“ Ma’am, it is not possible to go to that hermitage , that Ashram , in a car . Earlier , a road led to that place . Now , it is in a very bad condition. So , it will be impossible to go there by car. “ The travel agent said while having a look at the lady wearing jeans and top .
“ So , what should be done ? “
“ The car will drop us beyond the bridge on the river . It is a hilly route passing through a forest . Even a travel of only thirty kms will take three full hours . “ The travel agent kept on fiddling with the ring on his finger .
“ What is the distance if we walk down from there ? “ The lady asked in a rather relaxed tone without any trace of concern.
“ About fifteen kms . But it will be night by the time you reach the hermitage . “ The agent clarified the situation . “ The way passes through dense forest and winds around small and big hills . “
The lady decided to stay in the night in this hilly town itself . This was a virgin territory untouched by the foot-steps and clamour of tourists . So , this town was free from the filth and dirt of a big city till now. Simple people resided here who provided good advice to others . The travel agency assured her that she should hire a porter as the hilly terrain will make even the weight of a small bag too heavy to carry . However , she felt a little apprehensive at this suggestion . But the owner of the travel agency assured her with these soothing words , “ Please do not be afraid , ma’am. We have poverty in Himachal Pradesh , but people are not dishonest or criminal-minded here . The coolie will not pose any threat to you . “ She felt good listening to this assurance . The owner of a small travel-agency was vouching for the integrity of character of the people of this entire hill-state. With so much self-confidence , he was providing a certificate regarding honesty and goodness of each person residing here.
She woke up early in the morning . When she came down from the hotel , she saw a young man standing near the car , ignoring the morning cold . He was dressed up in a kurta-pyjama and a woollen jacket with a muffler wound round his neck in a rather unconcerned way .
The youth named Bhushan was sitting in the front seat of car along with the driver. She sat alone in the back seat of the car . On the way , Bhushan was brief and to the point regarding any query. The driver remained silent . The young men in the plains automatically start speaking too much in the company of a young lady . However, these young men from the hills were a little shy. The dressing sense of Bhushan reflected a permanent sense of poverty . His behaviour too was full of natural shyness and modesty . She had brought her own food in a tiffin for eating on the way .
Although the car had left behind the small town, some houses could still be seen scattered here and there on the hillside . The way they were perched on the hillside reflected a strange kind of boldness and faith in life . Antara had observed that these houses were perched precariously on the edge of the cliff overlooking the deep gorges and ravines , but the residents of these houses were totally free of any trace of fear of these gorges and ravines .
The way forward was a steep climb and the hilly road was very narrow. It was also quite uneven and bumpy . The car was being driven very cautiously at a slow speed .
It was eight in the morning , but the tall pine trees had not allowed sunlight to percolate through the leaves to the ground . The wild sunlight that was shining atop the trees was eager to come down and lap up the green grass. Due to the carelessness of one of the trees , a piece of sunlight had come down towards the mid-branches of the tree. By that time , the sunlight seemed faded . The tree had acted like a sponge and made the sunlight a little pale by the time it reached the branches mid-way . It seemed as if damp sunlight was perched mid-way on the branches of the tree . The tree bathed in the sunlight was an old one , so it had grown tall . The bark of the tree had lost its hardness and its wrinkles were falling off in crusts . These wrinkles also denoted the age of the tree and were also the result of the effect of weather . However , the unconcerned tree was standing tall. It was tall in its pride and humble in its wrinkles . The crusts of wrinkles were falling off and a new bark seemed to emerge from underneath . It denoted the advanced age of the tree .
Antara had rolled down the window-glass of the car . A cold wind was hitting her cheeks but she liked the sensation . Despite the coldness , the wind had a soothing touch that was reassuring her that she would reach her destination soon .
She placed her head on the rear seat of the car . Someone had told her this thing. Perhaps , it was in a party . The person was drunk and so he was breaking the oath of secrecy in his tipsy pride . The person told Antara that Shekhar had neither died , nor had he gone missing . Actually , he was living in an ordinary hermitage surrounded by dense forests near a far-off mountain range of the Himalayas . The person did not know the full address or due to his intoxicated state , he could churn out only an incomplete address . She followed the lead of that address and was now going towards this hermitage .
Antara had learnt music from Shekhar himself . She was still a disciple. Her intimate relation with Shekhar was about to reach a definite conclusion when all of a sudden , Shekhar bade good-bye to his family , his acquaintances and the whole world and just vanished into no one knew where . This was rather surprising . Antara acutely felt the pain of the loss of personal relationship , but she also wanted to know the reason as to why a very talented , renowned and stalwart musician bade good-bye to his known world ? Why did he leave behind the name and fame earned by his hard work and sought shelter in the distant hermitage surrounded by dense forests and mountains ?
This ‘ why ‘ further deepened her agony . It seemed as if this agony would crack like glass at the increasing heat or coldness of memories . She wanted to get rid of her agony . The pieces of glass piercing her heart and soul made life difficult for her . She knew that. She was afraid of this very fact . She had come so far just to get rid of this fear .
She took a deep breath and glanced outside the window of the car . Clean water from high above was falling down on the stone by the side of the road . She asked the driver to stop the car , and went over towards the waterfall. She was about to drink that water in her cupped hands when Bhushan intervened , “ Ma’am , please do not drink this water . It has melted from the ice above . It is too cold and it will make you sick . “
The water in her cupped hands found a way out . Only a little water remained now in the centre of her cupped hands . It was cold and clean water. Her cupped hands shuddered a little and she let go of the remaining water . As if along with nature , she too paid obeisance to the unnamed stone by drenching it with water.
What was her prayer ? She asked herself . It seemed as if the sound of falling water resonated within her although the sound was not clear like the clear water.
“ Ma’am , we have got drinking water bottles for you ? “ Bhushan’s voice surprised her . She nodded and took the water-bottle from him . She sipped a little water and handed the water-bottle back to Bhushan . The road was winding uphill . Tall trees adorned the mountain . She watched herself from the position the farthest tree. She could spot herself as a coloured blot when she closed her eyes . But her personality did not appear to be puny . This was the greatness of nature . Nature never lets a person feel puny — she thought . She was standing at the edge of a cliff that peeped down a deep gorge . However , she could feel herself a part of the height where she was standing .
The water that had dropped down her cupped hands had left behind a sweet moistness . A ray of sunlight had come down between two trees like a stream of water . The sunlight was now spread on the grass . She took the sunlight into her cupped palms . As she put her cupped palms on the grass , the sunlight flew like a butterfly and settled down into her palms . The white light spread itself on the damp palms . The sunlight had no heat and so it seemed to dissolve in the dampness of the palms . When she cupped her palms , the sunlight seemed to fill into the cupped palms . Is it possible to consecrate the sun-light ? Antara thought and removed her palms away from the sunlight and let it fall onto the grass. Thinking of something , she hesitated and then moved her palms again in the sunlight . The sunlight again shifted back into her cupped palms . She closed her palms . The sunlight was now enclosed in her damp fist . Some blades of grass were also enclosed in her fist . Antara thought that a part of nature , a portion of the forest was also enclosed in her fist . She felt happy . She came back and sat in the car . The car started moving slowly . There was a rivulet in the hills where the road ended . A wooden bridge spanned the rivulet . Beyond the rivulet was a faint mule-track that winded its way into the forest . She got out of the car. The rivulet was not large . But the swirling water was fast-flowing . However , the rivulet had shrunk and was flowing only in the middle . The river-bed was dry at other places .
The rivulet did not have sand in it . Although stones of all sizes were present in the small river , these stones were white in colour . Unlike the stones found in the rivers that flowed in the plains , these stones were not laced with dry, green moss and algae . Innumerable white stones had increased the beauty of the rivulet . In their whiteness , the stones denoted simplicity . The flow of the river seemed as if molten glass was flowing on a white sheet of cloth . He was surprised to note that the forest was alive to the pristine beauty of the rivulet . Except for a few broken leaves floating serenely in the water , the forest had left the virgin river untouched . The rivulet was carrying its own treasure .
The car turned back and went away . To take her back , it will come back tomorrow afternoon at this very place . They had arrived at this decision . Bhushan picked her bag and started crossing the bridge behind her . Antara knew that if she was unable to persuade Shekhar to come back with her in a day , she might have to waît there for a longer period . She had asked the car-driver to wait for her till the evening . If she did not come back , he was supposed to return and come back again tomorrow. She was sure that this much time would be enough to persuade Shekhar . The wooden bridge led one into the forest . It was a dense green forest where flora was very attractive . The rivulet was now flowing behind them . The moisture from the river was present in the air . Suddenly , Antara got an idea . She asked Bhushan who was walking just behind her , “ Why were you selected to accompany me on this trip ? Why not somebody
else ? “
“ Ma’am , I know the route of this Ashram well . I bring the things of daily needs to this Hermitage . No one else has seen this remote Ashram , “ Bhushan said . Antara wanted to ask questions regarding the Ashram and Shekhar , but she stopped herself . It seemed to her that it would not be proper to ask Bhushan so many questions . After sometime , she herself would be in the Hermitage . She wanted to ask Shekhar all the questions.
After a little while , she asked Bhushan to walk ahead and guide her as it was difficult for her to glean the way forward in the dense forest . Bhushan started walking in front of her and she started following him . Bhushan was silent and he was humble and shy like a typical mountain-boy . The way forward was covered with lots of unknown beautiful flowers and plants . She was pleasantly surprised at this view . One can never really fully understand the nature . It has innumerable mysteries hidden in its lap. Nature wants to always keep human beings happy . Nature has unlimited resources of beauty for this purpose . The land of Himachal Pradesh had got a special bounty from nature . The dense foliage and lots of tall trees had not allowed dense grass to grow on the ground . A pale light pervaded the entire scene . Trees and the way forward were soaked in that light . In the dampness of the fading light , the forest was playing its music . The wind flowing in the forest was humming a classical forest raga that was prepared by the forest itself . That ‘ raga ‘ was always being sung on the lower note , never on the high note . Those who were receptive could listen to the melody of the forest .
As if not to be an obstacle to the hearing of the forest ‘ raga ‘ , the trees were cautious and were standing still . They were listeners of the ‘ raga ‘ as well as its protector . Trees of different kinds and flora of all types made up the family of the forest . They had all resided together amicably without any controversy for hundreds of years . The foliage was inter-twined . No one was complaining against the other . No types of plants and trees hated others or demanded separation from others . It seemed as if , they were deeply involved in playing a ‘ love-raga ‘ .
They stopped on the way . Antara opened her tiffin . After some persuasion , Bhushan shyly partook of the contents . Antara assured her that she had packed water and food for two persons . After having food , Antara almost lied own by leaning against a tree . Her back could feel the damp happiness of the grass . The trunk of the tree got fascinated by the lovely smell of Antara’s untied hair . A few leaves fell on Antara’s face . Bhushan too had lied down by leaning against another tree . He had folded his hands to form a pillow under his head . He was not tired . However , Bhushan seemed concerned about the tiredness of Antara . The way forward was far more difficult and demanding than what Antara had thought earlier. They were climbing uphill . Had the beautiful sights of the forest not been there , all the climbing would have taken a heavy toll on the body . However , the beautiful scenery of the forest had soothed their senses and slowed down the tiring process of the body .
When she meets Shekhar , what will she say ?
While she was resting , she felt concerned about her impending conversation with Shekhar .
“ Shall we start , ma’am ? Days are shorter in the mountains. We have to cover a long distance and we have a lot of climbing to do . “ Bhushan’s face depicted embarrassment . As if he had committed a crime by waking up Antara from her slumber .
Just to tide over her tiredness , Antara took a deep breath . “ Let us leave , “ she said . She got up and gazed at the immense height of the mountains . That Ashram is nestled somewhere in these great heights in the forest , she thought . Although her legs were tired , her mind was still fresh . So she kept on moving forward . There was an attraction in the great heights and it did not let tiredness trouble the mind . They kept on moving forward . Steep climb was nearby . Dusk was knocking at the door of evening . Sunlight could not be seen even on the top of the trees . The trunks of the trees had already soaked enough sunlight during the day . And then , they saw the exotic magic of nature .
In the beginning , the chirping of the birds could be heard from the east . Only God knows , which songs they were singing . After sometime , when the first round of chirping ended , another round of chirping from the south could be heard loud and clear now . The birds were all singing in unison . As if they were all singing the same ‘ raga ‘ in the same volume . When this round of chirping ended , another melodious round of chirping started from the West . It ended on an extended note and was followed by the loud chirping of birds in unison in the north direction . There was a melody , a rhythm in the chirping of so many birds. Then the birds in all four directions sang in a chorus an immortal melody . The entire forest listened to this chorus with rapt attention . Antara was amazed . It was very difficult to sing such a melody in perfect rhyme and rhythm . It usually came with years of practice . But the birds of the forest had mastered it so naturally . Nature had this treasure-trove of music . Those who claim to understand nature were ignorant , thought Antara .
It was late evening when both of them reached the Ashram . The hermitage had a large tract of land attached to it and a wall made of bamboo and wood ran around the land . Some trees had grown inside the demarcated portion . Rows of multi-coloured flowers in the flower-beds were beautifying the area . In the large lawn , rabbits were hopping around fearlessly . A deer saw the strangers and ran away into the woods . Antara was amazed to note that the Ashram seemed to be the home of so many animals. A cow was tethered to a peg in the corner . A calf was drinking the cow’s milk . It stopped drinking to look at the two strangers . Someone was chopping wood . Another person was going towards the back of the hermitage. Both the men too, stopped their work and started looking towards the strangers . The person who was chopping wood recognised Bhushan . They started talking in the local dialect . Bhushan turned towards Antara and told her that Guruji had gone to the lake for his evening prayers .
Antara came inside and sat on one of the bamboo chairs lying there . Bhushan sat on the ground itself despite insistence by Antara that he too must sit on the chair .
A lot of time had passed . There was a person inside the house who lit an earthen lamp and kept it in the room . A soothing light filled the room . Antara joined her elbows and put her face in the open palms . It reduced her tiredness . But , her mind remained agitated .
He came after sometime . She was embarrassed when she saw his dress and other changes . Shekhar’s hair were partly grey and it suited his fair complexion . However , this person had long hair and the colour of his beard was also white . A long sacred ‘ tilak ‘ mark adorned his forehead . He had covered himself with a shawl and was also wearing a silk ‘ dhoti ‘ . The beard was not too long and had probably been trimmed . It was unlike the modern fashion of being trimmed to sparseness. It was also unlike the beard of holy men or saints . However , his eyes were still large and bright .
She stood up . Bhushan touched his feet to seek his blessings. Shekhar greeted her with folded hands .
“ Shekhar , why are you looking at me as if I am a stranger to you ? “ Antara felt agitated when she saw strangeness for herself in his eyes .
“ Ma’am , my name is not Shekhar . My name is Vasudev . Vasudev Raj Rishi . I don’t know who you are . Please introduce yourself . “ His voice had the dampness of the mountain air and the seriousness of a virgin gentleman . Had it been a different time , she would have laughed at his formal exclamation. But the simplicity of the Ashram , the seriousness of his voice and the dignity of his personality had a cumulative effect . She could not even speak, what to talk of laughing.
“ I … I … am Antara ! “ She blurted out after a lot of effort .
“ It is a decent name . Do you have any special reason for coming here ? The journey must have been very difficult and tiring . “ He said in the same serious voice .
After some moments of silence , Antara mustered some courage and said , “ You may act as you wish , learn any type of language, but my instinct says that you are Shekhar . “
A slightly condescending smile crossed his face . He said , “ I don’t know why your instincts tell you so . But , why would I speak a lie ? “
“ I don’t know . Why did you leave everything behind and and sought refuge in these woods ? You had happiness , prosperity , name and fame . Then , why did you feel alienated ? Why did you get rid of your so-called emptiness by escaping to these remote mountains ? Tell me , Shekhar . Why have you become a ‘ sadhu ‘ by renouncing everything you had ? “ Antara’s voice turned into a supplicant’s agonised cry .
“ Antara ji , “ he did not call her ‘ Devi ‘ in a formal way as earlier , but called her by her name . “ No one becomes a ‘sadhu ‘ by running away and renouncing everything. You don’t need to run away from life to become a ‘ sadhu ‘ . But I will talk about it some other time . Let me again repeat humbly that I am not Shekhar. “ His face had a touching expression of pity for Antara .
“ I am agonised by your grief . But , how can I deny the truth ? “
Antara did not give up . A long debate started . He was replying peacefully and patiently to all the sad queries and agitated logic put forth by Antara . However , after a long debate, Antara started losing hope . Then , Shekhar said with a moist humility in his voice , “ Kindly face the truth . I will pray for the peace of your mind . “ He turned but turned back and said , “ I am not a ‘ sadhu ‘ . For a common man , it is very difficult to be a genuine saint . Only great men like Lord Buddha could achieve this state . Others like me just keep on trying . “
Provision for Antara’s stay was made in the Guest House . Bhushan and Antara had their dinner in the dining room . He did not join them during dinner . Antara was informed that he would take his dinner later on . After she had her dinner , Antara came out in the large courtyard . Her eyes got enlarged when saw the forest . Lakhs of fire-flies were flying around in the forest air . The greenery of afternoon had metamorphosed into a slight darkness . The height of the trees could not be gauged in darkness. However , the way these little stars were flying and glowing over innumerable flowers and plants , it made this scene worth remembering forever . It was like a scene in a dream . If you tell this to someone later , the person will refuse to believe it . Is nature offering her entire beauty to these mountains ? Or may be , every remote place must be having this kind of beauty .
The person who had been cutting wood , came to feed the cow . Antara observed that this was a normal scene for this person . He was about to turn back when he replied to Antara’s query , “ Ma’am, these are not stars but fire-flies . They provide the way forward to the forest in the night . “
“ They provide the way forward to the forest ? Where does the forest go ? “ Antara asked in surprise .
“ All these trees and fauna go here and there to meet one-another . The Flora is tired due to activities during the day . They want to meet one-another , talk to one-another in the
night . The fire-flies show them the way lest they lose their way in the night . “
She watched the person with surprise . Slowly , she too came around to what that person had said . What he has said must be right , she thought . It seemed as if the breeze had induced the leaves to sing an unnamed ‘ raga ‘ . The entire flora seemed to be singing merrily the melodious tune of that ‘ raga ‘ . The pace of night had slowed down and it too was listening with rapt attention to the ‘ raga ‘ being sung by the flora in the forest . As if the night too was dancing merrily to the melodious tune of that ‘ raga ‘ .
Suddenly , there was a sound . Shekhar was standing there , wrapped in a shawl . Antara was thinking about his real name . Was he Shekhar or Vasudev ? A lovely smile played on his lips , akin to that lovely ‘ raga ‘ . The night moon was reflected in both his eyes . “ Who must have thought that the nature could sing this eternal ‘ raga ‘ ? “ She asked .
“ Nature itself teaches Nature . During the day time , leaves fall off the trees . With each passing night , the flora is aging . Nature teaches the flora to bloom again each morning . “ Shekhar’s face still donned a lovely smile . “ Nature is its own teacher . It is its own student . “
“ Really , “ said Antara , watching with enchantment the flora and the twinkling fire-flies . Shekhar took two steps forward and said without looking at Antara , “ The nature has a lot of patience along with the treasure of music . Have you ever seen total satisfaction along with intense feelings ? “ Now , Shekhar seemed to be proud of something. “ This musical programme does not wish for riches or glory . It doesn’t even need an audience . Nature itself is the singer , the musician and the audience . Anyone who can listen to this music and understand it , need not listen to and understand anything else . “
Antara wanted to say something . But Shekhar took his shawl and putting it on Antara’s shoulder , he said , “ It is cold out here . Please wrap the shawl around yourself . “ She wrapped the shawl tightly around herself . Shekhar turned back and left . But Antara wanted to partake of this ethereal music and scene for so long that it should remain etched in her mind throughout her life . So that it should become an indelible part of her memory . She continued to blissfully enjoy this heavenly music of nature . She had no idea how much time had passed . Suddenly , she heard the voice of someone’s singing . She was surprised . Someone was singing a song in the Ashram .
“ Let me touch the feet of the true teacher “ . This was undoubtedly Shekhar’s voice . He was singing the ‘ raga Khamash ‘ . The rhythm was the same : san san ni ni , dha dha ma ga , ga ma pa dha , san ni san . How could she forget the ups and downs of this ‘ raga ‘ ? It was the prayer for the Guru , the teacher . This was the favourite ‘ raga ‘ of Shekhar. It was the typical song that had the typical music . She ran towards the room of Shekhar . The sound of singing was coming from inside the room .
“ Please take away all sorrows . Please save me from the ills of the world … san san gan ma , gan gan ni sa , ni ni san , ni san ni dha . “
Antara lost her patience when she listened to the ups and downs of this musical ‘ raga ‘ . She started knocking at the door . The singing inside the room was disturbed . Antara had no patience . She started banging at the door .
There was a silence that pervaded the room for some time . Then , she could here the sounds of someone getting up and moving in the room . There was a sound of rustling of clothes . After a while , the door opened . Shekhar was present at the door .
“ What happened Antara ji ? What is the crisis ? “ Shekhar asked . Both his hands were blocking the door so it was difficult to peep inside through the door . Antara noted that Shekhar had not called her ‘ Devi ‘ or goddess this time but had called her by her name . She was agitated .
“ Shekhar used to sing this song of worship for the Guru . That means you are indeed Shekhar . You cannot lie to me now .
“ But I am not speaking any lie .” Shekhar replied in a calm and composed voice .
“ Is this not Shekhar’s song ? “ Antara’s agitated voice had a touching tinge to it .
“ Indeed , this is the song of Shekhar ji . “ Shekhar said and turned back inside the room . Antara followed him into the room .
“ Then why did you not accept that you are indeed Shekhar ? “ Antara said .
“ I still insist that I am not Shekhar . This song is recorded in the sound of Shekhar ji . Look at the C.D. Player kept over there . I listen to Shekhar ji’s songs . “
In the room , an earthen lamp had been lighted and it was placed on a square table . It’s fragile light had settled on the face of Shekhar . Rest of the room seemed to have rejected the light and was covered in darkness. Her agitated happiness got mixed up with the darkness in the room .
“ Antara ji , you are agitated as your search for Shekhar is still incomplete . You are agitated because you want to attain something . I too am agitated but for nothing . “
“ Yogi ji , “ Antara called him by this name for the first time . “ I have not yet reached the pinnacle of spirituality . I don’t even wish to be there . “ Her voice had a tinge of satire in it .
“ Our wishes mean nothing Antara ji . “ He spoke in a calm and composed voice . “ Wish is an illusion that is unseen in the womb of time . And … I am not a Yogi . I am just a person with a lot of curiosity . Some of my curiosity has been fulfilled . For quenching my other curiosities , I do some meditation . Music helps me in the meditation . Music holds me by the finger and shows me the way out of deviation . “ He said and fell silent . Silence engulfed the room . Antara did not utter a word . The tiredness of a pitiable defeat could be discerned from her face .
“ Do you worship here ? “ Antara observed the room but could not find any statue or picture of God . May be because a large portion of the room was enveloped in darkness .
“ I have faith in music . I have faith in the arts . If an art leads someone by holding his hand, the person does not need a separate God . Talented artists and musicians — whether they believe in God or not , are alone in their lives . For them , art is God . “ Antara could follow some things but not everything . She nodded and left the room to go to her room . Her heart was filled with a deep grief .
In the morning, she woke up early and got ready to leave . There was no reason left for her to stay here any further . Bhushan too got ready . He informed Antara , “ Guru ji is meditating . I have taken permission from him to leave . We will have some fruits and then start on our journey . “
After some time , they left the hermitage. Some time had passed while they travelled back . Suddenly from high above at a distance , the sound of singing could be heard . In the deep silence of the forest , the sound of singing was now resonating clearly . Antara stopped in her track .
Sa ni dha ni re re sa , re ga ma , ga ma pa
dha pa ma , re re sa , ga ma pa dha pa ma , pa dha …
Suddenly , Antara muttered something in the ‘ raga Ahir Bhairavi ‘ . It was Shekhar’s favourite raga . She felt a little impatient for a while . Then she took a long breath and could visualise Yogi ji listening with rapt attention to the soothing music. He must be meditating while listening to ethereal music . Then she started following Bhushan again . The tall trees of the forest were preventing the sunlight from reaching the ground . Bits and pieces of sunlight were spattered here and there .
After an arduous journey , when they reached the bridge , it was 4 o’ clock in the evening . The car was already there .
“ Come ma’am . It will be dark after a while . It will be difficult to drive on these roads full of pot-holes . There are no street-lights here . “ The driver took the bag from Bhushan and put it in the car . Antara just nodded in agreement . She moved towards the car but was startled and stupefied .
“ Did you say , there is no electricity here ? “ She asked the driver . “ This means there must not be any electricity in the Ashram too , nestled high above . “
“ You are right , ma’am , “ Bhushan intervened . “ Ma’am , there is no electricity in the villages perched down on the hills . How then can electricity be provided to the Ashram nestled high above in the hills ? There is indeed no electricity in the Ashram . That is why they had to light an earthen lamp or a lantern to provide light in the night . .”
Antara held the door of the car in stunned silence . Why did she overlook the fact that light is being provided in the Ashram by lighting earthen lamps and lanterns ? If this was the case , the question of playing a CD player without any electricity
did not arise .
There was no point left in returning to the Ashram . She sat silently in the back seat of the car . Bhushan sat in the front seat along with the driver. The car started moving . After sometime , Antara could see in the gathering dusk smoke emanating out of the few houses that were perched precariously in the hills . The beauty of the morning time had been engulfed by darkness . The wind was carrying a cumbersome dampness …
Translation from Hindi- Sushant Supriye
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