Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Jun 24, 2010

Yogi Baba - A story untold; Begining of the 6th Chapter

Chapter 6
She was wearing a cream white sari which reflected the moonlight so well that her walk was like a shimmer of moonlight playing on quiet lake. A sensation of flowing accompanied her movements as she held her slender waist with one hand and other was swaying gently as she walked out of the small Durga temple in front of our house. I was sleeping out side our large country house in the hot summer night along with one of my brother, few cousins and the caretaker of our farm, Prasad Chacha (Uncle). I had to always fight with my mother to get the privilege of sleeping outside under the neem tree as she always considered me too young to sleep outside, even after my constant reminder that I have just celebrated my 10th Birthday. For me, after a exhausting day of horsing around the village, it was the best place to rest; among the stars, in the comforting arms of the neem tree. It was very soothing to scour the night sky for any moving stars and many times I have followed some star moving across the night sky, from one end to another. The two months of vacations were the most precious times of my year as we all move down to our village, thousands of Kilometers away from Delhi on the foot hills of Himalayas, to spend all our waking hours in the lap of nature. Playing in the fields, running around with the other boys from the village, riding the buffalo in the small lake just out side our village or taking a small walk over to a tributary river to Holy Ganges for a refreshing swim. Almost all my nights were spent out side of the house besides the neem tree that I have seen growing along with our temple, me and my brothers. I had always considered the tree as an elder, talked to him quite a few times after coming out of the temple or in the evenings when ma refused to give in to some demand. Our temple of Goddess Durga Ji, for ages, was just a small mound of earth, near the young neem tree, with the vermillion smeared on the top of the some small stones, placed on top, which was assumed to be the forehead of Goddess and slowly it has acquired walls around and then finally a roof top when one of my brothers got his first salary abroad.

Tonight, just before this woman from the village came out of the temple after, what I believed at that time, her prayers, I woke up with a start. I could still feel the echoes of the bell hung in the temple, within me. As she passed by me, she paused for a second as if she sensed me awake. I could feel her thinking, but then she moved on. The tiny bells on her anklet sounded softly like music riding the small breeze that was flowing in from the jasmine tree, near our well, to my house, caressing me under a beautifully moonlit sky. The woman kept on moving within the sound of nights deep sighs. Mixed with the sweet smell of Jasmine, her body odor of sandal wood played on my senses and I was floating slowly in and out of a beautiful dream like state. The firefly’s followed in her wake as if in trance, the clouds moved swiftly so they can shade her delicate body from the fierce moon light that now highlighted her profile more brightly. As she crossed the Hibiscus flower plant, that used to provide all the flower requirements of the temple since my childhood, she stopped and slowly looked back to see if I am still pretending to sleep. As she looked over my face, I could feel the very gentle touch of her eyes but I still kept my eyes shut. Her long dark hairs were gently floating with the wind and her sari fluttered softly as she turned once again to go. Slowly I gathered some courage and got up to follow as silently as I could. She moved on to the narrow path, between the two small fields that served as our kitchen garden, leading to our ancient well. The well has had served us for generations and slowly it has become our most favored spot as it served as our local gossip center, bathing Ghat, catching up with other village boys and planning visits to raid the local Mango Groves and much more. Prasad Chacha used to draw out water in buckets and bath us under, what seemed like a continuous running stream of the nearby mountain. Few feets away, there was a mango and Jack fruit tree around providing shades in the day and in the evenings, the flower bush, Raat ki Rani (Hasnuhana also known as Night Jasmine) provided the most interesting and sweetly scented back drop for our night time ghost stories among the us and kids from village houses just beyond the well.

As I followed her, I realized that she knows that I am behind, by her conscious slowing down, but continued walking. As she reached the well, she took the rope and the small pot, which is usually kept there for drawing water and handed over to me, without any note of question or even looking at me, asking in soothing soft whisper, which competed with the soft music of the breeze that was blowing, to draw out some water for her to drink. I had actually never done that before as ma was scared of us going around the well for she feared that one of us, brothers, will some how fall in. Although her presence near me was making me more nervous, but the childlike desire to impress her kept me rooted to the spot and finally I threw the pot in the well after tying it with the rope as I had seen Prasad chacha do many numbers of time. After a customary wait of water to fill in the vessel, I drew it out slowly. Never once looking at her but knowing fully well that her eyes are on me. Slowly I untied the pot and turned around to give her water as she position herself slightly bent on her knees, her face down with her cupped hands to her lips. I could see her dark hair, flowing gently all over her and the white sari and the cupped palm waiting for the water to be poured in. Slowly in small gulps she drank the water and as she raised her face to thank me, I saw her face for the first time and I just dropped dead on the ground. Her eyes were red, her tongue was long and almost fully out of her mouth and blood red, which looked dark black in the night moonlight. Her face was dark black and lips smeared in blood, and a thick line of  fresh blood, slowly trickling down from one side of her mouth.

Next day, when I woke, I had high fever, shivering and nervous but strangely did not feel any fear. That was the beginning of my meeting her, our temple Goddess Durga Ji in the form of Kali, and the first step towards my destiny. Now after many decades, I realize that how beautiful it all was, my first meeting with her - love at first sight, an affair which has continued through out my life. But for the village, it was one of those happenings that keeps villagers around the night fires going on with stories, till morning. Even today, when the elders of the village meet me, they never fail to remind me of the morning when I was found near the well, sleeping in mud and water, oblivious of anything around me. Many of them still remember my ma praying to Goddess Durga in our temple the whole day and my grandfather's big feast organized with a long prayer ritual, to ward off the evil, that took me to the well that night. Now after decades, village folks have made bigger stories around that morning and how I was saved that day by our temple Goddess by fighting the big witch who was carrying me away. Many even swear to have heard the clash of swords and lightening strike, and swear that by the time they could come out of their mud houses, they saw the witch that was running away after throwing me near the well.
Some times, Yogini Vashudha, your questions also become an experience of long time back, in my memory. And I, just like those simple villagers, make bigger stories around that small seeds. Some times, Vashudha, I also think of the seed, implanted in my clam like memory and unconsciously put layers upon layer of my yearning, passion and longing before bringing it out in the open to my own solitary self – the loneliness along with the beauty of the pearl.

… To be continued

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