Mountains

The Samurai Walker

Reverberating grand mountain range… here I come!
[Source – Pixabay]

Recently ordained as a samurai or was she a veteran, no one knows for what is the difference between new and old journeys… Experience! Experience? Experience is always limited, tied to the past, a guide it maybe, yes, just that, but not a compass, for the working compass points towards the present, always.

And grannie, the samurai never called herself a samurai… she said, and I have heard too grannie, she called herself a walker.

Hmm… yes, yes, that’s right too, but listen what happened next. She crossed the ocean of the golden grass that swayed with the silken wind, her hands stroking the golden waves past her, dancing a little to the left, then to the right, dancing to dodge the crickets, grasshoppers and in some seasons the dragonflies. Some seasons? Some seasons, yes, for she has crossed this ocean of the golden grass many a times.

You mean the meadow, right grannie? Golden grass ocean is where we play? Because I have seen her passing by.

Yes kiddo! So, listen now, she crosses this ocean to climb the reverberating grand mountain range… mountains that speak and its white peaks touch the sky, its high peaks that speak that us chaps fail to see for we bend to sow seeds, our backs ache and speak a different language that doesn’t reaches the peaks that speak.

But the samurai’s footprints, when in the mood, talk and share anecdotes and so we know somethings like that she stands still to sleep and drinks fresh water for breakfast and dinner, skipping lunch altogether, that she takes different routes to reach the top in search of an answer.

Grannie, she bought flour from the market one day, I saw her. She knows how to cook too.

The footprints are complete, not weak, she is never in a hurry, walking ahead, different routes but one direction. Where to? What chasing question she chases? What can be seen that is hidden in these glorious mountains? An answer? Why again? Yes, again… isn’t the old answer relevant anymore? Or is the question too old, dimming the revelation in-turn? Or there’s no question, no answer to be known?

Kiddo? You asleep, good. Rest now, for you too have to go on a long walk soon.


The samurai, standing on the mountain peak, her hundredth journey, maybe, she mutters, for she stopped counting long time back, for it didn’t answer, it dated the time passed and that is all. Why hundredth then? For impact, she whispers.

Biting cold wind reminded nothing of its silken version that swayed the golden grass, the meadows that looked like a shiny river from there. The samurai looked in one direction for hours, concentrating madly, couldn’t see clearly when suddenly a brisk energy filled her fully, and she stopped looking in one direction, and looked at the panorama fully, the whole of it and not just a part.

The question, the answer busted in joy then, concentration took a dive into complete attention, a clarity dawned that stopped the samurai from checking time, for the whole movement moved in her wholly.


This one movement played like a melodious orchestra around her, that from that day, the samurai walker didn’t imagine her goal, but saw the radiant whole.

The job was done, yet the samurai walked, fought and caught the fallen and rose every time, looking, from a certain angle, as tall and strong as the mountains.


And those who have heard the peaks, mostly the oldies like our grannie, even once – the echoes of the purple caves – they have spent the days and nights in glorifying it as a legend, speaking in riddles, confusing all and never…

Hey, where’s my stick? Wait, you!!


Climbing like the rainbow.
[Source – Pixabay]

She walks without counting, checking time

Or imagining a direction, she walks

Matter-of-factly, fearlessly, lightly

Like the rainbow after a storm

-Samurai’s footprints

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The Knight’s Missing But The Horse’s Here

Feature
“Here comes the horse and the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo.”
[Source – Pixabay]

*

Nature’s furious, the clouds are anger-dancing, the trees are trembling, surrendering, oh trees you say, oh here the mighty mountains are kneeling, falling flat, many many streams erupting singing jingling hymns, begging for mercy, but the nature god has turned its back on us.

Charu, eight, hears the elders saying such things, quite animatedly, and she thinks of a solution immediately, “they should simply walk to the side where the nature god is looking… and talk.”

But now, here she rushes past them all, there she climbs the mud wall, then the tree, and then gets scolded by her mother. Ya-hoy! She lands splashing a puddle and there she runs away.

*

When the rain stopped, all the children in the village came out to play, seeing this, all the frogs high jumped away, leaving the centre stage for them.

Not lamenting over the loss of time – most still couldn’t tell time, it didn’t exist from them – the kids were happy with this break; they didn’t miss the school walls, exercises, question-answers, fill in the blanks, class-tests or the teachers.

Books were all packed nicely, kept safely in the trunk, kept under the bed, in that room which the children rarely entered.

*

But lo, what is that sound, oh, who is’t cometh this way? Charu stares at the turn, the fog lands quickly to add to this mystery.

Through the cracked, broken, muddy trail that was once a kacha road, that now rejected vehicular traffic bluntly, who dares to come to their village?

And then sauntered the Knight or so did Charu thought, but the Knight was missing, rather a humble yet dashing horse emerged when the fog folded itself up like opening curtains; treading carefully, neighing, the horse moved, making sure the trail didn’t deceive him.

*

Charu, amazed, rushed-then-slowed-down, towards the horse, the village kids followed her.

“Look, the horse is carrying something”, said someone and Charu shouted, “oh, it is coming our way, it is coming our way.”

The horse neighed and the kids thought it smiled; they clapped but then became quiet.

Stopping right in front of the group, the horse said, “Kids, are you doing well?”, and then immediately shouted in excitement, “Yes-yes, for I welcome you to the horse library.”

Charu and her friends went round and round the horse, “these books”, “are they for us”, “picture books”, “oh, yes-yes kids”, “this one is about animals”, “hey, look the seven wonders of the world”, “see, told you Octopus has eight arms”, “and legs?”

The children sat around the horse, who asked them to read leisurely as he stood grazing the fresh green grass. And the children sat reading different books, some together, some by themselves, quietly travelling forward, backward in time and space, cherishing the moment.

*

Some pack-full of hours later, the horse left, promising them to return in some days, hoping they would finish reading the books by then, colouring the black-white drawings, sharing each with the other.

He had also said, “and when I come back next, I will bring a fresh lot of readables… because kids, vegetables and readables are very good for health.”

*

Charu, since then, has lived many lives, visited the world in eighty days, went on an expedition to the south pole, and also fought for reading and colouring the underwater world with her village friends.

Aunties with toddlers and cows, goats and dogs, and some oldies have also now joined their semi-circle party, offering them to gather in this or that courtyard if it is raining or is too cold or too windy outside.

They all remain, to this day, good members of the horse library.

*

When the horse returned (Charu not missing the knight) with the new books (the readables), each book appeared to be shinning, announcing the arrival of the saviour, the hero, the magician, the joker, the pied piper and many others from all over the world.

*

It is a beautiful bright day, at some good distance a sheet of clouds is slowly covering the sky, the semi-circle party has gathered again to read and narrate, the horse, happy and calm, stands nearby grazing and some folks, passing by, are talking about the nature.


This post is inspired by a real life fantastic story (that is still unfolding), read about it here –

*

Uttarakhand: How The Horse Library Started To Promote Reading In Remote Villages

‘Ghoda library’ trots up to remote Uttarakhand villages with books for kids, parents to join in


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“Smile”, says the Girl and Laughs

Flash Fiction
The grand mountains and the evening sky = peace.
Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay.

What a wonderful, serene scene this is… I love mountains.

[Dev breathes in the cool air, then walks ahead and clicks pictures using his new camera; the funky-funny-machine-like clicking repeated sound is in sharp contrast to the peaceful silence present.]

Hmm… Hey, Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me/ I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to/ Hey, Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me/ In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you…

[Dev walks ahead; his rough shoes making imprints on the kind earth; he continues humming and the wind plays the tune; he then stops and clicks another photograph.]


Who’s that? Does not look like a tourist… she is… why is she standing… on the edge of the cliff?

“Excuse me, you are standing on the edge… the cliff is quite steep… just, just be careful.”

[The girl does not pay much attention to him; she is looking at the grand mountains and the evening sky.]

What is with this girl… she is clearly… oh!

[Dev suddenly starts running; camera in one hand, he rushes, gazing like an eagle at the girl.]

“Hey! Wait! What… what are you doing?”

“Calm down, it is alright”, said the girl curtly.

[Dev halts; panting he takes a step forward and then looks up in the sky; he then presses his forehead with two fingers and sets his hairstyle before looking at the girl again.]

“I thought… I… I thought you are about to jump… sorry!”

[The girl smiles and goes back to looking at the picturesque scene. Dev feeling embarrassed hits his head gently and starts walking away.]


“Will you click a photograph for me? Such a peaceful place this is”, said the girl mesmerised by the view.

“Oh, yeah, sure”, said Dev.

Should I take her photograph or just the mountains…? Oh, she is looking at me and smiling, definitely posing for the camera.

“One moment, please”, said Dev.

[He changes the settings on his Canon DSLR and then gets ready to click the photo.]

Hmm… she is beautiful…

[As Dev sets the frame with the girl to the left side and the mountains in the centre, the girl takes a step backwards and jumps. The camera slips from Dev’s hand and he rushes towards the edge.]

Oh, no, oh, no!

[Dev gulps dry air and peeks down the cliff, he cannot see her anywhere. His heart beats madly and his head starts to spin.]

What just… she, she… jumped!

*

[Dev again looks down, a gush of wind hits him, this time it is playing another melody. Dev fails to recognise this tune. Dev steps back from the edge of the cliff, takes out his cell phone and turns; he dials the emergency helpline number and looks up. The girl is standing with his camera in her hands.]

“Smile”, says the girl.

[Dev blackouts. The girl laughs.]

*


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Ambitious? Yes.

Flash Fiction

The flowers are ambitious by nature.
Image by Marisa04 from Pixabay

Gori knows not where the path leads to, the wet air, the dusky flora, and the mysterious tunes do not guide either.

Soaking in the newness she walks forward.

And why is it that we always choose to walk ahead, why does not the uncertainty collapse us?

If we stop to rest, if we feel defeated, if we turn back embarrassed and ashamed, we still reach, in some time, at the glorious hour of a beginning.

The tired, wounded, and sullen eyes once again look up, once again fathom the depth, once again find the path.


Taking the rope bridge, climbing the echoing mountains, crossing the glassy rainbows, Gori saw that valley where her loved one awaited her.

The gush of wind cheered her, the dew heavy leaves blessed her, the clouds played the drums for her.

And why does it seem that the whole world dances when we dance and the whole world moans when we moan?

How come we hear the call when there is a concrete silence around us, when facts dispel hope and when dejection raises a toast?

In anger the head is alone, when rejoicing the heart holds it all.


The illusion rudely reveals the reality and Gori faces the brazen cold marshland.

What happened to the beautiful valley, to the lover’s promise, to the perfect dream? Hush! The monster rises, its shadow darkens Gori’s faith.

Thundering sky strikes with lightening that Gori catches with her bare hands. Heaving, she runs towards the monster.  

Why is life so epic, so grand, so ambitious? Why do the storytellers talk about ‘once upon a time’?

If the legends appear amused by the mundane, then how many of us are at folly for it is the ordinary that becomes extraordinary?

The tales have never ceased to be melodious, we live perpetually enchanted.  


Gori starts walking, leaving behind the triumphant air, gravity shining on her forehead.

She resumes the journey as a narrow track becomes visible to her now, a solo night jasmine tree on the way, showers her with its flowers, Gori takes its fragrance along.

Gori knows not where the path leads to, soaking in the passionate silence she walks forward.  

Are the night jasmines very ambitious to wait for and shower a victorious warrior and not anyone else? Yes, they are.  

*

Shine-shine, you two!
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Moon Talks

The moon’s blushing.
[Image from Pixabay]

In its stillness the moon shines poetically and travels through the same old route and reaches the very many hearts of its listeners.  

I believe in your dreams, your smiles and tears.  

The wavy mountains make a marvellous backdrop for the moon to become brighter, where it meets the eyes of a lone survivor.

I walk along; I follow wherever you go.  

Amongst the twinkling stars, the moon beams broadly and warmly at the free souls, the little ones.

Yes, you can do magic and hide me in your lotus fists.  

Deep, true brush strokes attempts to take the moon’s magic and pour it in a canvas.

I blush, yes, all the while.  

The night sky and the blue ocean together carry the moon’s palanquin, rhythmically and lovingly they move.

I take their colours and they take mine.    

A curtain draws, a window opens up and someone, in the serene peaceful moonlight, says a prayer.

And I say amen.

– Moon

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I Can See Mountains from the Window, I’ll take this Window Along

The mountains are so grand; I realised it that day when I climbed one. The green velvety zigzag stretch left me overwhelmed.

A thought caught my attention and told me how beautiful and majestic the mountains were, how incredibly small I was, how peacefully colourful the surroundings were and how sublime the music played by the wind was.

*

Portable Window! [Image by AnnaliseArt from Pixabay]

*

I saw the clouds and they saw me; I blushed quietly. With my feet in the wet green grass, I stood there enjoying the drizzle. I sat on a calm rock calmly and opened the notebook. I couldn’t write for some reason, so I drew the scene instead.    

Have you ever felt the same? Like when you feel something you cannot describe in words or otherwise? When the smell of an old book takes you back in a different century?

As if the leaf that fell near you was meant to fall there so that you could pick it up and observe it? And that the glamorous city lights were talking to each other and the moon was talking to you?

What about the smiley face drawn by a passer-by on a dusty car that reminds you of the one you had drawn? Have you ever felt the still mind?

The drawing that I made took the shape of the yin-yang without my knowledge. Opposites complement each other. I sat near the window and thought about it; the sun passed by and the moon came with white light very quickly and in the shadow, I saw the light and immediately, I agreed.

I again looked at that drawing, in gratitude but the drawing was no longer the same… there were dark green mountains and blue sky, white clouds and green grass and me, sitting on the calm rock calmly. And I looked through the window…

I can see mountains from the window, I’ll take this window along.


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Failed Successfully

View from the window…
[Source – Pixabay]

Sitting by the window and watching the wind do its customary dance, Kent wrote a line in his diary and stopped. The line said, ‘I failed again.’ Dry leaves and twigs joined the wind hesitatingly…a bit shy but tending. Kent took a sip of his hot coffee. He flailed the pen in his hand and then began to write-

Again. I try and then I fail. I wonder how I have reached so far when all I can do is to fail. I sink low every time and it becomes difficult to make a comeback. The sympathy, the taking my side, the hiding my faults…I hate when people do this to me. It hurts me more. But I am the reason of the burden I am carrying.

After another sip, Kent again checked the rendition. He couldn’t hear it clearly but was sure about the charming song that the wind played. Huge trees rhymed along, they were so great yet so modest; nature knows some marvellous secrets that make it awe-inspiring.

I have nothing to say anymore. I wish I could visit Mrs Graceland’s house, the backyard and the trail that led to the jungle and the brook with leaves and twigs wafting in it.

If only I could sit there for some time alone. My heart would pour itself in the brook and I am positive that I could then breathe without feeling the knots. The jungle, the brook they don’t know that I have failed. They will not demand any answers nor will they console me. I will be with them and they’ll welcome me.

But with time things start eluding and you feel silent, empty and helpless; a mere bystander.

Kent’s sigh sounded heavy and blue. He searched for something in his room and finding it his eyes rested upon it; a wall clock that made him conscious and humble. He lost himself for some time. Coming back he looked at his diary and wrote-

I think I have failed in putting my thoughts in words. I am sorry dear diary. I think I should just stop writing and….

A green leaf in autumn.
[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

At this moment he found a leaf knocking on his window. He stared for few minutes waiting for it to fly away but it didn’t. He stretched his hand reluctantly and opened the window.

Taking the leaf in his hand Kent watched the scene and without waiting for his permission the wind touched his face and made his hair dance. A smile came on his face naturally.

The power of the wind amazed him, the music enthralled him; he could feel the spirit, the liveliness that was abundant in nature. Peeking through his window Kent stood for long in that position unaware of the clock, the pen, the diary, the leaf and himself.

It was getting dark. He forced himself to shut the window. With nature you don’t know when the time passes and if you happen to know you wish it to go slow.

Sitting back on his chair and before he could finish his diary entry, he examined the leaf in his hand. It was green. It was autumn. It was a message. Life loves to live. Who loves life lives…happily.

Kent finished his diary entry.

I can’t believe myself but I am going to try again, maybe I’ll fail again. It doesn’t matter. I’ll never stop walking because I never know what is there for me on the next turn. I am going to die one day, I don’t want to die before that.

Cheers to the green leaf!

Kent  


And now, listen to Vashti Bunyan’s album Just Another Diamond Day, this is one of Kent’s favourite tracks, one that he listened to after finishing his diary entry –


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