Spring in Winter

Part I


Time is a magical thing; less is it understood and more ambiguous. It’s both creator and destructor at the same time. It builds relationships and it will be the sole witness for things to shatter. You can never explain its ways. The day, which he never imagined at least in his last relationship before he had to commit to marriage, would never have ended that way. It’s been late he could understand that he should never be in love once again. He might be wrong at times but he never imagined that things happen in his life like this.


Amith who is twenty-nine years old, from the village which even Google feels hard to find it out on its map, is now in the middle of an ocean of emotions sitting on the shore alone. The clock struck 11 midnight and he broke his promise made to his love a year back that he would not touch alcohol ever again. He drank three full quarters from the full green bottle just beside him. Once again for the first time in the last 20 years, he cried his heart out. The tide was calm that evening, wind seized. Just the high rock, all spread sand and he was there in front of the vast bank of water alone and quiet, testing the time which tested him a few hours ago.


Let me begin it from his early youth which is almost 16 years ago. He was like any other young boy full of dreams and ambiguity in understanding things. He is the only kid to his loving parents, which stood a benefit of having all their time for himself. He never waited for things that attracted him and was given whatever he wished for. However, he is well under the eye of his mother always. She, unlike his father, is strict in matters of discipline. That turned sometimes into a hard task to deal with. He is an explorer of new lands, of course on a smaller scale. The explorations, for this child Columbus, sometimes turned much more problematic.


On Sundays, generally, he wakes up early than he does on weekdays to explore the four paths that lead to some unknown lands about which he has less knowledge about. The less known is much pinching desire to know. At such an age there would be more questions than answers. Most of those questions have to be answered by experience itself than explanations. He tried to find most of the answers in his own way, once was scolded by his mother, for being a CID officer that too when she was very busy with her household work.


He, on a Sunday, planned to explore the east which is the sun’s abode. He has seen the sun emerge in all his grace out from there lots many times, but from exactly where? What’s there at the far end of the village? What could I find if I walk along the path until I’m tired? These questions propelled him for it. He, now, is all ready for it.

 

Part II


Early morning at 5 he woke up before anyone could wake up at home sneaking out like a cat he excelled in the art of silent walking. He is much cautious not to make any sound that could wake his grandmother up. Ever since her husband passed away, it seems she became an insomniac. She is the one who wakes up early among others. He opened the door, which is recently repaired to shut its mouth from doing the creaking sound. The door itself was a faithful guard for the home.


Whenever someone opens it, it rings a creaking alarm to the inmates. But its loyalty to the inmates was taken wrong and the carpenter was called to lubricate it. Finally, he came out of his house without being noticed. It’s 5:15 now and he is headed towards his trusted companion Raju. For relation they are cousins, but before relations, they are good friends. He stealthily sneaked into their verandah and took a stick that he got under the big Neem tree in front of the house to poke Raju and wake him up.


He opened the unbolted window that is next to Raju’s bed and poked him in the stomach, soon to hear a thunderous cry “Thief! Thief! Thief!.” Baffled by the cry he jumped over the wall and hid. It was not Raju but his grandmother! He was struck in shit before he could realize that he had committed a blunder. He hid like a rat in the hole, fearing the consequences. He can’t really get to the reason why that idiot slept somewhere else, even though he was informed about the plan last night!?


Grandmother’s cry woke everyone up along with Raju. It doesn’t take much time for Raju to understand what really happened. He slipped himself into his dress and came out saying “Don’t worry! No one is here and I will see if someone is there out.” Though he knew he is a non-entity in his house, he pretended to be like the hero. He saw a detective movie last night and slipped off.


He found Amith and had his hand on his shoulder silently, for which Amith jumped and started running, thinking that he got caught before he saw back. Raju could not control his laughter. Amith heard the laughter and stopped; now it was his turn to take revenge. He ran towards him to punch him in the face, noticing the approaching danger Raju started running away. Both ran until they got tired. The anger was washed away along with the energy.


Then they stopped and this time both laughed. One more companion added up in the next minute Raghu joined the team. Forgot to say Raghu is the third in their adventurous journey. As he was warned not to be late, if so he would be excluded from the team, Raghu reached the place long back. Unknowingly these two ran in the proper direction, to the mango grove in the east. Actually, all three relate to one another. Amith’s and Raju’s houses are located adjacent but Raghu’s is on the next street.


The trio is now on a great adventure, that they can boast of on the next day in school. They joyfully set their first step towards the long journey, having the least idea about the consequences that would bring upon them.

 

Part III


Raghu and Raju both are one or two years younger than Amith. They study in the same school and they think the same. No doubt bondages flourish when people are of the same mindset. In India, there won’t be any specialist lawyers for divorce cases if youth are allowed to choose one from their friends as their life partners. These three never differ in the opinion that is a magical thing. They walked past the coconut groves towards the east; still, the sun is feeling shy to show his full face on that winter morning. The solitude of the vicinity is all for them. Swinging on the cashew tree branches that welcome with their cosy branch cradles, playing with sand, forgetting the time, they are pacing towards the east.


On their way, they met one of their acquaintances from the village and greeted him with a friendly smile on their faces, like the kind you see on television for toothpaste advertisements. He did not smile back and cast a doubtful glance. In a moment the smile has vanished from their faces but not their endeavour. They walked past him and Raghu turned back to see whether the man was still looking at them. He expressed his doubt asking “If he informs us at home about our location?” Amith replied, “Let him do it. We shall not fear a cuckold.”


But still, he nurtured some doubt in his mind about the revelation and hid it from the other two. They on their way saw a tree full of “Gulab Jamuns”. The word “Gulab jamun” for those fruits might have been given by some uneducated botanists in the village. They actually don't know its name but still, they knew that the fruit’s taste was awesome. Raju climbed the tree and shook the branches, Amith and Raghu collected as many as they can from the ground. They filled their pockets until they popped out. Then from there, they resumed the journey eating the fruits. For almost two hours they walked to listen to some loud thunderous roaring sound. They can't come to a conclusion, about what it is. Raghu asked, “Where are we?”


Amith retorted “hmm! Let me have a glance at the map” and poked his hand into his shorts pocket, as soon as the other two noticed his tomfoolery ran to him to bring him down. Amith ran with loud laughter toward the sound coming direction, the other two followed Amith joyously. Once they crossed the Casuarina tree plantation all of them stood transfixed with wide-open mouths, seeing the picture in front of them. The vast bank of the water, the Bay of Bengal, the finest of their dreams is all spread miles in front of them. The joy, oozing in their hearts, is unclaimed. For a while, they could not speak but to watch one another with glittering eyes. The world has many fine things around and one needs a probing mind to get all those.


Amith, Raghu and Raju now are the sole owners of the sand that spread all over the shore, the tides that never stopped bringing foam to their feet and the water which appeared that has almost touched the sky. They removed their shirts and jumped into the water and started playing, unnoticing the time. They climbed the steep sand hills and rolled down to climb again. They collected different coloured pebbles and shells, dug crab holes and built sandcastles and adorned the tops with soft colour wildflowers. Amidst all these pleasure-giving tasks they forgot to notice something very important, time.


Actually, no one in that gang has a watch and they were too busy to notice the stand of the mighty sun either. Time, as I have stated earlier, is all-powerful. At that moment time is turning to be a villain in their lives. They plunged into the water one last time to wash their sand-bathed bodies, before leaving for home towards their awaiting fate.

 

Credits

Proofread by R. K. Chamarla.


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