© Copyright 2018 by Siddiqa Magar
As usual, that day I was having a moment with myself in the drizzling windy monsoon evening on my farmhouse terrace.
After a prolonged session of self-introspection ; I was feeling very sad and depressed of things that I was not able to achieve in life. Although I knew this would not carry on with a stubborn and lazy person like me for a long time but l don’t know l was just not able to get rid of the ‘loser’ feeling that day.
My inside was bursting out with negativity and pressure that left me with tears of unsuccessfulness and inability. Actually this inability and holdback was to leave my hometown. I wanted to move out somewhere else , l never knew and still won’t be able to know where, but somewhere far from this city and as a result l started hating Udaipur instantly which l never did before.
I was looking at the clouds at the top of Aravallis that covered the green with a foggy mist. I connected it very well with my situation. I too, like the clouds, was unnecessarily bounded by the clutches of unmounted force , who wanted to fly to some obscure wonderland and keep exploring new places.
This powerful personification of mine made me feel happy of how talented l am.
Yet, l was still not so happy with that emptiness within me. Fetish dreams ; insatiable me.
Nature’s beauty was at its best with dark clouds floating above and light cool breeze flowing with the fragrance of wet mud.
But l was a fool to forego such a heavenly pleasure by obsessing over the atrocities of life and what not! Just self-sabotaging.
I failed to divert my attention every time l tried it so. After a few minutes, my friends cum neighbours came. They are the unknown watchman’s kids who came out of their hut-like dwelling to shout out ‘ goodbye didi ’ as a daily customary to wish me till l am gone. They will chant bye, goodbye, bye and go on and on until l get fed up and escape from my terrace unnoticed. But that day everything was different. I was yawning disgustingly in distress. Yet with similar smiling faces l tried to coordinate unwillingly. These innocent smiles complimented the weather with me as a black spot.
All l wished then was to talk to someone. Anything that would bring me to peace again.
The only school-going girl who understands my language was looking at me with a suspicious grin as if she knew everything about me.
Again the very next moment l was self-occupied by a series of tangled thoughts and hatred for the confined city. The girl continued to stare.
Suddenly the tiny toddlers came jumping with cheer and great excitement to watch the clouds surpass above their room. They were all screaming with joy except the eldest who was still watching me closely. I couldn’t stop myself so l went down to their front door and knocked to let me in.
All four-five of them came to welcome me. I sat down on the mat and without any ado asked decently, ”What were you looking up for? All fine?”
With some uneasiness she smiled bowing her head down and nodded in response that there was nothing she looked for.
Although l was not convinced with her reply yet l myself felt very bad for putting the girl under awkward and uncomfortable position. Again l popped up interrogating;”Do you want something?”
The little ones were keenly observing both of us chatting but were not getting even a word of it.
The girl didn’t replied. I asked again, ”What do you want?”, making her feel comfortable with me.
What l expected in answer from her was, might be these kids want some chocolates, biscuits, or clothes that we usually give them. Or for a change some books, bags, pencils. But what she asked for stunned me.
With a low voice she said, ”A TERRACE”
I was totally amused.”What ?” l said.
With a firm desire she responded with a higher pitch than before, “A Terrace ; a terrace from where l can touch the clouds, look at the majestic mountains and big green trees, feel the cool wind and enjoy dancing in the rains.”
There was complete silence. It was probably my terrace and not me that she was looking up at.
I was completely astonished by the level of maturity the girl possessed at such a young age. I felt very subdued. I slowly receded. Genuinely felt very low of myself. My throat was full of some strange heaviness.
I galloped down all claustrophobic feelings. She attacked me with a powerful note, for which I had no counter response. There was so much in me to blame and complain at. But she was simple and clear with what she wanted.
A TERRACE! That might sound a bit absurd but that was it. Just to enjoy the present moment. A terrace to closely see the nature blossom.
She wanted to look at the city from the top. Above all and feel like a conquered princess. She never told this but l perceived it so looking into her shiny watery eyes. She swallowed down the fizzle for her desire, just the way I did, and turned up to my terrace trying to see what it might seem being there.
I was insanely blank. My mind started boggling. Nothing to say. Nothing to react. Just reflect upon. What happened to me was exactly like some clarity in vagueness with an idea of getting better day by day, to built a dream so real and firm that would start right from where I am presently. I knew I was cryptic with my own thoughts.
Nestled elegantly along with the pampered luxuries we fail to understand how much the essentials granted to us are taken for granted.
Anyhow I manage to get up and ask the girl to come along with me. She hesitated and asked ‘where?’
“To the terrace.” I said.
She was still confused. She cleared me that her terrace, which was not rather a one, neither have stairs to reach at nor it was strong enough to carry our weight even if we jump over it anyhow.
“Oh! Is it so!” l made a fake remark to suggest a possible alternative more convincingly. ”Then, ummh; l have an idea. Let’s go to my terrace and enjoy. Shall we?”, with mixed expression of deep thought and invitation , l said.
She agreed laying a condition that she would take all the little ones along with her to my terrace. In a moment we formed a nursery train chain with me as the engine and six bogies and went up to my terrace.
All silly things gone. Washed down by the pours that were getting thick. All six of them formed a circle around me and started singing and dancing anything.
All weird, all happy! Me too! We didn’t look up for any reason to be happy. Reasons faded and so did our desires. Everything seemed fulfilled.
The sky above filled up with lovely soft clouds, the hills filled up with green serenity, lakes filled up with glittering water waves and above all our hearts filled up with cheer and joy.
Complete insouciance. For the first time since last few hours l felt like the surroundings were getting more consoling and involving all of us in lovely bounties of nature.
Enkindled with the divine innocence of beautiful faces and pure souls their truly exists the Saviour above to whom we confess and he keeps us in the centre of his will. Only acceptance of the present is required on our front. Blandly l started to move from this claustrophobia. The grace that has been bestowed upon my place overflowed from the virtues imbibed in its people around me with true purity and fidelity.
I imagined how even a glimpse at the resplendent aura revive us back with liveliness. Our vision for sure is limited as there exist the untouched melodies and solace that echo’s the places beyond the boundaries.
I turned back towards the kids who were enjoying a visual treat of a vibrant and colourful lifestyle passing by gradually. With both arms opened widely, they were welcoming the majestic picturesque with unique royal splendour. The scenic mirage on the other side seemed endless. This could only be my city Udaipur.
With a spy eye, l noticed one of the little frilled frock girl murmur something in her sister’s ear. It was all inaudible but l could make out that she spoke something in their regional dialect. When she saw me looking at her, she scrammed and hid herself behind her elder sister and started pulling her clothes in some obstinacy.
I asked her sister, ”What is disturbing her?”
"Nothing’, she said.
l knew that the girl never answers me in the first go. So l had to try twice or thrice to get out words from her. Again l persisted, ”Tell me if there is anything. What is she asking for?”
Finally after a deep dilemma of whether or not she would be speaking, she finally did. She translated what her sister said; “She is asking me to ask you that, why are you not coming for your evening walk since the last week? You don’t have your shoes right?”, she said.
I was completely puzzled. Could, not having a pair of shoes be the reason for not moving out of our home; l asked myself. But that was exactly what she meant, might be. Whatever it maybe, but definitely she was a considerate girl. A PAIR OF SHOES! Wow; how great a word of three year old child who doesn’t know any manipulative calculations in thoughts and reasoning just gave a simple logic to justify my non-presence to their front gate as my routine evening walk. It might sound silly but for sure is sensible enough.
After a sudden jerk l realised l need to answer what l am asked. Literally l had nothing to say. Without any assurance l asked all of them, ’Do you all have shoes to wear for yourself?’
There was a desert of noise saying, ‘Yes, yes, we do have it!’ I was very happy for sure. To make up to their contentment I said, ‘I too have my shoes well-conditioned but as I was not feeling well, so l missed my evening walk for a week or so.’ The girl translated back what I said to the little girl who queried and was disturbed or rather missing me since last week.
What amazing and caring friends I have. They are much younger than me but what they taught me unintentionally was far beyond their age. Some relations and connections are meant to be vague in words yet they surely make a strong bond and fondness of each other that would rope in delicately different ways of living life and how we look at it.
These kids who usually proved to be a headache for me on the terrace everyday saying bye-bye over and again have so much within them to teach an ever grumbling person like me. After all this I owed massive respect in my heart for all those who are living life and not just existing. Definitely my terrace taught me a lot that day.
With little means they know how to gear up from what life throws at them. Be it hunger or pain, hatred or poverty, they are trained since their childhood to become perfect carrying their own imperfections.
Although they never preached me like saints or priests yet their desires and doubts had cautiously inculcated lessons of life. I made an instant pray to the almighty above to give freedom to each race and may all men dwell in liberty. With his blessings we seek to banish all our fears, insecurities and ignorance. May he grant us the wisdom to take the advantage of initiative and then enjoy the fruitfulness of perseverance. Let Him do HIS Righteousness to all of us.
Now all in heart, nothing in mind. Infact, nothing to mind. It was peaceful, finally.
I smelled something like sangri chilli dal batti being cooked. This delectable spicy food is also a flavour of my city. Their mother, a ragged yet a rugged woman who was a complete package of mythological tales called her kids home for the food.
With a dynamic sparkle in their cheerful eyes my six dwellers bid me goodbye and took my leave. For the very first time they said goodbye at the correct occasion of departure.
As usual, again l webbed myself with a series of thoughts thinking how this simple friendly human counterpoint add to the city’s natural charm and unmatched tranquillity. How our history, cultures, believes and ethnicities are flanked by the way we live at the same place.
With these possessions let us make the place where we live better and worthwhile with attractiveness of modesty and magnetism of our character that shall keep all of us connected.
Carrying the buoyancy of enthusiasm, let us write more beautiful and motivating tales that teaches.
MID PLEASURES AND PALACES THOUGH
WE MAY ROAM;
BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE
UDAIPUR MY HOME!!
With zealous passion in writing and journalism to mark unique presence among readers for sharing my thoughts, opinions and feelings, I pen down my imagination and illusion roped in reality to reflect within self and surroundings.
being a biographical sketch, is one among my first works and the
closest to my heart with real characters and circumstances.