Lets start from where we ended. For twenty-seven nights, I was the only one living in a wooden balcony that hung facing the jungle on a whole mountain. The red moon that I saw on the forehead of a mother in the village down, i saw a similar one on my lover. But her eyes were set against the only window the first night. Pink walls. She told me she wants to scream. Now! I said. She smiled. Fire. She kept looking in my eyes and started screaming. I closed my mouth. And opened my eyes. It was winters. It was cold. And you know when it is winters and when it is cold how heavy the rains hit. It confuses the heart.
It was sunny next day. Pluto arrived. Nara, let’s go meet the man who sneezes forty times. He does that once daily. We left our two limping dogs behind. It was a beautiful walk. We reached. We sat outside Daulat Ram’s home in his garden on uncomfortable plastic chairs. An old brown cow whose back had curved in like a hammock, stood between us and the old Vishnu temple. After we all stopped talking, Daulat Ram turned his face and started looking towards the sun. We both waited long time for him to start sneezing forty times but he slept. The moment we heard his first long snore we left and started walking back to where the bus will come at six. While walking down it happened that I realized my hands wanted to touch every passing tree. That feeling to touch trees again and again grew so much that we started making our own road in a quest to touch, our closest relative’s hard skin. In doing so the bus was missed. Or so it looked. A girl kept looking and told us you can still catch it, if you want it! The moment we learnt that we started running so fast on various varieties of mountain stairs that no one could have come closer to whisper but the wind, “swallow the world, swallow the world and fly”.
It was a run of a life time from Bijli Mahadev to four villages down on to the main road. We reached before the bus arrived. That was the last one for the day and in my running breath, in between looking at everyone and not looking i felt sitting the roof up and made this sketch that i finished later.
I remembered the evolution of another poem at another time that i wrote in the jungles once walked by the great Nicholas Roreich, the Russian painter.
As beautiful as a Birdsong, first Travel poem that came out from me.
Naggar became popular in mid 1950s as the home of the legendary Russian painter Nicholas Roerich. He lived here for several years, and died here too. His art gallery attracts a lot of Russian, Italian and french travelers throughout the year. But even though i kept going to Naggar after my first halt It was in 2013, six years later that i happened to visit the gallery.
Over all these years i have many memories when this valley on the left side of Beas made me feel home. Every single time. I have made more friends here than anywhere in my Travels, may be in Kashmir but i have to get to writing Kashmir for you all, soon. But sharing some old times and quiet inspiration that Roerich saab has had upon me and many ones who must have or are planning to visit Naggar.
Singsong – A half cloud like a cotton moon rising from the Devdars, Naggar
In 2018, While solo trekking to Chandrakhani Pass to meet sage Parashuram’s father, Jamdagni Maharaj
I am certain many of us are yearning to walk on the mountains; without masks. But truly we have no idea idea when it may happen again. Whenever it does, and you plan something around these villages, please write to me. Some village homes will be happy to have you as extended family members from my side.