A night on the mountains with APa

On way to Merak...
Many summers ago, one cold winter night, my father and I were taking rest under a huge rhododendron tree on our way to a nearby place called Merak. We made fire by collecting dried moss and broken branches.  We had our dinner that was packed into Bangchung by mother in the morning. Both of us were tired due to a long day’s walking uphill. As we lay on the bare earth covered with dried leaves for warmth, gazing at the open night sky, I could hear the splashing sound of a small brook that ran nearby in the woods. My restless mind was wandering to areas as vast as the open sky. I could smell the refreshing aroma of fresh soil of the forest and would take a deep breath or two to rejoice my senses.

 There was a peaceful silence in the jungle minus the occasional howling of a pack of fox or a sudden gush of wind through the woods. Father was humming some old songs. I was watching the shooting stars fly from north to south and wonder where it must have fallen from the sky. Occasionally, the cool breeze would sweep through the forests. Few red petals of rhododendron flowers would fall on my face. I would pick up the petals and suck the nectar. Father would advise me not to do so as flowers of the mountains were considered to be medicinally poisonous. We got asleep pretty fast as we both were tired.

The next morning I woke up and went to the nearby brook to wash my face. Along the bank of the little brook, I could see countless hues and shades of plants and flowers: all extremely appealing to pot and grow at home. I took ample sips of the cold pure water of the mountain and filled our bottles for the journey. Father told me that water on the mountain was like elixir of life. It cleansed our body and mind because it flowed through the roots of medicinal herbs high on the mountains. I still believe in this.

When the first rays of the morning sun fell on the mountain, we started our remaining journey. On our way we crossed tens of mountains and valleys and rivers. We came across yaks, horses, goats, sheep and shepherds.  We could hear merry yak herders and nomads singing songs from atop the mountains. And when the sun was beginning to set, when roosters started to crow in the evening, when shepherds returned to their home, when conch shell was being blown from the temple, we reached the beautiful village of Merak. The village of joy and happiness.


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