the deepest corners of my soul. And I heard it said again:

‘Who are you?’

I assume it’s their compulsive need to know every single soul around them. It irritated me a lot in the beginning. But I have accepted it now. I know they will come and talk. I have started answering peacefully. In fact, I know a lot many people around now, just because of their persistent intrusions into my privacy.

I have had evening tea with some of them by now, played volleyball, and football with some others. Knowing that the people around know me has made my walks even more pleasurable. I am one of them now.

Night – Aren’t You a Gift!

The land is slowly devoid of light,

Even noise is about to lose its fight,

The tick of the clock is amplified loud,

It’s the time of the day when dark feels proud.

 

People at last succumb to fatigue,

Nuisance in the day, sleeping children intrigue,

It’s time to relax, to sleep, to replenish,

Even breeze runs slow, I know it’ll vanish.

 

But here I am, sitting wide awake,

Hot tea on the table, cold back with an ache,

Out of the window, moon looks a beauty,

Somewhere afar, a watchman begins his duty.

 

I love this silence – it’s fertile, it’s great,

It brings me joy, it helps me contemplate,

I read, I write, and I feel alive,

I do all that, that’s how I thrive.

 

No disruption, no distraction,

No boss, no client, no need for an action,

I work, I earn, I spend – all right,

But I meet my true self only at night.

 

In day I’m lazy, come night I’m crazy,

In nights I see, my days are hazy,

I kiss my son, my wife good night,

But, spend the rest of it underneath light.

 

I take no pressure to be the best,

No need to run and reach the crest,

I think and write what best I can,

Just want to be honest, that’s the plan.