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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

"SAVERA" Part 1

An art of unrequited love

Sobhan Pramanik

Part 1
It was early March, the onset of summer in the plains and the Gulmohars were starting to blossom. My college term had ended and like every year I was all set to leave for the hills, to my grandparents place in Manali.

As the train drew out of the station and started to gain speed along stretches of overgrown meadows, I was going restless to see my grandparents, to fall in love with the exoticness of Manali and sit by that fresh water channel near our place with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper, attempting to capture the beauty of Manali with my amateur yet artistic strokes; I loved sketching.

I wish I had known that this time I won’t be sketching Manali rather I will be sketching someone’s dream that was someone’s love, times ago…
A week of incessant rain had let the rocks grow on themselves a layer of velvet moss. Puddles of water yet to be soaked by the earth lay open to the exuberance of the school going kids. The cerulean sky stretched to infiniteness, like a calm river, blissfully allowed the ripples of white clouds to drift across to the pensive breeze. Nudging the serene sky was the charm of Manali, the rocky brown mountains, whose slopes seem guarded by legions of pine and cedar. And it was after quite a few days that the sun with its slanting, golden rays had decided to eavesdrop from behind the translucent curtain of mist above us.
I found the driver looking up the sky, eyes closed in devotion and lips mumbling his sacred wishes to the almighty.
Blessed to see Surya Devta after so many days” he said looking into the rear view mirror clamped to the roof of his fiat.
I smiled and nodded. I was spellbound by the charm of Manali. I kept looking outside the window at the nature endowed beauty of the place. I wanted to stay awake the entire journey and greet my eyes with images of clouds crashing with the mountains and the warm streaks of sun disappear behind the clouds and reappear once again from another section of the sky; but then a day of train journey did take a toll on me as I failed to keep myself awake.
I longed to see my grand pa and grand maa…
I longed to sit by the stream…
I longed to draw…
It was close to afternoon that I was walking the creepers strangled streets of a small village named Mashobra. The smell of ripped wild berries along with the mint from the pressed grasses beneath my feet lingered heavily in the air overpowering within me every possible barriers of nostalgia. I reached home and slowly walking across to the courtyard hugged grandma from behind, who was busy watering the plants she had planted on her own.
She turned to me as her face took up the colours of sheer joy. She hugged me back as I bent down to touch her feet. I look into her deep seated eyes that had seen the mountains of Manali weather with time; her face had wrinkles crisscrossing her fair cheeks like stream of water on a pebbled bed. She always looked the same to me ever since I had known her, someone whose love for me never suffered a dent in all these years. Soon we were joined by grand pa who had gone to the bazaar located down the hills to fetch some fresh vegetables. Time flew as heartfelt gossips were accompanied by delicious food cooked by my grandma, specially made to prevent my trousers from fitting me once I get back home after the vacation.

Grandparents don’t just love you…they love to see you having chubby cheeks and a little paunch.
With the tiredness looming large over me, I dozed off earlier than usual that day.
Mornings in the hills captivates my senses. The smell of the dew drenched mountain flora, faint glimmer of aureate light smearing the western sky like chrome yellow spreading on a wet art paper, the cacophony of birds and the rumbling of the mountain stream, all these combined to capture a part of heaven located thousands of feet above earth.
Well Heaven isn’t too far…
I was walking towards the stream holding my sketch book and a pencil as the sound of pebbles rolling down its bed started to get prominent. A tranquil breeze intoxicated with the smell of ripped berries was something that added to the serenity of the ambiance. I sat by the rocky ledge hypnotized by nature as the warmth of my feet met the chillness of the water. I lifted my feet all of a sudden as a generous smile crept up my lips. My feet touched the running water yet again, this time it was lot more soothing. The stream was shallow; my feet touched its bed wetting itself to a little above the ankle. Miles ahead of me stands enormously large mountains cradling a dense forestation of pine and cedar whose peaks seems to be hiding behind the white buoyant clouds.

But then my reverie was blissfully interrupted by the sound of a harmonica. Flocks of birds fleeted across the misty sky in glee. I looked around to spot the harmonica player whose tune seemed to take control of my senses. It was an elicit piece of romance. The track was Pal pal dil ke paas…

Finally my frantic eyes caught sight of a girl seated beneath the canopy of a pine tree. She had a brownish complexion. Her frock had bold stich marks near its ends, mark of an amateur tailor I would say. She remained seated with her legs dangling from the rocky ledge, intentionally not touching the water beneath and few streaks of her sombre hair amiably falling across her face kept hiding her eyes from my sight.

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, Tum Rahatii Ho
Jiivan Miithii Pyaas, Ye Kahatii Ho
Pal Pal ...
I wanted to sketch...but I preferred listening to the melodious passion the harmonica oozed…
I wanted to listen to the harmonica…but I chose to imagine her eyes…

To be continued…

Author- Sobhan Pramanik,  
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