Sunday, February 10, 2013

Three Encounters at Rishikesh

If you are fed up of daily mundane life at Delhi, then let me suggest you that you go and visit Rishikesh. Just pick up your ruck sack, some  basic necessities, some eatables and some books and leave. Sit near the cold Ganges flowing at some great speed, see the pebbles rolling under it and get immersed to yourself.

I do it often and hence fellow readers, I bring to you three of the pleasant encounters which have been a part of my escape and self-immersion....

Encounter 1: Holy Sage

So this sage came and sat next to me while I was reading a book by the side of the Ganges. He took out his chillum, poured some marijuana in it and started smoking. And while my mind had just started taking a gap between two different poems of the book, it received a nasal signal forcing me to look up at this baba smoking up. He gazes at me for two minutes and then says "So this book, you holding is a result of you paying extra money for having a beautiful mind". It sounded something serious but gibberish to me and I replied "What?".. To which the baba replied " Do you remember you bought this book  together with another book whose cost was also same as that of this book". I gathered myself and replied "Yeah, but how do you know?". He added ".. and the cost of that book is same as this one's.. that is 399 rupees". I said shockingly "Yes". He added "Correct me if I am wrong, the bookseller trying to impress you (of her sharp calculation skills) had totaled the costs of two books as 598 (which was actually 798) and you had a doubt in your mind whether should you correct the bookseller and pay 200 rupees more or just stay with a guilt. And the rest of what happened next, you do remember my child.." I was shocked and surprised that how did this sage smoking his joint knew everything as this bookshop incident had happened in Jaipur. I could not read further and asked this sage whether he was some stalker or was he actually present there at the scene. To which he smiled and told "Nahi beta, hum bas ek yogi hain....(No son, I am just a yogi)".Till then, I had inhaled some of the marijuana out of baba's chillum...

Encounter 2: Disillusioned Guy

I noticed this guy in one corner of Rishikesh walking on the rope balancing himself, just out of pleasure. I left his corner and started walking towards a cafe when I noticed this same guy behind me and in no time he had initiated the talk "Hey, you like Calvino? I love his books". I was like yes I do. We walked and talked for few minutes and later he told me that he had been a-yet-another-corporate-guy from Bombay but was fired from his company for mixing bhang (a form of cannabis) in sweets and offering it to his top management faking his own engagement. When I asked him that why had he done so, he replied that he was so pissed off at the nonsensical absurdity of the corporate world and that just to have some fun in his boring life, he had done it. He seemed to have no regrets of his prank. There was  a certain calmness in his gesture and his talks.

Encounter 3: Kashmiri Girl

I was sitting in the German bakery at Rishikesh and was having my breakfast looking at the jhoola and the magnificent scene of people circling the Shri Trayanbakshwar Temple. I could not notice when this girl wearing some ragged clothes came and sat next to me . She was wearing torn worn clothes but still she managed to carry around her an air of special dignity, which is usually found in people who know how to carry poor clothes! I could not help noticing her as she had some magnetic effect on me. She saw me gazing at her and smiled back, a smile which was comforting and hence I began a conversation with her. She told me that she was a Kashmiri and her name was Sabbah which meant gentle breeze in Urdu. Rest of what she told me was about Kashmir which sad enough to make me choke. But her narration was so powerful, her love for life so potent, her eyes so agonizing  She was a well read girl and very versed with Urdu poets and authors. She laughed at me when I tried to fake my Urdu knowledge with few very common verses from Ghalib, Mir and others. She recited some of lesser known Urdu or Kashmiri poems mostly from Sufi poets and told me the meaning of all the couplets. Then after a while, she just stopped speaking all of a sudden and asked "Can you read something from the book you holding" and I read one of the poems from the book I was holding:

"I am troubled, immeasurably
by your eyes.
I am struck by the feather of
your soft reply.
The sound of glass
speaks quick, disdain
and conceals
what your eyes fight to explain...."

Later she left the place. But after a lot of time, I met someone of my age who had no email ids, no facebook account, no twitter page, no phone numbers but above all someone who reciprocated her name so well....
I felt


shalini said...

This post truly makes rishikesh comes alive to the reader ..planning to visit it when I get home ;)
Liked the first encounter the always a delightful read..

Anonymous said...

Dear disillusioned guy,
i wanna read more stories on ur the Jlf experience.
-The almost witness to the miscalculation