Chapter Ten: Wake Up!
I woke up with a start and reached for a pen and paper on the bed-side table. I started to sketch and the lines just flowed. I had dreamt of an image, a waterfall gushing into a still pond. The water landed on a lotus flower, that remained unperturbed by the heavy force of the water. I did not know what it meant, but within me, it stirred a sense of peace. I wanted to capture that picture in my mind onto paper. It became an incessant urge within me.
I hunted for my canvas and painting artillery. I had not painted in a long time. I impatiently squirted the paint onto the easel and my fingers began flowing. It was the journey of a life time. Sometimes the brush walked and at other times it ran. My fingers traversed the canvas for nearly four hours.
I finished the painting with a feeling of discovery. I had found something, and this time, I would not let it go.
I was looking in the wrong place! While I was busy moping over my luck, there was someone waiting to help me. Little Kajal had been silently watching me and shyly came to me with her hands behind her back. She leaned on my bike and waited to catch my attention.
Her father owned a chai stall closeby and their house stood adjacent to it. That was my place of residence for last night. It was the most wonderful experience for a traveller. I had transitioned from a tourist to a local, overnight!
A family of six, six-year-old Kajal is the naughtiest of them all. Her laughter is contagious and her fearlessness, an inspiration. It makes me think whether I too was so bold when I was young. I am not sure I like growing up at all, at this point. I can feel the fear and cynicism creeping in. Perhaps I need a friend like Kajal to remind me to stay a child forever.
This family’s hospitality amazes me. It also amazes me how big-hearted people can be. I feel almost disgusted of having lived in a city - so much for progress and modernity. This is a better life, a simpler one. But I am not too sure how I’d survive like this for long. I am, unfortunately, a spoilt, city child.
Kajal’s father also got his friend to fix my bike. This means it is time to leave. When I tell Kajal this, she cries. I hug her, but I wonder why this child weeps at my exit, having known me barely for half a day. Did she think I was here forever? We are all on this journey, travelling our own paths. But when they cross, we are thankful to have met, I want to tell her. I am starting to realize now, that perhaps the same rule applies for my father’s exodus.