As I made my way through the narrow path, through a valley in between majestic mountains holding their heads high with pride, I felt at peace.
I meandered through the lofty trees and beneath the rocks jutting out at some places. It was just before dawn and everything around me was getting ready for the first rays of the sun. The moon, on spotting the vermillion splash in the east, shyly slid away, making way for another day.
Last night there was a storm and heavy rains and high winds, and with that I was able to cover a lot of grounds, but now the tranquillity around seemed idyllic. I felt no urge to rush, I know I will reach my destiny, but for the moment, let me just soak in the serenity around.
I could see tiny green sprouts pushing their head out of the moist soil, as if sensing the impending liveliness, and getting ready to be part of it.
I could hear occasional chirping of birds, perhaps just alerting others to be ready to rise, or maybe just calling out for one’s mate.
The crickets buzzed now and then, before they hide away till another night fall.
A flock of deer stirred, as if to shake off their slumber, but still wait for the day to break in.
Big, dark silhouettes of wild animals could be seen slinking away to take cover during the day.
The leaves rustled in the breeze, and one could hear the mellifluous sound, as it echoed through the valley, creating rhythms capable of stirring the creative souls of a musician, should one be around. Soon it was blended by the melodies of birds in perfect harmony. I am sure Beethoven, Mozart or Tansen would have cherished such prolific music which seemed to emanate from all corners of the valley.
The first rays of the sun started to find its way through the leaves and everything around me glittered, just like a bridal veil sparkling with gold and silver stars. The fish seemed to find energy from the stillness and safety and swam merrily around, making most of their time before they fall prey.
I could smell the moistness of mother earth, fragrance of the forest flowers as they blossomed in harmony and full glory, scent of the fruits as they ripened and welcoming birds and bees towards them. The coolness of the earth, the hue of bright colourful flowers, the beauty of the flourishing, lush green foliage all around, swaying gently as if appreciating the music and the life around, and as I kept moving, I soaked up the pristine landscape.
My path seemed to be going downhill and my pace increased. Few rocks came up on my way and I steered around or hopped over them. It was just fun … only if my path is as serene and safe all through, till my destiny.
But I have a long way to cover and as Robert Frost had said “miles to go before I sleep.”
There were more rocks on my way now and it became a game for me, sometimes I would race and hop over one and other times I would make my way around it. As I moved along, splashing, gurgling and gushing without a care, I could see the world around me welcoming the day. The chirping of the birds was now a chorus, as if the concert is over, and they are eagerly critiquing the notes and lyrics. The flock of deer began grazing and colourful insects flew around the blooming flowers and blossoming fruits. The wind kept blowing rustling up melodies one after the other and I threw in a note or two.
Lost as I was soaking in the beauty of mother nature, I had not noticed the steep drop and fell about 60 feet, amidst cheering, shouting, shrill laughter, and camera clicks. I looked back to see what might have excited the people, and I saw the fate of all who were following me.
With everyone hurling down the steep drop one over the other, it looked as if the mountains atop have opened up and are pouring a pail of milk over the earth below and its splash creating a drizzle around; or it looked like the long, curly white mane of an old lady as she stood to dry, or as if dreamy white clouds have descended down to the earth.
While the cheering and laughter felt good, I did not like that some people were throwing stones or bottles or anything they could lay their hands on.
Chastened, I did not pause anymore but continued my path. The mind was jarred and the peace I felt minutes ago was shattered. The dream world of mine, the forest, the coolness of the valley, the birds, bees, and animals, were all left behind. But I have miles to go and must not stop.
My path now was tedious, narrow, the rocks around were slimy, and I had to slow down. I had to keep pushing out the plastic bottles, wafer and chocolate covers, cigarette buts, and many such trash out my way, and keep moving. I could no longer smell the earth or fruits or flowers but was surrounded by a stench so strong that it broke my heart.
Yes, I have entered the city, and my path is littered with human debris and froths so large that it became impossible for me to make much progress. I saw human or animal carcasses, unclaimed and without the dignity of last rites. Here and there, thick dark oily industry wastes poured out and changed the colour from pearly blue to murky grey.
I heard the wind, but there was no melody, it was like an agonizing wail. I heard birds and animals but those were not the sound of musical tunes but of angry sneers of upmanship. I wept but I felt so dry.
But I must go on for I have tryst with my destiny and that will not change.
As I am a stream,
I broke off from a glacier high above the mountains,
I meandered through the beauties of the earth,
The mountains, valleys, forests
Full of joyous lives,
But paths are not always filled with joy,
For the world has laid out thorns on our way
Which is augmented by the human race,
But still, I must keep going,
As I have a tryst with my destiny, and as I become one with the river,
I keep flowing to meld with the large cerulean vastness.