A paradise lost - If we can ever regain
Every place has its own distinct story to delineate and here is mine, Nomad’s enriching anecdotes of odyssey, eventually now I comprehend what it entailed to plod stretches, uncharted routes, swathes of land, what a trajectory
O! Nomad, first journey took me to valley, a land where Sharda inhabits, the Amarnath cave, meadows, willows, apple groves essentially spiritual environment implored me to halt
so camped, picketed a tent in foothills called it home were my kindred felt at home and people homely by default.
O Nomad, whether it was freezing cold, frosty days, slippery roads, would walk extra miles in snow and blizzard.
Weather be it harsh would plough snow, bring in wood for fireplace, heal frost bites, warm cold feet, arrange “Charar Kangri, special “pann” charcoal and Pheran fast paced like some wizard “
Uphill we stopped at “Leopard’s Den “cottage in Gulmarg in farmhouse hereafter, Trekked through thick forests, creek with entourage of family, relatives to shrine “Baba Reshi “from Gulmarg to Tangmarg spent couple of nights in Huts in serenity surrounded by spectacular scenery and nourishing fresh cool air
O! Nomad, only prominent memories which are engraved in my mind are of grandma sharing often real story about how they miraculously survived
Wars with meagre potatoes and jaggery but who listened attentively to be precise.
Whilst I besotted tipsy like honeybee on nectar of saffron flower fields, joy of lotus in lakes and in siesta in lap of foothills of Valley, a heaven on earth, gliding swaying like bird to the sky soaring to new heights of paradise.
Whereas I was self-immersed in ecstasy, power packed day doing mundane things hollering temple bells drove me out in dusk dawn accompanying Grandad twice.
thereupon queuing before local bakery, the aroma of fresh clay oven baked breads magnetically pulling us, then playfully hopping on stairs towards bank of river Jhelum adjacent temple on river front, I couldn’t detect impeding friction of seismic scale, will itself suffice “
O! Nomad, when you are high on life who gives a hoot, so carefree even normal daily multi activities simultaneously commencing in front garden, spreading on reed mat drying red green chillies, vegetables in the sun meanwhile elder ladies crushing crisp chillies in stone mortal with large wooden pestle to make spice.
nearby in the corner out of hen coop couple of hens were hoping and flapping like a free bird, other side we playing hop scotch with empty cheery blossom shoe polish tin as a lagger device“
We like melomaniacs lost in harmonic enchanting folklore music and sight of bountiful paddy and rice”
We couldn’t track down horses hooves sound, howling, yelling of marching frenzy crowd towards us and their ominous voice;
We couldn’t get wind in silence of the chillness of Cold War, it was predicament, frankly, had no choice.
We were shell shocked hiding in attic it did daunt us, nobody could see paleness, fear behind our glowing face, between life and death, so took high road as per advice”
In medias res,
O! Nomad, how alone went, laced shoes leaving behind part of us
that part still remains and pains.
without a dime, no directions, no road map or address just deep faith to follow our instincts, heart and driven enthusiasm searching landmarks again.
We walked towards dazzling sun all day, slept under bare crescent crimson sky no blanket or quilt alongside cold crescent moon overhead following us all the way entering the lanes plus on plains!
O! Nomad, when we first step out for our another journey just carried lightweight suitcase containing only pair of clothes and one way ticket
Later on we spotted troops their convoys passed highway headed to borders to Ladakh, Sospol Leh
Saluted to marching soldiers, bid them wonderful journey and “jai Hind”
While trekking different locations we saw majestic river Indus flow by and pristine pangong Lake
O! Nomad, Rocky terrain, boulders, gorges, ravines and landslides on our route, got the foothold made our own milestone to evolve.
hence laid the steppingstones paving the way for who seek to go too far to build dream life, piqued mind such dream revolves “
O Nomad, started afresh set foot in new place, Jammu, made strangers our own ones similarly on the move made friends and relation alike,
We rode with river Tavi with the its meandering flow along banks, ,our primary concern encompassed subsistence that became perquisite for building our future ,furthermore acquired so many things on our path ,left something behind, surely some footprints trails which are beckoning
O Nomad wandered around the world but also took journey inwardly found more so inside peace further no better way to self-discover and reinvent new you yourself.
My feet were always on the ground though was constantly roaming, the more challenge the better strong person I became above all myself
O Nomad, journeys are full of unforgettable memories so were our adventures, naturally all the journeys always come to an end, but the stories made will last a lifetime.
Time wheel keeps on spinning all the time.
Trodding to places exploring its nook and crannies never to stop at any time “
Rekha Tukra Koul (Khashu’s of Batyaar Alikadal) lives in UK, a professional accountant, CA Inter and MBA Finance. Nowadays spends whole time at Island of Wight on penning poems and prose etc. for various magazines in Kashmiri, Hindi and English.