Saturday, December 11, 2010

Inspirations and Heroes --

Bob Dylan- You hear "Rock n roll". This man pioneered it. Period! It's blow'in the wind, my friend.

Jim Morrison- A poet, a philosopher, a rebel, an anti-establishment. Widely misunderstood. That is precisly why someone has said aptly," being misunderstood is the fate of most genuises." Jim never wanted fame & recognition. In fact he ran into death trying to elude both..

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peasants Barn --

The lorry driver was friendly as people over here usually are. Hitchhiking is indeed adventurous & this was my first. I told him to drop me over a bridge from where I took a detour towards the village. The place was somewhere near Pahalgam: 8 km’s to be precise. The paddy was ripe; murkish yellow in color. As I walked over the fields people were retreating back to their homes. The start of fall means predicate times for peasants. I was greeted with pleasantries all along my way. The wafting ambience from the fields spoke non-chantly to me. Suddenly tall lean poplar trees seemed to tell a tale about the village I was about to enter. Birds over the birches & in the vast skies were singing all along. Light was starting to loose its sheen. Beetles were making their popping clutter, I could see cute little havens of peasants: vegetable gardens laden with fresh purple auburgines, red chilles, spinanch, lettuce and broccoli. By the corner of my right eye I noticed a peasants barn overlooking the fields. I had found my place for the night. The owner of the barn was young, so was his wife. He gladly invited me to stay with them. I pitched my tent near the barn. From here I could see some peasant huts over my right. Smoke from the chimneys suggested that dinner was being prepared.Villagers over here eat well. Men work hard during the day with women helping them sometimes. Household chores are though mostly done by women.

Life there was quite simple unlike in the cities. The cold September evening being poignantly calm. I looked for hay that could be my fire. Hay catches fire fast so I added some twigs & brooks easy to find them in this season. Moon was gleaming bright. I could see some wandering clouds too, the one's that glow on a perfect moonlit night. Wind was blowing through the trees like a restless sea. These are the moments in life I cherish the most. City life has never appealed to me. In retrospect I intend to retire at a similar village. Have my farm, a library that can keep my mind working & a loving wife who looks after me when I'm old enough.

Meanwhile I heard the peasant calling his wife to serve dinner. She looked from the disjointed & rickety window. Zoon was her name. Beautiful robes that she had put on dazzled in the moonlight. A radiant smile that didn't give a clue about her hard life. She had no complaints from her life: her face said so.
The peasant ( Gul Mohammad) was stark & strong. He invited me to have dinner with them. I riantly and immediately agreed, from hunger as well as curiosity.

Dinner was already laid on the plates as we entered the hallway. The kitchen was nice & clean. I could see a samavor ( copper and bronze kettle used to keep tea warm with the burning coal at bottom). After a sumptuous meal I was served khewa from the same samovar.T he local green tea prepared over cinnamon ,apparently good for digestion. I had heard from my mother that my maternal grandfather used to cherish a khewa cup after dinner. I now knew why. Zooni got busy again with household chores. Me & Gul Mohammad went out for a walk. It was dark & we couldn't see much. Yet we kept on walking through the narrow alleys of the village. Moonlight being our source for finding our way. The village surprisingly wasn't quiet. People were talking in groups squatted up on closed shops. Children were playing running twigs over leftover cycle tyres. Women were talking to each other peeping their scarf laden heads from the windows. Life seemed to be sullen & mundane, yet refreshing in many ways. No mad rush for tomorrows important meeting. No late night video chats. No late hour boring parties where all what people do is ogle at wife’s of other men sighing or sing old hindi songs trying hard to act romantic. No blackberries & apple iPads. Here communication was still humane: mercifully! Just what I prefer.

 It was around 11 when we reached back. I made my bed of hay & laid my sleeping bag over it. There is this great satisfaction in making your own bed & laying on it. I unzipped my tent.I wanted the mild cold wind to caress me & I did what I love doing the most: Staring at the star stuck sky. I don’t know for how long I went on like this. I must have slept with some lovely thoughts.

The next thing I remember was a prayer call at the stroke of dawn which came from a nearby mosque. Birds were singing, morning air was acting like a muse, trees were greener, ground was wet with daisy dew. Villagers came out in numbers to offer prayers. People over here are very religious as I found out. They hold their religion very close to their hearts. Perhaps one more reason for their content living ways. As I said earlier Autumn( Harud) is harvesting time for the peasants. So days begin early just after morning prayers. I came out of my warm sleeping bag & ascertained if Gul Mohammad was around. Zooni came out of the kitchen looking prettier, which made me think if water here has such effects. She told me Gul Mohammad had gone for prayers. The coal in the samavor was red as I could see through. A morning cup of khewa would have been a perfect start to the day. Zooni handed over me a cup without even asking me. Perhaps she could see through my wishful eyes. To be continued