Stories of Solitude and a Melancholic Man...
I saw Kashi looking at me from the corner of his dimly lit eyes. I was okay with this. As I have frequented such gazes all around my travelling days in this part of the remote Himalayan villages, where the biting cold , dense trees, fogs and mountains outnumbers the humans.
And to the few I have met always had their curiosness which I found was justified.
But after some time I started to have an uncomfortable feeling about the way Kashi was gazing at me. It was far more than curiosity and perhaps had a contempt in his eyes. However, I went on clicking my pictures and tried to forget about Kashi.
Oh, I forgot to introduce Kashi. Kashi was a grey mountain dog with strange green eyes and a thick fur coat. What made him special was his unusual quietness and his large lithe frame.
I slowly realize that the cold was biting my fingers into a numbness though it was only 11 am in the morning and I was desperate for some hot tea to restore my pale cold mood. And to my utter surprise I was all of a sudden invited by an unknown man standing next to the building, where I was shooting.
I was grateful. And he lead me to his home which was around the corner and about 200 metres from where I was shooting. It's a typical mountain house with stones mud and bricks. But the best part was that it had a big courtyard and from where I could see the thick moss of fogs surrounding the distant mountains which encircled this small village.
The man introduced me as 'Pranlal', the village teacher. He offered me something he referred as Tea but I was sure that there was very little scent of tea leaves in that concoction he offered to me. But it was hot and strangely sweet.
While I was sipping the tea, I asked Pranlal how far was his school. For the first time I saw a strange void and sadness in his eyes. He looked at me and said that the building or the ruins of the building I was shooting, once used to be his school but now no more.
Before I could ask him why he rushed inside the house and brought an old newspaper cutting . It said - "130 children died when a school building collapsed in an earthquake in Bijwasa village, district Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, during the 2013 Tsunami".
I wanted to look at Pranlal and console him but I was already devastated and a shroud of coldness grappled me. I was actually trembling. I could hear Pranlal''s voice from distant calling my name and yet I was not able to respond to him...
What happened to me ? After more than a year of this incident I am yet to know that exactly what happened to me on that day. But I could remember what else I saw...
I saw the same house I was shooting in that newspaper, being referred as the School and Kashi as the dog, who died in that earthquake while trying to save children. And Kashi's master was not found after the earthquake. That old yellowish newspaper had a picture of Kashi's master - and that picture was so much like that of Pranlal, the village school teacher...
#ruins #window #building #hills #village #himalayas #India #travel #journey #story #writing #travelogue #textures #old
@ellowrites @ellotextures @ellotravel