And, when autumn descended upon falling wings of September, I was floating on soft cradle of those white clouds that had just parted with monsoon breeze. I could still hear murmurs of their moaning souls. I wandered and wondered; over those snowy peaks, rusty alpine steppes and yellow vales. The earth seemed to wipe off all scars of boundaries that nations drew upon her innocent face. On neither side were enemies; on either side spread profound calmness of the Himalayas.
It was moments full of some unforgettable walk; some walkways full of those unforgettable moments. With souls embracing my soul, we treaded on to nowhere. It was the 27th evening when Vasundhara opened her innocuous eyes—two tiny emerald green and a blue—and, from deep within her unfathomable depth had risen crowning emotions of mount Kamet, Mana, Ganesh and Deoban. It was my birthday! It was special for it to be there by those sacred pools which merged countries and margins that are all meant to stay apart. It was more special to have my lone friend in childhood—lady of my love—and, one of her chosen creations, all by my side in an eerie dusk that cloaked us in its warm beauty from freezing chill of mountain breeze at 16000 feet. But, the most special it was for a lone tune that flew from her sweet lips...“Ud jayega Hans akela...”. I wept, in mirth, in birth, in death, in faith and within sleeves of my failings.
It was another winter night. A ten year boy spilled out on busy city roads for the first time to attend famous music conference. He walked on, softly clinging wrinkled palm of his father—still confident, still warm—to taste what he hadn’t thought yet to be blowing his mind of for the rest of life. It was the first winter for him—and his father too—to miss someone whom they had so dearly loved and so terribly missed then.
It was music of which I still have a little comprehension. Yet, it was quite unusual for me in not having passion for music in an environment where rich flow of its stream had so evidently had its impression. It was a nightlong programme and I was nearly asleep. And, then came a blow—a gust of wind, a tempest...it surged up and up....let all emotions swirl within an invisible stir and its resonance touched every corners, dwarfing the sky to stoop down and it blew on...“Ud jayega Hans akela...”.
I didn’t understand meaning of a single word that echoed out of trembling lips of the legendary Kumar Gandharva. It was not my age to value what they meant also. But, tears rolled down. A ceaseless stream flowed, unknowingly irrigating virgin valleys of a tender soul. It was all for me to get into an eddy where I would struggle to let free myself of pains of severance and also long for those nicest moments of bondage within the world where my mom and I only reigned in. I never knew before that music could be so potent, so sacred, and all pervasive. And, I wept on inconsolably for reasons I hadn’t understood then. When it was almost dawn—a new dawn—we came out; a life had a new life, a new dimension that it had never thought to be existing before. It was my father who gently said, “You will weep again when you grow more, and try to feel what it all means”.
It took me years to learn Hindi. I had to learn it to get through compulsory exams after I joined civil services; yet it was just a moderate knowledge which couldn’t empower me to appreciate literary contents expressed in that language. Again, it was she—the girl of my childhood—who eloquently explained meaning of some nicest literary compositions. Amongst those was a Kabir’s bhajan that once penetrated within a child’s soul so subtly like a falling autumn leaf knowing not why the fall was, what meant its past and where would the breeze carry it to.
The tune that slowly brought out me out of trammels in my soul, took all care to let me learn beyond set symbols had also enthused me to listen to melodies of life. Each word added newer melodies to my emotions, laid newer roses of faith upon my consciousness and, went on turning newer pages of my life.
From within its subterranean profundity flourished an ivy of my flowering appreciation of life that grew up embracing essence of being here, of life being born and reborn through myriad forms of creative sense and of its endless cycle in which imperishable spectra of an incomprehensible wholeness would go on sowing newer seeds of consciousness, let it bloom and leave newer imprints.
I learned again it was not my birthday; it was for another birthday of life !
I went on listening to her; somewhat with my soul submerged within her lips, within her soul, within the bliss of life, within emotions of creations....
“Ud jayega Hans akela, jag darshan ka mela,
Jaise paat gire taruvar se, milna bahut duhela,
Na jane kidhar girega, lageya pawan ka rela... ”
It whispered, “Alone the soul would fly away, leaving all allurements, all crowns of glories of this worldly presence behind. Who knows where would the gust of severance from unique wholeness carry it to while smudging images of its entire past embodiment? Who knows where would the tempest carry a fallen leaf of a giant tree and who would find it where it was and where it would be?
And, I let myself being immersed in a wide pool of recess—a long pause of silence !!