The Journey…

Written by : Abhisek Pattnaik
Pic Courtesy : http://www.aconsciousrethink.com

I had almost trekked for 6 hours on an uncharted path by now. And it reached to a meadow after a climb of some steep and some not so steep slopes. I was quite exhausted by now. I could see a big tree, the only standing tree by the end of it. I thought I’d reach this tree before bringing the ceremonial end to my summit. Uncharacteristic to the topography, it was huge with its branches extending to all directions more than its height and its broad leaves giving me an impression of a banyan tree. But it looked different; certainly it felt different. Without giving much thought to it anymore, I decided to take some rest under its welcoming shade. The lush green grass, the cool wind and the enthralling view from the top made me do something wild, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. I undressed myself and left everything behind before entering the abode of its shade and lied down on the grass stark naked.
“Never had I felt more free. Never had I been this comfortable before.”
I woke up from my short nap to find Brownie sitting in front, facing me. Seeing me wake up, she wiggled her nose, before taking her short steps forward.
My breathing fastened as the idea of finding her again after so many years was too much for me to cope with. Tears of joy started rolling from my eyes as I forwarded my index finger close to her nose. She paused a bit sniffing my hand before jumping in joy in all possible directions…

“Tick Tick” I called her to come close. And she came and sat next to me as I started scratching her in between her ears. She was always very fond of it and continues to be so as she closed her eyes as I did that.
Suddenly I got reminded of her departure from this world…
I closed my eyes to stop this thought.

But guess, it was too late by now.
And She was gone.

I started climbing down the mountain and somewhere in between in search for answers, I found a cave next to a spring. I drank some water from it and dared to enter it. A yogi sat in his yogic posture at the far end of the cave. I slowly but steadily approached him. He opened his eyes and he smiled at me as if he had measured and judged all my questions in that split second. I simply went close to him and sat there. We didn’t exchange any words nor it was meant to be exchanged. He brought his index finger forward towards my forehead as I closed my eyes.

“Silence finds it’s meaning only amidst the chaos. Sanity comes because we have all been insane before…
You saw there what you wished for…
Nothing was ever taken from you, nothing can ever be taken from you.”

Addendum:

… Brownie! ❤️

A chapter from the lands of Fosterganj.

Written by : Abhisek Pattnaik
Pic Courtesy : Unsplash.com

Mr Shyamalan came back from office at around seven in the evening; a tad later than his usual. In his late forties, he was quite famous in Fosterganj for his condescending demeanor. Though he carried his own stereotypes, he liked to showcase the world that he is a rational person. 
“Only a fool craves to be caged in the system of marriage” is what he used to proudly announce, having lost any hope for a possibility of marriage. So his house, the last building in the main lane of  Fosterganj, was left to the care of Ramu, Mr Shyamalan’s help. Ramu took care of anything and everything that Mr Shyamalan or his house demanded.
The evening hours on this particular day passed by like usual and Ramu left the house after leaving Mr Shyamalan a jug of water next to his bed post his dinner. Mr Shyamalan settled down in his bed and tuned into Vividh Bharati station in his age old Radio that he had received in ancestral property along with the house. In the times of modernity, you can say that Mr Shyamalan’s house was a world of its own that still resembled the old days of simple things. In fact the only new thing that he had bought for the house was the Air Conditioner for his bedroom the previous winter as last summer in Fosterganj was unbearable, even for Mr Shyamalan.
“Thud”.
Mr shyamalan was woken up suddenly by the sound of something falling all of a sudden as he was about to fall asleep. He thought he heard it coming from the living room. But finding everything at their own places neatly, he came to his bed surprised.
“Maybe it was a dream.”
And as he was about to settle down again in his bed, he heard something moving in the bushes next to his window. Being the last building in the lane, the plots next to his window were mostly left unattended and it looked like a mini forest with its wild creepers and bushes. Mr Shyamaln never used to sleep with his window open. He sensed something was wrong. He opened the window gathering some courage. Switching on the flashlight, he tried to inspect the bushes that his old eyes allowed him. The sound of crickets was filling up the air.
” Strange”, he thought as a sense of fear crawled in his head. He got reminded of the gossip in the market, of Mr Mehta seeing a ghost a couple of days ago. He closed the window as fast as he could. His show of rationality left him instantly in the face of something unfamiliar as the air felt colder all of a sudden. He hurried back to his bed and sat there under his quilt with wide open eyes for some time.
“Plop”. His heightened senses made this sound appear as something sudden, which was loud enough to break his trance as his body started to shiver. He gathered the last ounce of courage to check his bathroom.
Nothing there as well, as the taps were tightly closed and the floor was dry. He came back to his bed.
“Plop, plop”.
It seized his body with a sudden horror; his skin hair started bristling out of fear. He felt heavy as if he had lost control of the motor functions of his body. He sat still in his bed frightened to the core as he could hear his own heart beats even amidst the noisy crickets.
“Thud”.
The sound of it was not as loud as it appeared to Mr Shyamalan. The shock of a sudden sound was severe enough to push his heart pumping to the roof. Suddenly he was no more an atheist, as he started fervently praying every God he could possibly remember.
Maybe his prayers were answered as nothing unusual happened for sometime allowing him to fall asleep.
Ramu came the following morning at his usual timing.
“Oh, the rats. I have to do something about them”, he murmured seeing Saheb’s book lying on the floor in the living room.
He came to wake Mr Shyamalan with his morning tea. Mr Shyamalan sat a bit puzzled in his bed as the whole incident from the night before felt like a dream. As he was about to sip from his cup he heard,
“Plop… Plop…”
The daylight and the presence of Ramu in the house gave him enough courage to open the window again. He looked around.
“Plop…”
He looked up as the water drop gathered again at the AC outlet to fall. Sighing a long breath of relief, he was back in his characteristic condescending mode. Grandly he walked back to his bed and started sipping his tea.
Saheb…”
Mr Shyamalan looked up to find Ramu standing at the door.
“What is it?”
Saheb, I need some money.”
“What for”, Mr Shyamalan raised his eyebrows looking in Ramu’s direction.
“I had wished upon giving two coconuts at Jagmata temple if my son’s health improved…”
Mr Shyamalan cut Ramu in between.
“Ramu… how many times do I have to tell you! Gods and ghosts exist only in your head.”

The end

Photographs

My mother(in the left) along with my maasi(Aunt).
Written by : Abhisek Pattnaik

I just love visiting my mother’s old photo album pictures whenever I pay her a visit. It always brings me a smile, when she animatedly shares her little stories of what she and the ones in the picture were doing, while taking those pictures; vividly and more importantly, fondly remembering her good old days.
Photographs: the rectangular pieces of paper, holding time frozen in it for individuals, with each of them having their own little stories to share. It continues to amaze me how such a simple piece of paper can have such profound powers.
They don’t use film-pictures cameras anymore. Do they? When I come across my old pictures in any of the social media sites, I don’t remember any story like my mother. All I see is the number of likes it has. Somehow we managed to find ways to compete with others even for a simple noble thing as a photograph, just for the sake of competition. (Competing for the sake of competition.)
This makes me wonder, if disruptive innovations are actually good for us or not? Haven’t we become blind in the race already? Change after change: happening so fast that we hardly sit back and appreciate what we already have. Do we actually need so many things around us, with many of them lying unused and disused for years?
I remember as a kid, I used to love plucking flowers in the morning, collecting them in a basket for morning prayers.
I remember walking barefoot over the dew dropped grass lawns.
I remember swimming with bare trunks in the river; sometimes scared of what now is popular as ‘fish pedicure’.
I remember the cycling sessions through the foot roads under the sun, when the sun was busy playing hide and seek over the coconut trees.
I don’t remember the TV but the act of watching it together with all my extended family.
But, growing up, somewhere and somehow I lost touch with it. I lost touch with the things that actually gave me happiness once upon a time.
When did you last stop and lovingly touched the things lying around you: as a simple token of appreciation, for them being there? Maybe that treadmill that stands tall in the garage. Or that juicer which lies still wrapped in the kitchen. Or that laptop that you use daily.

I ponder if it’s not too late already. I ponder how the story would be, if I simply take photographs of all these things around me; adding up my very own stories to them, building up my very own castle of good memories.

Addendum : She was 18 in this picture and was tricked into taking this by my Nana(Maternal grandfather), so that it can be shared with the family of suitable grooms.That explains the gloomy face.

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