Vangani Vagabonds

Game plan:
The plan was being formed over the past week like a brewing cauldron over the fire. Until the three chefs decided to unite over the weekend and make it boil over into a sumptuous experience. Although everyone was invited, it was the names of just these three wanderers that was written on the greens of Vangani, the starting point of the Sahyadris.
Here is how it started, Kunal and Raj MSNed me about a weekend plan to Matheran, which i topped with a proposition for a nice walk from Neral to Matheran rather than taking a cab or a train, where we could catch some scenic natural beauty and waterfalls where we could bathe in aqua pura before the mineral water companies could bottle it at the downstream(hehe and you thought that bottled water was untouched and contained only pesticides).
Destination Declared:
With the idea of trek being readily accepted, i was quick to present an alternate destination which is ideal for a one day tread, wherein we could keep the sunday to ourself and probably go for an oil massage if we found the slopes too tiring. I suggested Vangani, which is almost unexplored and has maiden natural beauty with very less footfalls. On clearer seasons Vangani is a star gazer’s dream destination, since its skies give clear details of the visible cosmos, undisturbed by the glare of the bright city lights.
The risk however was that i had forgotten the trail to the waterfall where i had been about six years back with my sister’s group and i had seen this place as absolutely rural. Nevertheless the three of us were willing to make this an exploratory trip with a promise to come back with a larger group after understanding the trails of this place.
Raj and i agreed to meet-up at 6 AM at Dadar station from where we would board a Karjat local. Kunal was scheduled to board the train at Thane.
The D-Day:
The dawn of Saturday gave me a shocking realization.. i had fallen asleep, the last night, trying to set the alarm in my cell phone only to be awakened by my buzzing body clock which woke me half hour late from schedule. I immediately messaged Raj. Quickly had my bath, stuffed things into my backpack and set off while trying to reach Raj on his cell. The cell was ringing and unanswered. It happened that Raj and i are such great friends that we got simultaneously late by about half hour and he was answering another “call” when he missed mine over his cell. He called me immediately after the other “call” relieved him and we met at Ghatkopar Station.
We were all set on a Karjat Fast. Kunal played kho-kho in the train from Thane and took two stations to get to the compartment Raj and i were in. During the journey over a packet of Lays we caught up with many things in our personal and professional life. I was getting tensed since till Badlapur the beautiful rural landscapes were far from visible. Finally the scene changed as though someone right clicked and changed the wallpaper theme from Urban Chaotica to Rural Exotica. The clouds over the skies grew darker and yes!!! it began to drizzle even before we could sing “Allah paani de”.
As we disembarked from the almost hour long train sojourn, we could see the inviting hills at a distance which looked enticing wearing veils of grey cloudy chiffon covering their high held faces, like a beautiful damsels looking at strangers who have just come to her heavenly home.
Start with Wadi Paav byte (this ain’t a typo)
When we came out of the station towards a direction shown by the newspaper vendor, we were invited by a couple of autorickshaw drivers asking “Dab-dabba? Dab-dabba?” (waterfall?). We were determined to walk down to the place which took us about half hour. All of us were famished since we had not troubled our Moms/wives/girlfriends for an early breakfast (i did not even try.. hehe. Mom was upset and had an argument with me the previous night, since i was going slightly away from her caring protection to an unknown place with known mischevious colleagues. But sweetheart Mom packed a full pack of chaklis and wafers and served me a very early tea).
As our stomachs started gurgling with hunger, we found a tiny stall with a man wearing a glove of besan (chickpea flour) paste, frying mashed potatoes coated with the same which was served pattied between . Hold on this ain’t no continental dish, its our very own Batata Wada!! When we ordered for three we noticed that it was a winzipped, microminiaturized version of a Wada Pav. The vendor coyishly pointed to a school behind and said that the size was customized for the children there. Thats how we enjoyed our Wadi (not wada) Pau and strolled further.
A couple of directions from courteous villagers proved useful and soon we could see three waterfalls hidden in the greens of the hillock. We had a great bath there with the force of water pounding us to give a soothing massage. Raj almost got a Love bite from a native ( read crab in water). We climbed to the crest of the waterfall and lied down on the rocks over which there was a stream-lined flow of water. The sound of flowing water tickled our ears.
I had heard of a place called Nakhind which is supposed to be the starting of Sahyadris and western ghats. Surprisingly the locals did not know much of that place, however they showed us the way towards the hills where they knew that a tribal village existed. The hills looked pretty lonesome. The tar road came to an abrupt end and the trail started off into the paddy fields. At a distance we could see a waterfall which was much larger than where we bathed, much more hostile and unapproachable. The water from that was stopped and held by a manmade reservoir for irrigation. The flowing water was very clear. A farmer showed us the way going up the hill which was shrouded by wild shrubs and snakepits.
The trail started getting steeper and slippery, with Raj mastering the fine-art of mud-slipping on the way. Our heartbeats were as loud as the loudest sound there which came from the waterfall about a kilometer away. We had our own doubts about that place till we spotted footprints in the mud and an emptied biscuit wrapper that read “TIGER” in the middle of the jungle trail. Soon we could see the waterfall below us, and the reservoir dam was reduced to a tiny rectangle.
Spirits of the slopes (here is where the mystery starts)
Few paces ahead we saw a man dressed in white shirt and three boys. All of them carried sticks. The faint look on the man’s face reminded me of stories of mysterious spirit wanderers of the forest, who sometimes serve as guardians and waypointers. However sometimes they are tempted to take other wanderers to their mysterious abodes and make them a part of their league.
We asked him what was lying ahead on the path “A village of tribals” he replied. We asked him from where they had come “Yaheen neeche se” ( from down there) he said pointing towards the way down. I asked “Vangani gaon?” . He nodded. My attention drew towards the far off peaks with a flat profile. The man said that those were natural caves, the trails to there were not as friendly as the foot-trail that we were treading, but we could easily scale it.
“We are going towards the same place and you may join us if you want… dont worry its an easy climb and I have also wandered on the ridge of the hill all over the place.. join us”. I could not take my eyes off the peaks and the caves till Raj said that we couldn’t since he had a cricket match the next day and wanted to play it (a)LIVE!
Village in the Clouds
After a forty five minute climb, with the other wanderers still around, we were pleased to hear chuckles in the approaching plateau which were soon claimed by their cute faces that came in sight. A whole set of energetic kids dotted a beautiful paddy terrace on top of the hill. It was one of the most beautiful villages i have ever seen, beyond my dreams. We followed the wanderers beyond the village and then watched them negotiate the slopes further till they disappeared and became one with the woods. Few seconds later we could see the man still inviting us, far away on the hill waving his staff at us. His voice could be heard clearly, We waved back and they were gone for good, perhaps to their abode without their guests.
We returned back to the village where the children were still shouting and waving at us. With permission from their parents i called them all for a photo session. Their scanty clothes and undernoursihment touched us deep, despite which they were full of happiness and content unlike the cry babies in the city. After the photos, i gave the eldest child a packet of wafers and watched them all smile. I told them to share it without fighting. I was deeply moved to see the kids line up in a disciplined fashion in front of their elder who would distribute the packet amongst them. The kids saw us till the beginning of the return path with their waving hands and chuckles, which soon merged with that of the waterfall. The descent was faster and soon we found ourselves waiting to get ourselves to the nearest source for lunch.
The walk in the clouds at the station unexplored proved to be very fulfilling to our senses and spirits. We resolved to visit the place again and move further towards the caves. As we returned, the sky cleared a bit and i could see another peak named Chanderi, which takes a two day trek to explore.
We reached the Station where Raj played music on his cell phone that sounded as loud as the announcement speaker. The crowd there was entertained for the next half hour when we waited for the Karjat-VT up Local. My gaze was still fixed at the far off peak till a girl on the platform was flattered thinking that i was watching her. Before she could pick up the wrong sign, I plugged my music player to my ears and waited for the red and yellow worm that turned into a train as it drew close to the station and took us home in its belly.
Hope another day at Vangani Returns soon with more friends sharing the privilege.
Nagesh Pai

The Unforgiving Boss

At the Head office
Braving the heat, humidity, dust and grime of a typical midsummer Mumbai, I was relieved to enter the cool air-conditioned fortress “Om Sagar”, which served as the Head office to my ex-company. Quick as breeze, with a “daakiya daak laya rhythm” I flew across many cubicles of my colleagues who formed a Mexican wave of greets as I passed their dens. Quite a warm welcome that a sales person gets when he comes on a not so frequent visit to the head office, far away from the party time (noise to few) of the city sales office.

I was glad to see all of them like a child sliding his fingers over all the whites in a piano octave, like the green coconut palms waving past me in a train taking me to my long separated hometown, like the standing paddy turf bowing to gusts of pollinating breeze gently caressing them.

As I was swinging past with joy, I came across the cubicle of my friend who was a senior correspondent of one of the reputed publications of the company. His reportage was well regarded as a genuine source by lot many faithful readers of the magazine and of course by the highly placed marketing managers of leading IT companies regarding whose coverage in the magazine was very much sought after. As a good friend he used to provide me with tips from the industry which I used for generating sales. His reference was highly effective in breaking ice with new and otherwise unapproachable clients.

This time around the cheerful expression of his face was evicted by a gloomy frown with a tinge of frustration. He asked me “ Nagesh, can you spare a minute? Lets go to the café. Have something confidential to share”. “Sure” I replied hoping that it nothing more serious than the hot summer that kept him disturbed.

“I have decided to quit the company” began my colleague stating it upfront and bold. “Have you got a better offer elsewhere?” I asked with glee.. “No Nagesh, I am starting something on my own and wish to ask whether you want to be a part of it” He further explained what he was intending to do. I appreciated his enterprising decision but regretted my participation stating that I still had to gain experience and it was too early in my career to take such a bold step.. I was playing safe but after due calculations. He ended by saying..

”I am tired of working under someone. Its high time I do something on my own and earn for myself rather than generate profit for others” .

The last statement due to some reason started playing in my head again and again like a needle-stuck-gramaphone. While it was an enterprising move that my friend was trying to make, was he doing it out of passion or out of sheer frustration? Well maybe a fine combination of both.. But would he succeed or land up from the frying pan straight to the voracious flames? I wished him good luck and proceeded back to my paths with the extra luggage of my friends last statement…
“I am tired of working under someone”

I had known the editor, his boss to be a nice man, was he being a tyrant? Nah .. couldn’t be. Maybe saturation in his career and its worries had caught him imprisoned. The kit-baggage with these questions in my mind was waiting to be answered on another occasion which wasn’t far off.

Day with Anand (Answers)

It was another day o’ dust, sweat and grime minus the central AC of Om Sagar or my cozy cubicle at the Sales office. I was out on the punishing Andheri-kurla road where pedestrians, stray animals ( wild as well as tamed, some of them on wheels) and vehicles fight for their square feet share of the cratered tar + concrete, to jiggle and if possible wriggle their way through, while still remembering their destination by the time they take their next step into chaos.

Finally after overcoming every hurdle on the road and getting a thorough inhalation of vehicular exhaust, I reached Anand’s office. Anand and his brother Gurpreet managed one of Mumbai’s largest Web-hosting business and were faithful advertisers in my company’s magazine from its day one issue. After cooling down with a glass of water with a cup of tea waiting to cool (Anand never lets his visitors go without serving them tea), our discussions started and led to me asking for more than usual business for a special issue which was due in the coming months. Anand was a good negotiator and startled me saying that he may not be present in the next issue which meant it would be his first break in 3 years!!! He then allowed me to release my witheld breath by saying that he will not be able to spend high for the next month, although he will be present in his usual quarter page advertisement.

In his self-made stature he remarked

“Nagesh, I may be having a great rapport with you, but my boss will not allow me to spend even a penny more”.

I had known Anand as the proprietor of the company, now who was he reporting to off late?? How could he entrust his entire self made and established business to someone so easily?? Before I could think of disguising my question and ask him.. He read the query in my expression and said “You must be wondering who my boss is? Relax, I still own this business but I am Self-Employed.. I am employed… by whom?? Well you will be scared if I even tell you about what a tyrant he is.”

Anand continued ” Nagesh, you work for a nice company where if you dont meet your targets they dont ask for your head. Well my boss doesnt take any prisoners, He is the most ruthless superior you may ever see in your worst nightmares. Whenever my decisions lead to the right results i get rewarded. But when I fail, I dont get cajoled but I get the lashes straight till I bleed”

Anand’s words kept me hooked as he disclosed
” My boss is My Business”
” People may think that i dont have anyone to report to. But like I said, My business is an absolutely unforgiving boss who never keeps accounts to be settled for later. Whenever I take the right path and succeed, He rewards me with profits a large part of which I feed him back. But sometimes even with genuine intentions if things go wrong and give unfavorable results, he punishes me with the worst ever punishment.. losses, some of which takes long enough to recover and endangers your sustenance. But despite all of this I have to report to him and Hence I am sorry Nagesh I cant spend more with you at this time when I am at a greater chance of being punished”.
I smiled back at him with a genuine smile which may have perhaps raised surprise in his head, since salesmen can’t don a genuine smile when refused. But what i had gotten from him was a big principle of business which perhaps no B School would teach me.

Flash-back Om Sagar.. I was wondering if my correspondent friend would quit the current job because he did not want to report to anyone, whether he would be able to cope up with the Ruthlessness of a new boss – Mr. My-own-Business. The only quality that would drive anyone to the brighter side of this boss was sheer passion, which was at its highest levels in Anand, which I prayed that my correspondent friend should have.

Passion for your goal is the only language that can help him negotiate with “the unforgiving boss”. Pursuit of passion would surely see him shining in his new venture. But an act driven by escapism would surely land him in the boiling cauldrons of his unforgiving Boss – would -be.

Hats off to Anand who answered my predicament and gave me a lesson for lifetime. Sincere Prayers for my correspondent friend for his endeavors! And a big thanks to you for reading such a long blog 🙂


Announcement – Monsoon Trek

Agenda: Weekend walk in the woods

Day: Saturday and/or Sunday 9th and 10th July

Places under consideration: Vangani (Karjat route) or Neral – Matheran

Pirates on board till now: Kunal, Raj and Nagesh

About Vangani:

Vangani is known to be a trekker and a stargazer’s paradise which leads to the starting ridges of the Sahyadris. I had been there long back for a one day trek to a nearby waterfall there. it was a good one hour walk from the station, but it was an easy one day trek.

There are two good places i have seen on the net which can approached from Vangani – Nakhind and Chander. Great maiden trekking treads to explore here which has not yet been vandalized by many footfalls. But the route will need to be understood from the villagers there.

In any case we must be prepared for an overnight in the rare occssion of things getting late. The woods can captivate you like the worlds best illusionist.

Option 2: Neral to matheran:

An offroad route from Neral to matheran will be nice and green during this time of the year. During my scouts hike in school, I recollect seeing the entire trail till Jumapatti station lined up with waterfalls.

This is a more known route, although we dont have a detailed road map, but it is well within civilization. Not sure whether this could be made into a one day trip.

Venturing into the unknown is the best adventure specially when we know that its not ferocious. Would be great if you can add your comments to this blog by clicking on the comments link below.

In both cases we will need to take the first train to Karjat

Add your inputs since we need to freeze on this soon. As of now Kunal Raj and i are sure to tread come what may.


Triple traits of a Woman

The Three Traits of a Woman – Uncle Gokhale speaks again

July 1998, Pen, Maharashtra

Arrival at Pen:

If you have read my last blog you would be conviced as to why i am in love with this place. The monsoon of 98 with a great training at IPCL Nagothane, and a great place to retreat after a long day at the plant, made those 10 days memorable. Apart from the occassion, what made the experience unforgettable was the magic of Pen – the house where we stayed and its owner Uncle Gokhale, who was the dad of my father’s colleague. Many more trinklets and glistens formed the fine brocade of this magical place. It was also a different experience for a pampered and protected kid like me to stay away from the luxuries of a well provided, “automated” home.

Mounted on a rumbling n’ wobbling four wheel box o’ jagged tin ( God knows whether the fifth wheel existed in the drivers hands), which is locally called Maharashtra ST bus, we chug-chugged from Mumbai. After getting down we carefully followed the detailed directions noted by my dad and found ourselves far away from the bustling Goa highway into the quiet enclosure of old Pen where the trumpets of the great marathas can still be heard looking at some of the old “Waadas” and the old Shiva temple up the hillock.

Gokhale Uncle

We were welcomed by our elderly host, Mr. Gokhale, who assured us that his home was a peaceful and comfortable place to stay. We felt quite protected in his octogenerian company, despite feeling slightly insecure about the heavy rain falling on the age old mangalore tiled roof. He helped us quickly unwind. He told us that there had been few students of a nearby engineering college, who stayed as paying guest with him for a long time except for one who got bogged by drinking habit and had apparently put up some obscene posters in his rented room.

I could see Mr. Gokhale getting more talkative with growing enthusiasm which was a direct reflection of how lonely he had been staying all by himself long after the last paying guest had left him…. long after his wife passed away… long after he retired from the film editing lab where he glared at every frame of movie with his expert eyes, much before the burning light of the arclamps projected its image on an awaiting white screen. As he started talking more and more we could see the experiences he had been through and the many cycles of various seasons, some changing as per the nature’s pattern and the others rather uncertain.

Uncle Gokhale pointed to the inner room and said ” tum log yaahaan pe soneka.. chadar chatayi rakha hua hai.. laga ke so janeka Bhe**hod”. The last word came naturally with an absolutely smooth allignment with the rest of the sentence. Kaushal my colleague who was a non-swearer till that point in life, wondered why uncle used a gaali for no mistake done!!! I was reminded of my Dad’s description of few elders who use abuses like Ashtottara, which is a set of endearing names to God almighty.. I could feel the same music in his abuse, except that Kaushal took time to appreciate Hard rock music, which was clear from his question “Uncle ne humlog ko gaali kyon diya”.

For the next two days Kaushal and mine sentences to each other ended with that word, while trying to imitate the smoothness in uncle’s tone.. we could not :-). Saints as we were at that time when we never used any abuse, it was quite a try when no one else was hearing.

After our dinner, uncle said that there were many boys who stayed there but he never allowed a single girl to stay there.. I thought that with a small house as that it would be an obvious reason not to allow a girl to stay there. But before i could freeze my apprehensions, Mr. Gokhale vented out saying:

” Ek chatt ke neeche hazaar ladke reh sakte hain … lekin do ladkiyaan kabhi nahin.. Kyonkin aurat ka teen gun hota hain” (teen and gun are hindi words not to be pronounced as in english, but what uncle meant was a more lethal weapon than a gun in english) .

I did not wonder too much as to why he was being so unfair to womankind because i myself was a MCP those days, much more than what i am today. Overcome with sleep after a sumptuous dinner and an equally filling long talk, I nodded at that statement thinking that it was one of the dialogues of his film and retired to bed in total darkness of not just the night, but in the darkness of my ignorance about where uncle Gokhale came from when he made that statement.

Next morning he spoke about his sons and their family, about the arrogance of his daughter-in-laws. One of whom had a love marriage with his younger son who was not even having a firm employment then. His older son’s wife was arrogant and quite believed in staying separately. It was apparent by now that Uncle had seen the worst of women in them who were the reasons for him to stay away.. far away from urban civilizations in his own world where he experimented with herbs and ayurveda, where he carefully stored his collection of old film posters of those for which he did the editing, where he lived with the fond memories of his passionate and hard struggled past. He once again ended up saying “Aurat ka teen gun hota hain“.. this time my eye brows went higher, the way it does when you see a catchy advertisement for the second time delving deeper into what it is trying to convey.

I heard this sentence a couple of more times before i finally blew the whistle asking “Uncle yeh teen gun hain kya??”. He burst out laughing and asked “Tereko aurat ke teen gun nahin maloom? Kaisa aadmi hain tu bhi?” I told him that i honestly did not know about it. He then then repeated the phrase like a mantra.
Aurat ka teen Gun hota hain

Ater a pause he repeated and continued ” Yeh teen gun ke wajah se saadaran si aurat Indira Gandhi ban jaati hai.. yeh teen gun se …..sirf yeh teen gun se woh apna raj chalati hai is duniya pe”

“Sabse Pehla gun: Shringaar” A lady expresses Shringaar through her beauty, through the way she carries herself, the way she decorates herself and makes her presence felt aloud. She grabs attention and then she robs unsuspecting sights and hearts…. she conquers. The charm of beautiful women like Madhubala was still present in the fading posters from uncle’s collection of those movies he edited. Cleopatra unlike the hype was not known to be a particularly good looking woman, she had some odd features. What made her alluring was her sense of Shringaar. People go out of the way and ways fall apart when the lady in red calls for her shots, no matter however “strong hearted” a man may be. The way a woman carries herself can get her big tasks done by others without throwing her weight. I must confess here that i have been an unsuspecting victim to this weapon too and many among ye readers after raising your eyebrows will recollect a time when you have been vulnerable (men) or when you have used this deadly weapon (women) :-)…. She dresses to kill and she rules.

“Doosra gun: Rodan” . I recollected Munshi Premchand’s words which may be translated as “A woman’s tears is the highest calorific fuel to keep masculine anger at its highest temperature”. The toughest masculine carborandum-hearts have melted like butter on a frying pan at the first trickle of a feminine tear droplet. Tears may arrive as an indication of deep pain but have the immense capacity to mobilize action.

“Teesra Gun: Matsarya” .. Before uncle could tell me more about jealousy, i was reminded of the famous story of Goddess Parvati being jealous of her sister River Goddess Ganges residing in her husband, Lord Shiva’s hair locks. She devised a fine conspiracy after that to ensure that Ganges was sent back to earth. However her Jealosy served a higher purpose of relieving the thirsts and sins of thousands of seekers in the downstream of Ganges. But I stood bewildered at the amount of action and change that Jealosy can drive.
Its amazing that these three forces are neatly concealed since they appear as signs of weakness or as means of getting attention. It is these notions that makes these forces unbeatable.

Mr. Gokhale’s story was an eye-opener which showed clearly that men and women are not created equal, as women are more equipped with these three forces. As a matter of fact every woman is well armed to use these three forces for either rocking the cradle or ruling the world.

…. “yehi teen gunon se woh apna hukum chalati hai…. aur saadi si ladki Indira Gandhi ban Jaati hai”

The Little Green Woman

The Little Green Woman from Innerspace

The monsoon of 1998 saw me excited upon a spectacular journey, a nice getaway that every tormented prisoner of Chaos City longs for. Thanks to my close college-mate, Sridhar, Kaushal and I got a berth for an exciting offsite training at the IPCL plant at a distant place, Nagothane. The three of us were quite a group

Accomodation at Pen:

While Sridhar had a direct bus from his outskirts residence leading to the plant location, Kaushal and I had to stay at a nearby town called “Pen” ( n pronounced with the stronger syllable), which is famous for its plaster sculptors who supply the whole world with plaster statues of Lord Ganesh. Thanks to my father’s colleague, we got ourselves an accomodation in the innermost precincts of Pen, which was a stronghold of Maratha warriors of yore, whose presence could still be felt through the family temples and the large residences named “Waadas” prefixed with the family names (eg. Daataarwaada). The Waadas and the fragrance of the place were frozen in time ever since the last Maratha warrior raised his war cry, save the falling plaster and structural deterioration of the buildings, inspite of which the structures stood tall and sturdy.

The clouds and the left-overs of the sunshine that it spared through, ensured that the grays matched with that of the old town.

When we asked for the residence of Mr. Gokhale, our host, we were pointed to an old, ramshackle tumbledowned home. It was made of mud with a roof of burnt-red Mangalore tiles. The central portion of the structure had already given way, succumbimg to the forces of nature and neglect. We came to know later that this demolished part of the house partitioned the two occupant families of the house like a no-man’s land between conflicting countries. The courtyard was a fine red paste of mud, the blend of which told us aloud that the place was well rain-fed. The dripping droplets from the trees above did its bit to keep the dampness of the place alive, despite the strong showers having left the place about an hour back.

Our host was very courteous well in his eighties, and had lots of stories to tell us about ayurveda and the silver screens of yest years where he served as a technical person. The posters of the old movies which he proudly showed with his name in the fineprint, with the innocence of a child showing his high grades, were all faded. But in the glimmer of his faint eyes, the colours of Madhubala’s costumes showed with its full lustre, just like it did on the silver screen on one of the first eastman colour movies that he edited.

After his wife’s demise, Mr. Gokhale stayed all alone by himself in this house but for a companion whom he called “the Laxmi” of the home. I discovered this “Laxmi” later, a small mole rat, when she was having her share of the khichdi that I cooked with chef Kaushal’s directions, thankfully she did that after we were done with our share. She was harmless as Uncle Gokhale had told us, she came uninvited and left at her own will, but paid regular visits. The house was lit by three bulbs, one flickering tubelight and had bare minimum possessions like a primus original kerosene stove and a couple of vessels for cooking and heating bath water. We were about to crib for a fan before the onset of the night that blew a cold breeze with torrential rains over the place. We sought refuge under our blankets.

The Dark Damp Night.

At the end of the first long day Kaushal and I were done with our dinner and so was “Laxmi”. We were also done washing the utensils and the clothes which took over two days and nights to dry in the damp weather. The one’s which dried anyways became wet when we wore it and set off in the windy rains.

The last lamp in the house was finally switched off and Kaushal immediately dropped asleep. While I somehow made it to the bed in the pitch dark, I was lost in the darkness even after settling in the bed. I could feel just my eyelids flickering with not a pixel illuminated on my retina to prove that I still had the ability to see. Goodness!! had i turned blind!!?? or do such dark places actually exist on earth!!?? My eye lids continued to blink with an experience of total blindness less the sixth sense of a blind man.

The next morning, Mr. Gokhale gave us a small surprise and said that he is leaving for Mumbai to collect his pension and the house would remain in our charge. He asked us to religiously light a lamp or an agarbatti in the place near the kitchen where he had the photographs of few Gods and his departed grandmother who had taught him ayurveda. He gave us some medicines to take care of ourselves, and a mysterious powder which was supposed to have the effect of sanjivini.. the elixir of life kind of drug. I later on found that the same medicine had cured my tonsils without operation, long back when Mr. Gokhale’s son had sent me during my troubled days.

The Damp night Returns.. She Came with her torch.

The night repeated with her mysterious darkness, tranquilizing Kaushal almost as fast as the lights went off. Once again I marvelled at the immense darkness of the place till I had the encounter which was waiting few moments ahead.

Just when my eyelids were almost done with their routine flicker and were about to close like the falling curtains of a concluded opera show, they swung wide open to a spectacle! This time they did not flicker…my eyelids were held wide open…. for the entire room was filled with a green haze that was bright enough to light every detail of the room, just like the zero watt bulb of the room in the brown-out low voltage.

For the first few minutes I could not trace the source of the light, until a tiny green lantern came flying across the room and hovered for a brief instant over my head with her full lustre in which i could now see my own nose. She proved to me that i did not turn blind after the lights went out and that my faculties of vision still remained active. I realized that the room and I were haunted, as much as I was enchanted, by this glow-worm who had just graduated to become a firefly. Her tail had the faint green steady light which was unlikely of the bright strobelight flashes of the fully grown firefly. She settled on the wall like the night lamp on duty, while her green glow into sweet slumber.

I was beginning to believe that it was a dream until the next night she returned to redeem me from the blinding darkness of the night, giving me company till I fell asleep, giving me rays of green hope even under the grey clad skies and the burnt mangalore tiled roof.

The night after, she never came, but by then my heart was full of her beauty and lustre and I was pretty much convinced that it was the darkness of the night …. nay not loss of sight which defined the black canvas on which my imagination drew green images.

Nagesh Pai

My first blog

Hello There!

How has your journey in cyberspace been so far? Welcome to Nagzone, the place where you find a good friend in me and get an opportunity to share some of your interests and knowledge with me.

26 years Young, Religiously secular and Secularly religious, net to net, a firm believer in the Supreme who is humble enough to come down to my level and help me shoulder-to shoulder. An engineer plus MBA in qualification, after a fair share of experiments in career today I am content and almost settled in Advertising and Media.

Every breath and heartbeat in life for me constitutes the rhythm of the drum that starts its thumps from the womb and stops at a step short of the tomb. My life is full of music and Music fills my life! Keep visiting my cove here and stay tuned!