The cold is breaking my bones, a simple pant and shirt is not the best dress to wear in this part of the region. My thoughts trouble me even when I am in a troubled situation! “Leave me alone! It’s not like you are going to save me!” I am sleeping on the snow, 10 minutes of the most peaceful sleep I would have ever had and such a beautiful sight in front of me, Shiva’s home I can see it from here, his door step, his creation; its right in front of me, with an orange light covering the entire sky and making the mountain shine. It is morning.
I see a mystical sign, or is it my delusion due to the cold flowing through my veins. I close my eyes and I can feel the weight of my head nothing else, a heavy object in my head moving left to right, I open my eyes I see I am being dragged by huskies, I close my eyes. I open them again to see the dogs sniffing me, I feel dead, I can hear noises, an argument, and my senses are coming back to me, an elderly gentleman and two girls from the tones that I had picked up. What is happening? I shut my eyes. Next thing I know, my eyes burst wide open as my lungs gasp for air and as my skin vents out steam as the warm water relaxes my muscles and warms my blood; I am in paradise. I am in a Marble floored swimming pool filled with hot water and I am naked. My white skin is now a mixture of red and white. I enjoy my moment of peace; I feel like I deserve it!
Just then a voice breaks the peace process;
“Tyaar Naam kya cha?” (What is your name?)
I splash the water in surprise and look behind, near the door.
My eyes may deceive me but what broke my peace could be the one thing that could liberate me from peace itself!
A girl in a black sweater, white as the snow in which I was buried (as if my grave was calling me back to sleep in it) brown wrinkled Harem pants, her two pony tails were in front of her beautiful curved face with her sharp nose glimmering in red and her jet black eyes inspecting me, gazing with a lot of intrigues, but be blind or hazed by the cold winter snow; no one can miss out on those red lips.
“TYAAR NAAM KYA CHA?” (WHAT IS YOUR NAME?), she asks in a furious tone.
“TYAAR NAAM KYA…
MYAAR NAAM RAMSINGH CHA!” (MY NAME IS RAMSINGH!)
“TU KHAK REHANDI? TYAAR GAON KAKH CHA? (“WHERE DO YOU LIVE? WHERE IS YOUR VILLAGE?)
“D-DHAR GAON MYAAR GAON CHA (DHAR GAON IS MY VILLAGE)
She doesn’t say anything but throws a coat, pant, underwear and a t-shirt.
She closes the cottage door; I realized that I am in a cottage… I come out of the hot spring and see the scars on my hands and chest and wear the clothes. I find a pair of socks and boots beside them; so I’m all decked up. I feel warm and kind of shy.
I open the door and see another cottage in front of me with the huskies playing by the porch. One man on the right side of the cottage asks me to go inside as “he” is waiting for me.
I get pass the huskies who sniff my entire body as if they were the bomb disposal squad, I open the door and I see her again sitting by the dining table and an elderly man counseling her or telling her something; with his kind of tone one could expect that he would be giving people words of wisdom; but my fortunes might be otherwise.
“AAP HINDI BOLTEIN HAI KYA? (DO YOU SPEAK HINDI?) He asks me in a polite and gentle manner.
HAAN JI, HUM HINDI MEIN BAAT KARTE HAI (YES SIR, I DO SPEAK IN HINDI)
RAMSINGH JI, AYO BETHO HUMARE SAAT (COME RAMSINGH SIR, SIT WITH US)”
I sit down not noticing the pretty girl’s face but looking at the man with his grey beard and his muscular face and his glasses slipping off his nose. The conversation begins.
“AAP DHAR GAON SE RAM GAON KYU AYE? APKA YAHA ANA KYA KARAN HAI? (WHY DID YOU COME FROM DHAR GAON TO RAM GAON, WHAT IS YOUR REASON TO COME HERE?)”
“JI, MEIN DHAR GAON SE BHAAG NIKLA AUR RASTE PE MUJHPE KOI HUMLA KIYE, MERI SCOOTER KO JALAKAR MUJHE BARAF PE DAFNADIYE “ (SIR, I RAN AWAY FROM DHAN GAON AND ON MY WAY HERE SOMEONE ATTACKED ME, BURNT MY SCOOTER AND BURRIED ME IN THE SNOW)
“OHO, TUM CHOR YA KATIL NAHI HAI NA, DHAR GAON SE KYU BHAG KE AYE? (OHO, YOU ARE NOT A THIEF OR A MURDERER ARE YOU?, WHY DID YOU RUN AWAY FROM DHAR GAON?)
“NAHI SIR, MEIN EK SIDHA SADHA LADKA HOON, MERI MAA WAHA KI SCHOOL TEACHER HAI, PAISE KE MAMLE MEIN; MERE AUR MAA KE BEECH MEIN LADAYI HO GAYI, TAB MEIN BORI BISTAR BANDH KE BHAAG CHALA DHAR GAON SE. (NO SIR, I AM A SIMPLE BOY, MY MOTHER IS A SCHOOL TEACHER THERE. DUE TO A MATTER OF MONEY THERE WAS A FIGHT BETWEEN ME AND MY MOTHER THEN I PACKED MY THINGS AND RAN AWAY FROM DHAN GAON)”
“AISE NAHI KARTE BETA, AAP APNE MAA KO PHONE KARO, WOH APKELIYE PARESHAN RAHENGI, PAISE KE JHAGDE MEIN APNI JAAN KHATRA MEIN KYU DAL RAHE HO? ( THIS IS NOT DONE SON, CALL UP YOUR MOM SHE MUST BE WORRIED ABOUT YOU, JUST FOR A FIGHT OVER MONEY ; WHY ARE YOU PUTTING YOUR LIFE IN DANGER?)”
“WOH MUJHE MARNE KE LIYE INTIZAR KAR RAHI THI, ABHI TOH SAHI MEIN UN KE LIYE MAR HI GAYA, AB MEIN APNA ZINDAGI JI SAKTA HOON AUR WOH UNKHI” ( SHE WAS WAITING FOR ME TO DIE, NOW I AM DEAD ACCORDING TO HER, NOW I CAN LIVE MY LIFE SO CAN SHE)”
“HMM… AB SUNHO BETA, AAPKA KYA HOGA SHAAM MEIN DEKHENGE, AB KE LIYE MERI BETI AAPKA KHAYAL RAKHEGI. (HMM… LISTEN UP SON, WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN TO YOU WILL BE DEALT BY EVENING, FOR NOW MY DAUGHTER WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU).
“PARR CHACHAJI…” (BUT UNCLE …)
She steps aside as her uncle gets up.
They have a private conversation, but I can hear their whisper;
“BETA TU TOH USKI RAKSHAK HAI, USKA DHYAN RAKH MEIN SHAAM MEIN AAKAR PHAISLA LUNGA” (CHILD, YOU ARE HIS RESCUER TAKE CARE OF HIM, IN THE EVENING I SHALL COME AND TAKE A DECISION)”
I get up as he leaves; for he leaves with a smile.
I get the most arrogant and scared look from the girl who stole my pride.
We step outside the house and she asks me to sit near the Chai shop (tea shop) near the cottage and wait for her there. She hands me 30 Rupees.
I do as she says. I go to the Chai shop and sit on the snow dusted bench where the old man asked me;
“Chai loge beta?” (Do you want some tea son?) I reply; “Ji Uncle. (Yes Uncle)
He orders an elderly lady to make the tea and as I look around and look at her go I just smile and have a warm feeling.
“BABU KI BETI BAHUT SUNDAR HAI NI?” (ISN’T BABU’S DAUGHTER BEAUTIFUL?) Asked the elderly lady handing my cup of Chai (Tea).
“HAAN BAHUT SUNDAR” (YES VERY BEAUTIFUL) as my smile makes my cheeks go red and my face quite warm.
TO BE CONTINUED…