The Hamlet on the Northern and Southern Slope


Update for week ended 27 Nov 2009

The bearded old shepherd had been hearing noises in his head for a while now. He did not know when it all started, but his wife blamed his age and his drinking habit for it. They lived on the north facing slope of the rugged mountains and at this time of the year, it received little sunlight and their small slate roof hut got colder than the old couple could bear. They had lived in this sparsely populated countryside for over 4 decades now. Since they had no children, the old woman suggested they adopt the orphan who roamed the village streets in the valley below. The young lad quickly adapted to the family ways of this mountain shepherd couple and helped in tending the sheep and also helping around the house. The old couple found their “son” and lived happily, until these “noises in the head” episodes. On one such day, the old man, led the lad out with his sheep down the rugged slopes. The cold winter months were creeping in and grass was getting sparser, so he sent his wife to live in their temporary winter home on the south facing slope, where it was warmer and the tall grass could be cut and dried to serve as hay for roofing and stuffing for their beds. As he moved downwards, the old man heard the voices in his head which caused it to spin and he stumbled on the loose stones and fell down the dry dusty slopes. The boy was too small to prevent the fall and he quickly ran behind the hurtling old man. They stumbled and tumbled down the slope and found it difficult to stop. The buzzing noises annoyed the old man and he used his instincts to arrest his fall and slowly picked himself up to orient himself with the surroundings. His “son” was standing next to him, breathing heavily, bent and resting his palms on his knees. The sheep were still way behind, but heading their way. The old man heeded the “command” in his head and grabbed the startled boy; placed him tummy down on a nearby rock. He reached for his little dagger in its scabbard and raised it high, about to strike the boy, whilst holding him down with the other hand. That was when the sobbing child looked back at his father and pleaded for his life, only whimpering, not screaming. The Old man snapped out of his reverie and suddenly noticed that he had tears in his eyes; he looked up and saw the dagger in his right hand, about to strike down; he unclenched his fist and dropped down on his knees, releasing the grip on the boy. He cried out loud and trembled with fear. The boy got up slowly and hugged his father before drying his tears. The old man knew what he had to do and what he had to shed. He flung the flask from his waistband onto the rocks beyond and held his son’s hand seeking forgiveness. The child was only too willing to see a smile on his father’s face and hugged him again. The old man and the boy held hands and started climbing up the valley towards their new winter home. It was getting chilly, and the bleating sheep followed them without missing a step or stopping, as though nothing had occurred. They hastened their climb and could see smoke from their new home. Mother had stoked the stove and they looked forward to the hot meal later that day. The duo did not talk much on their climb, but held hands and the firm, yet loving clasp said more than words.

The tremors, jitters, trembles that people feared led to sleepless nights for the D Boyz. They did not even have any cues from America, so waited for their Asian friends to give them some direction. They started the morning with sinking feeling in their stomach – sending the SENSEX down 200 points and thereafter, the noises in their sleepy heads grew louder and louder, that they spun like a top and sank into what looked like a vortex. So 200 to 300 to 400 to 500 and even 600 points sent enough shivers down the cool D Street. Some leading pharma company that sold anti-depressants had its counter thronging with customers; while the overseas phone lines were in over-use – making only these 2 companies the profitable ones in the D Boyz’ SENSEX. And just how quickly the tumble began, like the proverbial “snapping out of the reverie” moment, came the reversal and the upward trudge quickly got the 250-200 level and stayed there till end of day. The D Boyz who had a whirlwind of a day moving 1000 points in the day saw a disheveled, but settled SENSEX at 16632 – 222 points down. The weekly fall has been 388 points – about 2%; but as you can figure out, it could have been worse.

This weekend is thanksgiving weekend, not only in America, but also around the Islamic world. Let us offer our thanks for what we have, and hope we get better from hereon.

Have a nice weekend… Cheers…

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3 thoughts on “The Hamlet on the Northern and Southern Slope

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