The Valley


Update for Month ended 4 September 2015

The clouds seem to descend onto earth and soon we were not on earth. It was unbelievable. The sky, the ground, the air all seemed to be one and we were floating. The whirr of the jeep and the creaky sounds that it made seemed muffled, as though they too felt hallowed in this world. Then it was clearing, the mists cleared and in the grey light we could see the darker grey tarmac of the road and the browns of the earth that lay exposed, wet and squishy and the grass had overgrown rapidly to almost encroach the road. It was unbelievable. The setting was so lush, so verdant, so peaceful and yet we were carrying our bags of sins with us. The place too serene for us to rid ourselves of it here. I looked to my left and my co passengers half dozing or even dazed. I mocked (in my mind) – that you could not make out if they were dead or alive. How could someone not love the misty hills. But to each his or her own. “Driver – thoda dheere chalaana” – I chided the driver to drive slowly. He slowed down a bit, as a large truck crossed us on the other side. Its red tail lights glimmering like rubies set in a gaudy, garish wedding necklace, amidst glittering golden tassles, and a painted rear in all shades available at the local paint shop – out of place and among so many other glittering gems that it lost its place of being the bright spark of a jewel.  And as the truck moved away, i turned back and saw it disappear into the misty road ahead. It was grey again and then I heaved a heavy sigh and requested the vehicle be parked at the kerb. The slight jolt of the vehicle as it got out of the smooth tarmac and stumbled over the gravelly and at times squishy, grass covered dirt track by the side of the road, woke up my co passenger. He looked at me. No words crossed our lips; he at the other end of the back seat by the door. Both of us opened our doors and got out into the cold, moist, windy hill air. I took in a deep breath. Was this how the other world was – blissful, peaceful, without the sweat and grime of the earthly world? And then I smiled and looked at the co-passenger. He turned and looked down at the valley. We could not see much, but we knew that the drop was steep and no one would be able to climb down and return in one piece, let alone alive. I gave him that look again. He held my hand and gave it a tight squeeze. I looked at him and smiled a Cheshire Cat smile – wide but bereft of emotions. He then went to the driver and both of them quickly opened the door to the left of the jeep – and helped the third co-passenger out of the jeep. They had to prop her hands over each of their shoulders and hobbled together to the  stone culvert at the edge of the cliff. They seated her down and she rested her head on my shoulders. I had already sat down on the culvert – drinking in the heady mountain  air. The driver rushed back to the jeep and got his jerry can of diesel (it was always kept handy for emergency situations) and the bag of charcoal. They looked to the left and right and did not see any vehicles. They even stopped to hear any sound – it was eerily cold and silent. The silence of the valleys was deafening to my ears. I looked at the girl and warm tear slipped down my right cheek. She looked so peaceful, after that tumultuous journey. The driver had heaped the coal and sprinkled some diesel over it to get it burning quickly. The damp air made it difficult to strike a match. He could not afford a lighter –  and I was feeling cold and desperate. “Jaldi Karo”, i screamed at him to speeden the proceedings. He was a smart guy and so rushed back to the jeep and pushed the car cigarette lighter in – till it heated to a red hot coil. And quickly picked up a diesel drenched piece of charcoal and lit it before quickly tossing it into the heap. The fire crackled and was flaming hot. I held her hand and we steadied her up to get close to the fire. And then I stumbled and let go of her – as she fell forward towards the fire.

The D Boyz have been living in a year of hope, and almost had their heads in the clouds as they took the SENSEX on a heady spin. 27000, 28000, 29000 – these were mere numbers this year. It looked surreal, everyone said on D Street, but the D Boyz did not care. There were danger warnings that passed by. Bright and informative – but the D Boyz did not care. They looked at the verdant scenery and imagined how it would to be in the green place forever. They wondered if W Street or the other streets of the world where their ilk would aspire to go to, was as verdant as their D Street. And then a dazed member had to be helped onto his feet. One unsteady step and  the steep slope would be unending. They looked down and knew that if they fell, they would not return in one piece. That was when the China vase on the table came crashing down and as the broker rushed to prevent the other one – he almost stumbled, while the others looked on – with wide open mouths – he would have fallen out of his 25th floor office window. Did he fall or didn’t he? Remember that the SENSEX was already hanging at the precipice at 25201.

Stumble she did, but fell on the soft grass that had overgrown – knee first and then head. The soft landing was not without bruises and grazes, but woke up the co passenger. She was still dazed. Mountain sickness was not new to her. And this was not a mountain, but a hill. And poor her – she had such a bout of fear of heights, heightened by her throwing up. She could not stay still in the jeep and that is why we sat her in the middle of the back seat. And to help her get over this fear, my ex-husband and I had planed this trip. We knew that an  air conditioned journey was not good, so chose this monsoon season, so that we could open the windows. And also knew that cramped cars would scare her even more. Hence the choice of roomier jeep. She did manage the trip but was exhausted by the end of it as we drove up the hills and i thought it was good place for her to stop and smell the cool, damp hill air. It would clear her lungs of the putrid vomit smell. The mists were thick – so she would not see much of the valley – but just a little to get her accustomed to it. We steadied her up and she slowly hobbled to the culvert as the driver steadied a kettle over the coals to rustle up a quick cup of tea or coffee. I looked at her, my eyes moist. I slowly cooed – I’m sorry beta, but i had to do it.” She looked at my eyes, wiped my tears and smiled as she cupped my hands into hers.

And you all thought that this was  a murder mystery? Well yes, it was – murder of  a fear.

Hope you enjoyed the blog …. And I hope to write more – hope the D Boyz don’t take me to scary territory very often.

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