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Showing posts from January, 2006

The Messenger

'Gopi! What is that sound? Can you hear a clip clop?"
….just a branch tapping on the window pane I guess…

At eighty even a cold can keep you in bed, but I am not ready to go. Not yet. There is still work to be done. Builders are trying to get their hands on my lands. They will raze down the Haveli and chop down the orchards… I am alone…last of my line….

What am I living for? Wife and sons… gone. How many more deaths do I have to see? What is it that I haven't done yet?

Clip clop, clip clop…..I can hear it…a faint sound in the distance, but very clear…

The legend said, when the master of the house was about to die, he heard a clip clop of a Black horse, the messenger of Death. Have you come for me this time? Not yet….not yet!

“ Gopi wake up ! Call two servants. I need them as witnesses. Give me a paper and pen”

Clip clop,, clip clop….is the sound a little closer?

……All my worldly goods, I bequeath to my servant Mr. Gopichand Parmar and his children. I wish them to carry forward…

Black Merlin

Faster and faster she and Merlin flew... she could feel the wind in her hair, her body moving in perfect sync with his gallop. This was what she loved most, Merlin and her, riding together, his black body glistening in the sun and dark mane flying like a cloud. Black Merlin, as she called him.

In a bustling house Merlin was the only one who belonged to her, her best friend. She had no other and had needed no other. When she was younger she used to tell every one that he was her brother. Her mother, growing red in face, had tried to hush her.

She was allowed to ride him only in a slow trot and with a servant who kept begging her to slow down. She had taken a bad fall when she was just a baby. The doctor had been worried about her concussion. Speed was not good for her. Keep an eye on her, she is fragile, he had said.

How could she make them understand that Merlin and she were made for galloping across the hills and valleys, unrestrained, free as wind? When she rode him, she became a beaut…

Just what I always wanted to do.

" Ma'am, how would you like to win a free gift ?" He asked me in a tone a game show host uses on unsuspecting participants.

I was visiting Shopper's Stop. I had lost my friend at the cosmetic counter somewhere among the young bubbly girls spraying perfume on passers by. I was looking around for her and I became aware of a young man addressing me. One overly cheerful, overly respectful and overly friendly young man was looking at me with a winning smile on his face.

" NO, thanks.” I said curtly.
That man must be earning good bucks to put up with people like me. He continued with an annoying persistence.Finally I relented and said,
'Yes, I would LOVE to win a free gift , what do I have to do ?"
He jubilantly thrust a microphone in my face and said
" Just laugh in the Mic please."
" Excuse me ? " I was taken aback. His smile widened as if he had seen this reaction before.
" Today is The Laughter Day Ma'am! Yes!! That's all you ha…

Meeting with my Angel.

He walked away from me, jumped off the boulders with an agility of a mountain goat, looked back to wave at me, turned the corner and vanished.
I had realized by this time that in these mountains anything was possible. Maybe it's the air, makes everyone a little light headed, a little other worldly.

Let me begin at the beginning, as all good stories should. Like, how come I was sitting on a mountain alone, looking at the valley below me and wondering if it was real.
I had come to Kullu valley as part of a trek group. For past week I had been sleeping in damp tents, walking up to twenty kilometers per day and eating food that didn't agree with me.
Just before we reached Malana I had suffered a nasty fall which made it impossible to continue forcing me to leave the group. The relief on the Leader's face hurt a little. No, it had hurt a LOT. Not one person had spared a thought on how I was planning to walk those seventeen kilometres with a busted knee, so keen they were on gettin…