Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Raju: Life then and now

It was a beautiful evening and the soothing wind blew through my face. I was running along the with my dog on the hill slopes. These hills were dusty in the summer and green in the rainy season. I was only a 5 year old  kid then when my dad would take me and my dog, jojo to these hills on the outskirts of the city. I remember all those days with my dad and jojo. Dad would take me there usually an hour before the sunset and we would climb one of those dusty tracks to the top of the hill and sit there till the sun set. Away from the city, away from all the noise, the hustle bustle and drama of the city life. There tracks were actually dirt tracks made by dirt bikers over a long time. Sometimes on the weekends I would see these bikers racing on these hills. Man likes to even challenge the inert earth, make his way through the wilderness, climb the steepest mountains and jump from the highest fall. He loves the thrill of danger when his life is at stake. Man cannot rest; he needs an obstacle, a hurdle, a challenge and he has the strength and power of mind to over come the impediments.Sometimes he fails and sometimes he wins but nonetheless his spirit is unimpeded. 

Jojo was the quickest and I was next in climbing these hills. Dad would shout from the back, "slow down Raju beta! you will fall down. Jojo has four legs, she can climb fast but you have to be careful." Though we humans think we are the masters of nature and animals, Jojo showed me that it had an edge over me in our hill climbing expeditions. Jojo was a Labrador mix; I learned the love for animals from Jojo; she was a clever animal beyond what I expected. Labrador's by nature are lovely animals and one of the best dogs for a child to grow up with.

When we climbed to the top of our favorite hill Dad would like me to sit in his lap and ask me to observe the changing colors of the sunset sky. Orange, blue, golden were the usual colors. Sometimes I would see streaks of white and gray with the mingling of the floating clouds. Jojo would not rest even on the top of the hill. She would like to run, experiment with new obstacles on the slopes of the hills. I would sometimes go, collect stones and throw them as high and far as I can. Dad would smile and always caution me to be careful. Dad would sit and watch the sunset. I think that meant a lot to him. I could see that he found the peace in those sublime moments of nature.

I would run in great enthusiasm to the top the the hill and shout to my dad that our car looks so small now from the top. Everything looks so small. The tarmac road and the passing cars would look like a toy setting. I could feel the heavy presence of the huge dark mountains on the backdrop of the hills. I would say to dad, " I would like to climb those mountains."
And dad would smile and say," when you grow up!"
When one is a child one likes to achieve everything. Climb the top of the mountain, be a pilot and wander through the sky, be a truck and heavy machine driver, be a construction worker or a gardener. Everything seems possible and one dreams of being
like our dad or a full grown up man to achieve those ends. When one is young one feels like being a strong man and on the other hand, when one is in his adulthood one feels like going back to childhood and innocence. That I say is the illusion of time.