KAMA SUTRA OF LOVE.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
After that taxing session, the simpletons were exhausted and wanted to take some rest. They lay down on the grass verge and rolled themselves to and fro and thus recovered their usual exuberant behaviour. In spite of his protests, they put him on their donkey and wanted to accompany him on his journey. He was riding the donkey and the two simpletons playing their flutes and singing beside him. It was quite a spectacle and brought smiles on the onlookers’ faces. After a few miles, the simpletons had enough of dancing, music making and frolicking and left him to his own and he carried on his journey until he hit another village.

Submitted: October 08, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 08, 2013

A A A

A A A


KAMA  SUTRAOFLOVE.

 

 

KARAN

 

 

Smiling eyebrows are opened

Who does not know?

Yet nobody knows.

 

It can aptly be said about love. There are few of us who know about love and even fewer who practice this art of loving. No one can generalize about it; it is sufficient into itself and could be different for each individual.

 

The flat lands of Punjab have seen numerous kingdoms, tribes, people, poets and lovers.

It is an ancient land but has renewed itself so often, through its peoples and their movements that it seems to be always modern in its aspects of culture and outlook.

 

 On the typographical map Punjab is marked at the head of India subcontinent and is situated at its northern most corner, just below the Himalya mountains with their perpetual snow and its original Sanskrit name was designated by people in accordance with its perpetual icy bound crags. Him’ means ice and alya means the house, so the whole designation was given Himalya as the house of snow or the house of ice. It took millions of years for Indian sub-continent to drift northward from the south pole and then as it collided with the Asian continent, the result was the formation of the high mountain chains, the highest mountain range in the world. It is still growing as the impact and pressure of Indian subcontinent plate keep pushing itself against the Asian plate.

 

In summer seasons when the ice melted, a drainage system of rivers was established and the five rivers flowing through Punjab plains gave its name to the land as the ‘land of five rivers’

 

 It has these rivers running through its body, like the veins carrying its precious lifeblood. These life-giving waters have their resource in the lofty Himalya, in the land of icy Tibetan uplands, a plateau where various goddesses of the wilds have their abodes amid the high stony crags of wild winds.

 

This land has seen the dawn of human history and spanning of various cultures. Once the poets and metaphysicians held their breath at the site of its fertile and lush plains, surrounded by the lofty mountains. They sang their praises of gratitude to its panoramic life – its birds, wildlife, warmth of plains and abundant harvests of grain and fruits. India is surrounded by lofty mountains in the north and the sea on its triangular shores and for the invaders to filter through, the only safe route had been, through some high passes across mountains in the northwestern frontier of the continent, through which the invaders had poured down at regular intervals into Punjab plains, since the dawn of the history.

 

In common all the invaders wanted to capture, the throne of Hindustan at Delhi, the heart of India but before they got to Delhi, they had to travel through Punjab and as a result this land bore the brunt of invading armies, with their pre-occupations for murders, rapes and loots. As a result the Punjabis developed a fierce characteristics of fighting spirit, a taste for liberty and resistance.

 

 Rang Mala is a pleasant village on the banks of the river Satluj. It is not an enormous village but with a population of nearly two thousand souls it can hold its own. The land around the village is fertile due to network of irrigation canals and proximity of that river and this has led to prosperity of its people, both financially and culturally.

 

The head of Mahal family is a proud man and is the chief landowner of the village. He is the head of the local village council too and runs various charitable institutes. As a highly respected member of the community, he is looked up to by all the village folks. People seek his help and guidance, whenever difficulties arise. He has a large family with four sons and two daughters.

 

 Most of the sons and daughters are clever, worldly-wise, and practical. Three sons are clever with their hands and brains, expert in tilling the land and managing the farms. They have been educated and their aim is to extend their family fortunes and bring more prosperity by way of commerce, branching out into various commercial enterprises.

 

The youngest son Karan Mahal is the exception to the rule and has been different from others since his birth and his father also has noticed it. Karan always had that dreamy look about him and with his long hair and love of music, he has become unpopular with his brothers due to his ‘feminine’ ways. On the contrary he has become the favourite son of his father and to the annoyance of other brothers.

 

He has his flute with him all the time and composes songs and music whenever he can. As in most of the families an artistic temperament is not appreciated and thus has bred contempt among other siblings. But to him the music was his need to exist as to take part in the whole panorama of life and moreover it had less material aspirations then the material outlook of the at the mankind intent on making money at all cost at the expense of their emotional life.

 

 His solitude taught him wisdom and his music gave him a small entrance into the reality of things both visible and invisible. He was amazed at relentless pulse of life but found that music gave him a static harmony in which his life could find a refuge. Most people considered it as an escape but to a sensitive mind like his, it was not an escape from life but away in to taste it more intensely. Real living took place at each instant and that instant was constantly moving and changing. The wise thing was to open his ears at each instant and the music in all its rawness before one’s thinking turn it into an abstract pattern, conforming to pre- established symbolic modes and into which everybody was doing to escape to, from the dictates of complex reality.

 

 His brothers hated his appearance, his mannerism, his dress code and his sensitivity and tenderness in dealing with others. It seemed that he would have a hard life ahead of him as his siblings considered him to be a slur on family’s good name and thus surely would bring shame on his family.

 

All the brothers usually ganged up against him or against his idleness and despite his father’s protest; he was assigned to a menial job like grazing the family’s cattle in the fields. His brothers are overjoyed as it was considered to be the lowest possible job and which was normally assigned to the outcasts of the society.

 

Without much protest Karan took this job willingly and gladly took the cattle to the wilderness for grazing, on daily basis. He even began to like it as a great relief away from family’s constant bickering. Open fields, grasslands and wilderness suited to his poetical temperament. He could respond emotionally to different seasons, different crops and different lengths of the days and all the seasonal changes. He found inner peace and harmonies in his flute and the music he played and in the songs he composed. Even cows, buffaloes, goats became his fans and listened to him attentively. People remarked that since he took up grazing, his cattle have become more docile and placid.

 

In the morning, Karan would unchain all the animals, buffaloes, cows and some goats and with a lathi in his shoulder, he would direct the animals to the open fields outside the village boundaries. He was always on the lookouts for the fields of barren lands on which no crop could be cultivated but had plenty of fresh grass in their folds. He also looked for some trees with good foliage as to give protection from the afternoon sun when it became too hot to bear it out more than few minutes. Here he felt the earth’s current, with their upward energy flow from sunrise to about mid day when one’s heart cultivated messages of hope and contentment and then one became so enthusiastic about the warm rays of sunshine which infused life and energy into one’s existence. After the night’s cold embrace, the little creatures and birds of the land extended their arms upwards to receive supplicants of the sun.

 

 It always prompted him to play on his flute some ascending notes, inspiring ones, with grace in their feet and courage in their arms, to face the life with its luminosities and shadows. It was different at mid day when he had taken his meals and appeased his hunger, when he felt a daze, to sleep away that laziness under the shades of the trees.

To him it was an idealized existence with love of his father at home and his love of countryside outdoors. He soon realized that there were riches and puzzles right before his mind’s eye and one had to learn how to decipher those. All around him were forms and feelings, which were sort of symbols, and if one could learn to decipher those, one could enter into different worlds of complexity and explorations. There were worlds within worlds and it was the task of his human brain not to get frightened of those but find hidden truths, which could make life tolerable and richer.

 

We are so conditioned by the obvious and mundane and find it hard to believe that there is something beyond the forms which are seen around us and then ignored, like the bee which is interested in just extracting the juices from flowers in order to make honey for its community at large and for the bee queen or its off springs. There were more meaningful things beyond these utilitarian preoccupations. While living in that ‘idealized’ state of affairs, he had his secret fears that it might end suddenly one day.

 

 On day while working in the fields, Karan’s father fainted and fell down. A labourer picked him up and brought him home. When the news went out, all the family came rushing and gathered around his bed, worried, grim faced but try to assure the father that he should not worry unduly as he was going to recover and get up soon to resume his normal duties but he knew it instinctively that there was something drastically wrong with his body.

 

 Nobody bothered to tell Karan about the bad news and only when he arrived home in the evening after grazing the cattle that he was told about it. He straightaway ran to his father’s bedside and crying put his head on his father’s chest. His father caressed and kissed him and told him that he was going to be well soon and would be with him for many moons to come.

 

 But as the days passed his father began to wither away slowly under the onslaught of some deadly disease. As the time passed the family became used to the situation and did not much bothered about him and left him alone to cope with the illness. Karan was the only one to look after him and cared tenderly for his father, forgetting his sleep and his work, to the annoyance of his brothers; as they have to employ someone else for grazing the animals.

 

His father was getting weaker and weaker and with great loss of weight each day and had to be carried in his arms by Karan, for bathing and other bodily functions. He ate less and less and when Karan carried him around he became like a bag of skeleton with haggard face and form, which caused much grief to the compassionate heart of Karan. After about six months of illness, the physician told the family that there was not much hope left for him and that in a few days time he would leave his mortal remains behind. Karan’s mind became agitated and as a consequence of unable to share his grief with others, he became greatly depressed.

 

 The day his father died, he collapsed with grief and was much abused by his brother for his womanly behaviour, resulting in great amount of shrieks and lamentation. It was first time that he had seen a dying person and had to come face to face with death and it was simply horrible. It was strange to see a person lying there as a corpse with no human feelings to communicate. How could a person to whom you have loved all your life disappear in an instant and never to return again as to feel warmth and love from him anymore. What was the use of having all those relationship and have attachments, which could end like that?

 

At last funeral rites were observed and he saw the funeral pyre on which his father’s body was burning. The tongues of flame licked it; with hungry hissing and crackling noises until it was turned into a black mass of charred skeleton and which in the end became a heap of ashes. His mind became numb looking at it and he lost his sense of living and any taste for life.

 

 After forty days of mourning his family gathered to talk about the things and directions to which the family was to go. They had to divide the land, property and the money left over by the deceased. The share due to the girls were set aside for their dowries as when the girls got married. They did not think that Karan deserved equal share of that booty and was deemed as not deserving anything out of their father’s estate. When he protested he was just assigned a barren piece of land where he could graze the family’s cattle. The best arable lands and finest properties went to his brothers.

 

Suddenly without his father, he had become a stranger to the family as everybody ignored him and he was left on his own, even to cook his own meals. Once when he tried to stand for himself against the will of the family and confronted them, he only suffered abuse and physical violence. He found his own home turned into a prison with hostility and suffocation around him everywhere. Why to cling to those things, which no longer belonged to you? He decided to leave his village for good.

 

 The day of departure for Karan soon arrived. At night he went into his room, he gathered all his belongings, which were not much and tied them into a bundle to carry on his shoulders through the journey .In the morning while it was still dark, he stepped out of the house into the open road under the cloudless skies. It was early and still dark, in order to avoid the eyes of curious villagers .The skies were full of countless stars hanging around in silent whispers. Lots of them were twinkling as if beckoning to Karan.  He thought that those clusters of the stars were like the lighted lamps of a Diwali night.

 

He wondered whether there were other worlds like his own and inhabited by folks like us,

suffering pain and degradations and going outdoors in their nights to seek some solace from the universe at large. He wanted to get lost in that array of brilliant diamonds. The fields, irrigation canals and even the air seemed to reflect their glory. For a moment he forgot his loneliness and sat on a boulder in contemplation, praising such miracles of nature.

 

 He woke up from the reverie by barking of a lone dog, heralding the arrival of the dawn and soon other dogs responded indicating that they were awake too and a symphony of barking ensued. A farmer scolded the dog for waking him up so early, with few hours of comfort left to taste the warmth of his bed.

 

 

After leaving his village and for want of direction, he just followed the river and walked along its mounded banks. The ground was wet with dewy grass and small birds were fluttering in and out of the tall reeds along the bank. In the dim light the river looked like a molten glistening surface. Soon the orange disc of the sun would appear and would dye the landscape in its golden colour. The coolness of the air would disappear; bring in first the warmth and then the heat of the day. It was a good time to travel.

 

His heart was a bit lighter but soon the remembrance of things past turned into a heavy burden. He again remembered the death of his father and things turned sour in his mind. When a person who was close to you suddenly vanishes, he leaves a terrible vacuum behind. When they are alive and with you, you take them for granted and even never realize that they had carved a niche within yourself, which unknowingly becomes a part of your life. You are glad to carry that human warmth around you giving meaning and purpose to life but when these are removed by a stroke of bad luck, it becomes so hard to recover from this cruel blow. It takes time in getting used to it.

 

 You try to lock that quarter of being which used to be their place of residence and forget about it for a while but then the guilt sets in and unable to face this guilt you unlock again the room in which their memory resides to restore again the anguish.

 

It was getting lighter now. The sun had sent its harbinger and scouts to clear the ways for its arrival. Soon this news spread around and a flock of birds took to sky to greet the arrival of the sun. They few in unison, in formation, with exquisite mass movement flocked in as if with some inner tune and a dance formation.

 

  Few farmers were all ready up and moving to their fields. The set the ploughs on the their shoulders with their bullocks leading the way. They were clicking their tongues to direct their broad shouldered oxen. The oxen were making pleasing movements with their head bobbing, setting in motion the jingling music of their bells around the necks.

Soon they passed and slowly the music faded away in the clear light of the day.

 

………………..

 

He had been walking for few hours and was now feeling tired and decided to rest by the edge of the water. He saw his reflection in the water, firstly in a broken rippled way but then moor smoothly. He noticed that the reflection was looking at him and then beckoned him to come closer and meet him.

He walked into the shallow waters and the reflection told him that there was a way out of his anguish, he should come to meet it in the depth of the river where he would meet the

easeful end of his being. He felt a sort of trance where his thinking faculty was turned off momentarily. He decided to jump into the river.

 

 A Shepard walked into the vicinity with his flock of sheep and goats and suddenly the reality brought Karan to his senses and he woke with a sudden start. He saw a distant temple spires and followed the path l towards it and soon he was in the temple compound. He was hungry and tired and put his bundle against the wall and sat there contemplating the countryside and his fate.

 

He soon fell asleep escaping the painful memories, into a sort of oblivion but soon was awakened by a noise and saw himself surrounded by an army of layabouts. There were as usual the village simpletons- work shy, beggars and other lazy fellows who wanted to escape the hard task of tilling the ground.

 

 

They were staring at him, for him to awake and had stolen his flute on which they were trying to play a tune to the amusement of the crowd. Each one was trying in his turn but a pitiful; jarring noise was coming at the other end of the flute. It did not bother the crowd, as they were clapping, dancing, shrieking and laughing at the antics of the bad players f the flute. When they saw Karan waking up, they urged him to play something on his flute to cheer them up.

 

 Karan was surprised at their demands as he did not know them and neither they knew about his flute playing. It seems that his reputation had already preceded his arrival.

He was in no mood to entertain the crowd and this annoyed the crowd a great deal.

 

Two lads came around and started chatting to him. Karan could not detect whether they were simpletons or were just clever enough to exploit him emotionally to gain their ends. They did not seemed to him baring any malice towards him but imply were trying to goad him, to play some music on his flute. When he refused, they flattered him with all sort of niceties. They told him they he was great musician who stole people’s heart with the deepness of his music. Soon they brought a donkey and offered to give him a ride on their stallions. Karan looked at the half starved donkey, with its meek and humble looks and felt a sort of kinship with it.

 

Some farmer’s wives passed that way, carrying food for their husbands as their midday meals. They were carrying pots of sour milk on their heads and bundles of chapattis and saag wrapped around cleanly and tucked in their scarves. The sight of the crowd tickled their curiosity and they came around to look as to what was happening and it was also something to break their routine and monotony.

 

 When they saw Karan sitting there, haggard and tired looking, they offered to him some food in exchange for some music played on his flute. Theses were gentle women and good-looking too and soon their charms did the trick and he offered to play something for them in exchange for their food. They put some chapattis and cooked vegetables on a plate to give him and also poured some sour milk for him to drink. He was so engrossed in his grief and have not spoken to anybody for sometime and it was pleasant o eat their tasty food and get some attention and fill his stomach.

 

He took the flute, put to his lips and blew into it and involuntary a passionate tune came out at the other end, receding and advancing, telling the tales, sorrowful and moving about the life’s vagaries and injustices, of loneliness of each being and his search for a little love.

It touched every heart in the congregation and some were even had a lump in their throat. The sound of s music brought in bigger crowd and even shepherds with their flock came to listen. Karan soon forget his loneliness and tunes just poured in. The magic of the music induced in everyone a sort of sympathy for him and human companionship.

 

 

 The playing went on for sometime until the farmers wives decided to move on, as their husbands were expecting the mid day meals and any delay was bound to cause some friction and suspicion in their minds. Karan was glad to have met those pretty ladies and having eaten their food but the gatherings of layabouts was not so easy to disperse. They have caught the mood of enjoyment for themselves, which did not happen often in their lives and so were ready to prolong this period irrespective of whether they were annoying him. They pulled Karan within a circle and urged him to play more and more but

when he refused, they appealed to his finer emotions, to take pity on them as their lives were full of misery and least thing he could do was to give them more time for a bit of entertainment. There was nothing to stop them now as they were dancing, shrieking or just jumping about.

 

As the afternoon rolled on and the shadows lengthened, the mob slowly moved away and Karan’s anxiety returned with a double dose. Where he was going to go, what was he going to do with his life? He thought about his next move, which was hard to envisage. As happens in those moments of indecisions, he decided to stay put at the temple at least for that night.

 

  Soon the priest of the temple came along to open it for the evening but was not pleased to see him there. He unlocked the inner sanctuary but told him to stay out and not to enter it. Karan was hurt by this treatment and was annoyed with the priest and straight away asked the reason for it. The priest told him that there were no good qualities in him, he was a vagabond without any hearth or home and furthermore he was misleading the youths by enticing them with his music and thus leading them into vagrancy and lewdness.

 

Karan told him that he did not have much respect for his kind of priesthood as he was misleading the people with his outward guise of piety but inside he was cunning like a fox. He had found a good way of deceiving people by granting them the divine protection in exchange for pieces of silver. Lots of barren women were coming to the sanctuary and he was performing rituals for their fertility and giving them sacred threads and amulets to be worn around their necks. Furthermore he was not sure whether he was taking some form of advantages of those women behind their husband’s backs.

 

 There were heated arguments between the two and at one time the enraged priest had the intention of taking Karan by the lapel and physically throw him out of the temple but was put off by the arrival of the evening worshippers. The priest thought it was best to keep quiet in front of his congregation. He told Karan that he could spend the night in the temple complex but had to move before the dawn of the following day.

 

The priest came to the temple very early in the morning while Karan was still asleep and shook him violently and told him to get up, which woke him up with a shock He did not know what was happening as he was still dazed with the sleep. The priest told him to roll up his bedding, collect his things and be out of his temple immediately. Karan told him to let him sleep until the sunrise but he would not listen to any of his pleadings. Karan gathered up all his possessions and as soon he was out of the temple door, the priest locked the front door behind him and without any further conversation went away on his way.

 

 Stupefied and half dazed, karan sat on the temple steps till it was sunrise. He had suffered enough humiliations from one and sundry and was really hurt by all that treatment. He had no plan as what to do next and he decided to walk by the river in the direction he had already taken. He conjectured that there must be more human habitations and possibly a village where he will try to find some work. He was not afraid of any hard work and was not particular on any sort of work as long as he was treated with a little respect and could keep his body and soul together.

 

Soon the morning arrived and sun was up, he was just starting his journey and he saw some figures coming towards him and when they came near him, he recognized two of the lads from previous night’s fracas. They were with a donkey and seemed to be happy of demeanor. They introduced themselves as the two village boys, Ramu and Shamu. Karan recognized them as the village simpletons and did not want to get involved with them.

 

‘ Where are you going?’ Ramu asked him

‘I do not know.’ Karan replied

Both were in a grip of laughter and were so pleased with his answer.

‘That is the best way to travel when you do not know where you are going’ they replied

and agreed with each other that that was the best way to travel when one is not aware of one’s destiny. When you don not know a single thing that means you know everything else. That was the logic the two simpletons were indulging in. Karan thought they were trying to make a fool of himself but when he looked at their faces, there was no trace of either malice or ridicule, they generally believed in what they were saying and furthermore he thought they were trying to help him.

 

They asked him whether he had his breakfast yet and when Karan replied that he had not and also he could not afford it, as he had no money with him, their faces dropped as if with genuine concern for him. They told him that they would do something about it. Ramu found some old bricks in the fields and with theses he made a sort of hearth while Shammu went in search for some dry branches and discarded twigs. From a satchel astride the donkey’s back, they took out a metallic vessel to boil the water. While the water was boiling, they brought out some cups and some stale rotis. They made some tea and invited karan to take his breakfast. Although he found it ridiculous, he was touched. The fools showed a genuine concern for a weary traveler.

 

 After finishing the breakfast, the simpletons became more animated and started praising Karan.

 

‘We like you.’

‘We love you’

‘You are great’

You are a great musician’

‘You inspire us with your music.’

 

 All theses compliments had adverse effect on Karan: he knew that he was not a great musician and who was without a home and any means of earning a living, he never studied with a master and all that he learnt was with his own effort as a self taught flute player. When he told these to the simpletons they told him that they did not care about any of those things and the important thing was that his music moved them that they were capable of appreciating any good music when the heard it. Karan was surprised at that, whom he thought as ignorant layabouts had a spark of intelligence about them and he felt some respect for them

 

Soon they wanted to learn some flute playing from him, when he told them that it took him years to do that, they simply ignored his remark and still wanted to learn. He tried to make another excuse that he had no spare flutes with him, to teach them with but they simply pulled out two flutes from their clothing, so now Karan was stuck without any more excuses. Three of them sat on the grassy bank beside the river and it was nice setting with the waters of the river slowly meandering and the morning sunshine warming the landscape around the.

 

 Inspired by his surroundings, he composed a spontaneous tune and told them to copy and plays that tune on their respective flutes. A jarring annoying sound came from their flutes. Karin thought them how to hold the flute in their hands and how to blow through it with one’s lips and slowly the simpletons got the message and began to imitate him, note by note. They were simply delighted with their efforts and started dancing while playing rudimentary tune on their flutes.

 

After that taxing session, the simpletons were exhausted and wanted to take some rest. They lay down on the grass verge and rolled themselves to and fro and thus recovered their usual exuberant behaviour. In spite of his protests, they put him on their donkey and wanted to accompany him on his journey. He was riding the donkey and the two simpletons playing their flutes and singing beside him. It was quite a spectacle and brought smiles on the onlookers’ faces. After a few miles, the simpletons had enough of dancing, music making and frolicking and left him to his own and he carried on his journey until he hit another village.

KAMA  SUTRAOFLOVE.

 

 

 

 

 

KARAN

 

 

Smiling eyebrows are opened

Who does not know?

Yet nobody knows.

 

It can aptly be said about love. There are few of us who know about love and even fewer who practice this art of loving. No one can generalize about it; it is sufficient into itself and could be different for each individual.

 

The flat lands of Punjab have seen numerous kingdoms, tribes, people, poets and lovers.

It is an ancient land but has renewed itself so often, through its peoples and their movements that it seems to be always modern in its aspects of culture and outlook.

 

 On the typographical map Punjab is marked at the head of India subcontinent and is situated at its northern most corner, just below the Himalya mountains with their perpetual snow and its original Sanskrit name was designated by people in accordance with its perpetual icy bound crags. Him’ means ice and alya means the house, so the whole designation was given Himalya as the house of snow or the house of ice. It took millions of years for Indian sub-continent to drift northward from the south pole and then as it collided with the Asian continent, the result was the formation of the high mountain chains, the highest mountain range in the world. It is still growing as the impact and pressure of Indian subcontinent plate keep pushing itself against the Asian plate.

 

In summer seasons when the ice melted, a drainage system of rivers was established and the five rivers flowing through Punjab plains gave its name to the land as the ‘land of five rivers’

 

 It has these rivers running through its body, like the veins carrying its precious lifeblood. These life-giving waters have their resource in the lofty Himalya, in the land of icy Tibetan uplands, a plateau where various goddesses of the wilds have their abodes amid the high stony crags of wild winds.

 

This land has seen the dawn of human history and spanning of various cultures. Once the poets and metaphysicians held their breath at the site of its fertile and lush plains, surrounded by the lofty mountains. They sang their praises of gratitude to its panoramic life – its birds, wildlife, warmth of plains and abundant harvests of grain and fruits. India is surrounded by lofty mountains in the north and the sea on its triangular shores and for the invaders to filter through, the only safe route had been, through some high passes across mountains in the northwestern frontier of the continent, through which the invaders had poured down at regular intervals into Punjab plains, since the dawn of the history.

 

In common all the invaders wanted to capture, the throne of Hindustan at Delhi, the heart of India but before they got to Delhi, they had to travel through Punjab and as a result this land bore the brunt of invading armies, with their pre-occupations for murders, rapes and loots. As a result the Punjabis developed a fierce characteristics of fighting spirit, a taste for liberty and resistance.

 

 Rang Mala is a pleasant village on the banks of the river Satluj. It is not an enormous village but with a population of nearly two thousand souls it can hold its own. The land around the village is fertile due to network of irrigation canals and proximity of that river and this has led to prosperity of its people, both financially and culturally.

 

The head of Mahal family is a proud man and is the chief landowner of the village. He is the head of the local village council too and runs various charitable institutes. As a highly respected member of the community, he is looked up to by all the village folks. People seek his help and guidance, whenever difficulties arise. He has a large family with four sons and two daughters.

 

 Most of the sons and daughters are clever, worldly-wise, and practical. Three sons are clever with their hands and brains, expert in tilling the land and managing the farms. They have been educated and their aim is to extend their family fortunes and bring more prosperity by way of commerce, branching out into various commercial enterprises.

 

The youngest son Karan Mahal is the exception to the rule and has been different from others since his birth and his father also has noticed it. Karan always had that dreamy look about him and with his long hair and love of music, he has become unpopular with his brothers due to his ‘feminine’ ways. On the contrary he has become the favourite son of his father and to the annoyance of other brothers.

 

He has his flute with him all the time and composes songs and music whenever he can. As in most of the families an artistic temperament is not appreciated and thus has bred contempt among other siblings. But to him the music was his need to exist as to take part in the whole panorama of life and moreover it had less material aspirations then the material outlook of the at the mankind intent on making money at all cost at the expense of their emotional life.

 

 His solitude taught him wisdom and his music gave him a small entrance into the reality of things both visible and invisible. He was amazed at relentless pulse of life but found that music gave him a static harmony in which his life could find a refuge. Most people considered it as an escape but to a sensitive mind like his, it was not an escape from life but away in to taste it more intensely. Real living took place at each instant and that instant was constantly moving and changing. The wise thing was to open his ears at each instant and the music in all its rawness before one’s thinking turn it into an abstract pattern, conforming to pre- established symbolic modes and into which everybody was doing to escape to, from the dictates of complex reality.

 

 His brothers hated his appearance, his mannerism, his dress code and his sensitivity and tenderness in dealing with others. It seemed that he would have a hard life ahead of him as his siblings considered him to be a slur on family’s good name and thus surely would bring shame on his family.

 

All the brothers usually ganged up against him or against his idleness and despite his father’s protest; he was assigned to a menial job like grazing the family’s cattle in the fields. His brothers are overjoyed as it was considered to be the lowest possible job and which was normally assigned to the outcasts of the society.

 

Without much protest Karan took this job willingly and gladly took the cattle to the wilderness for grazing, on daily basis. He even began to like it as a great relief away from family’s constant bickering. Open fields, grasslands and wilderness suited to his poetical temperament. He could respond emotionally to different seasons, different crops and different lengths of the days and all the seasonal changes. He found inner peace and harmonies in his flute and the music he played and in the songs he composed. Even cows, buffaloes, goats became his fans and listened to him attentively. People remarked that since he took up grazing, his cattle have become more docile and placid.

 

In the morning, Karan would unchain all the animals, buffaloes, cows and some goats and with a lathi in his shoulder, he would direct the animals to the open fields outside the village boundaries. He was always on the lookouts for the fields of barren lands on which no crop could be cultivated but had plenty of fresh grass in their folds. He also looked for some trees with good foliage as to give protection from the afternoon sun when it became too hot to bear it out more than few minutes. Here he felt the earth’s current, with their upward energy flow from sunrise to about mid day when one’s heart cultivated messages of hope and contentment and then one became so enthusiastic about the warm rays of sunshine which infused life and energy into one’s existence. After the night’s cold embrace, the little creatures and birds of the land extended their arms upwards to receive supplicants of the sun.

 

 It always prompted him to play on his flute some ascending notes, inspiring ones, with grace in their feet and courage in their arms, to face the life with its luminosities and shadows. It was different at mid day when he had taken his meals and appeased his hunger, when he felt a daze, to sleep away that laziness under the shades of the trees.

To him it was an idealized existence with love of his father at home and his love of countryside outdoors. He soon realized that there were riches and puzzles right before his mind’s eye and one had to learn how to decipher those. All around him were forms and feelings, which were sort of symbols, and if one could learn to decipher those, one could enter into different worlds of complexity and explorations. There were worlds within worlds and it was the task of his human brain not to get frightened of those but find hidden truths, which could make life tolerable and richer.

 

We are so conditioned by the obvious and mundane and find it hard to believe that there is something beyond the forms which are seen around us and then ignored, like the bee which is interested in just extracting the juices from flowers in order to make honey for its community at large and for the bee queen or its off springs. There were more meaningful things beyond these utilitarian preoccupations. While living in that ‘idealized’ state of affairs, he had his secret fears that it might end suddenly one day.

 

 On day while working in the fields, Karan’s father fainted and fell down. A labourer picked him up and brought him home. When the news went out, all the family came rushing and gathered around his bed, worried, grim faced but try to assure the father that he should not worry unduly as he was going to recover and get up soon to resume his normal duties but he knew it instinctively that there was something drastically wrong with his body.

 

 Nobody bothered to tell Karan about the bad news and only when he arrived home in the evening after grazing the cattle that he was told about it. He straightaway ran to his father’s bedside and crying put his head on his father’s chest. His father caressed and kissed him and told him that he was going to be well soon and would be with him for many moons to come.

 

 But as the days passed his father began to wither away slowly under the onslaught of some deadly disease. As the time passed the family became used to the situation and did not much bothered about him and left him alone to cope with the illness. Karan was the only one to look after him and cared tenderly for his father, forgetting his sleep and his work, to the annoyance of his brothers; as they have to employ someone else for grazing the animals.

 

His father was getting weaker and weaker and with great loss of weight each day and had to be carried in his arms by Karan, for bathing and other bodily functions. He ate less and less and when Karan carried him around he became like a bag of skeleton with haggard face and form, which caused much grief to the compassionate heart of Karan. After about six months of illness, the physician told the family that there was not much hope left for him and that in a few days time he would leave his mortal remains behind. Karan’s mind became agitated and as a consequence of unable to share his grief with others, he became greatly depressed.

 

 The day his father died, he collapsed with grief and was much abused by his brother for his womanly behaviour, resulting in great amount of shrieks and lamentation. It was first time that he had seen a dying person and had to come face to face with death and it was simply horrible. It was strange to see a person lying there as a corpse with no human feelings to communicate. How could a person to whom you have loved all your life disappear in an instant and never to return again as to feel warmth and love from him anymore. What was the use of having all those relationship and have attachments, which could end like that?

 

At last funeral rites were observed and he saw the funeral pyre on which his father’s body was burning. The tongues of flame licked it; with hungry hissing and crackling noises until it was turned into a black mass of charred skeleton and which in the end became a heap of ashes. His mind became numb looking at it and he lost his sense of living and any taste for life.

 

 After forty days of mourning his family gathered to talk about the things and directions to which the family was to go. They had to divide the land, property and the money left over by the deceased. The share due to the girls were set aside for their dowries as when the girls got married. They did not think that Karan deserved equal share of that booty and was deemed as not deserving anything out of their father’s estate. When he protested he was just assigned a barren piece of land where he could graze the family’s cattle. The best arable lands and finest properties went to his brothers.

 

Suddenly without his father, he had become a stranger to the family as everybody ignored him and he was left on his own, even to cook his own meals. Once when he tried to stand for himself against the will of the family and confronted them, he only suffered abuse and physical violence. He found his own home turned into a prison with hostility and suffocation around him everywhere. Why to cling to those things, which no longer belonged to you? He decided to leave his village for good.

 

 The day of departure for Karan soon arrived. At night he went into his room, he gathered all his belongings, which were not much and tied them into a bundle to carry on his shoulders through the journey .In the morning while it was still dark, he stepped out of the house into the open road under the cloudless skies. It was early and still dark, in order to avoid the eyes of curious villagers .The skies were full of countless stars hanging around in silent whispers. Lots of them were twinkling as if beckoning to Karan.  He thought that those clusters of the stars were like the lighted lamps of a Diwali night.

 

He wondered whether there were other worlds like his own and inhabited by folks like us,

suffering pain and degradations and going outdoors in their nights to seek some solace from the universe at large. He wanted to get lost in that array of brilliant diamonds. The fields, irrigation canals and even the air seemed to reflect their glory. For a moment he forgot his loneliness and sat on a boulder in contemplation, praising such miracles of nature.

 

 He woke up from the reverie by barking of a lone dog, heralding the arrival of the dawn and soon other dogs responded indicating that they were awake too and a symphony of barking ensued. A farmer scolded the dog for waking him up so early, with few hours of comfort left to taste the warmth of his bed.

 

 

After leaving his village and for want of direction, he just followed the river and walked along its mounded banks. The ground was wet with dewy grass and small birds were fluttering in and out of the tall reeds along the bank. In the dim light the river looked like a molten glistening surface. Soon the orange disc of the sun would appear and would dye the landscape in its golden colour. The coolness of the air would disappear; bring in first the warmth and then the heat of the day. It was a good time to travel.

 

His heart was a bit lighter but soon the remembrance of things past turned into a heavy burden. He again remembered the death of his father and things turned sour in his mind. When a person who was close to you suddenly vanishes, he leaves a terrible vacuum behind. When they are alive and with you, you take them for granted and even never realize that they had carved a niche within yourself, which unknowingly becomes a part of your life. You are glad to carry that human warmth around you giving meaning and purpose to life but when these are removed by a stroke of bad luck, it becomes so hard to recover from this cruel blow. It takes time in getting used to it.

 

 You try to lock that quarter of being which used to be their place of residence and forget about it for a while but then the guilt sets in and unable to face this guilt you unlock again the room in which their memory resides to restore again the anguish.

 

It was getting lighter now. The sun had sent its harbinger and scouts to clear the ways for its arrival. Soon this news spread around and a flock of birds took to sky to greet the arrival of the sun. They few in unison, in formation, with exquisite mass movement flocked in as if with some inner tune and a dance formation.

 

  Few farmers were all ready up and moving to their fields. The set the ploughs on the their shoulders with their bullocks leading the way. They were clicking their tongues to direct their broad shouldered oxen. The oxen were making pleasing movements with their head bobbing, setting in motion the jingling music of their bells around the necks.

Soon they passed and slowly the music faded away in the clear light of the day.

 

………………..

 

He had been walking for few hours and was now feeling tired and decided to rest by the edge of the water. He saw his reflection in the water, firstly in a broken rippled way but then moor smoothly. He noticed that the reflection was looking at him and then beckoned him to come closer and meet him.

He walked into the shallow waters and the reflection told him that there was a way out of his anguish, he should come to meet it in the depth of the river where he would meet the

easeful end of his being. He felt a sort of trance where his thinking faculty was turned off momentarily. He decided to jump into the river.

 

 A Shepard walked into the vicinity with his flock of sheep and goats and suddenly the reality brought Karan to his senses and he woke with a sudden start. He saw a distant temple spires and followed the path l towards it and soon he was in the temple compound. He was hungry and tired and put his bundle against the wall and sat there contemplating the countryside and his fate.

 

He soon fell asleep escaping the painful memories, into a sort of oblivion but soon was awakened by a noise and saw himself surrounded by an army of layabouts. There were as usual the village simpletons- work shy, beggars and other lazy fellows who wanted to escape the hard task of tilling the ground.

 

 

They were staring at him, for him to awake and had stolen his flute on which they were trying to play a tune to the amusement of the crowd. Each one was trying in his turn but a pitiful; jarring noise was coming at the other end of the flute. It did not bother the crowd, as they were clapping, dancing, shrieking and laughing at the antics of the bad players f the flute. When they saw Karan waking up, they urged him to play something on his flute to cheer them up.

 

 Karan was surprised at their demands as he did not know them and neither they knew about his flute playing. It seems that his reputation had already preceded his arrival.

He was in no mood to entertain the crowd and this annoyed the crowd a great deal.

 

Two lads came around and started chatting to him. Karan could not detect whether they were simpletons or were just clever enough to exploit him emotionally to gain their ends. They did not seemed to him baring any malice towards him but imply were trying to goad him, to play some music on his flute. When he refused, they flattered him with all sort of niceties. They told him they he was great musician who stole people’s heart with the deepness of his music. Soon they brought a donkey and offered to give him a ride on their stallions. Karan looked at the half starved donkey, with its meek and humble looks and felt a sort of kinship with it.

 

Some farmer’s wives passed that way, carrying food for their husbands as their midday meals. They were carrying pots of sour milk on their heads and bundles of chapattis and saag wrapped around cleanly and tucked in their scarves. The sight of the crowd tickled their curiosity and they came around to look as to what was happening and it was also something to break their routine and monotony.

 

 When they saw Karan sitting there, haggard and tired looking, they offered to him some food in exchange for some music played on his flute. Theses were gentle women and good-looking too and soon their charms did the trick and he offered to play something for them in exchange for their food. They put some chapattis and cooked vegetables on a plate to give him and also poured some sour milk for him to drink. He was so engrossed in his grief and have not spoken to anybody for sometime and it was pleasant o eat their tasty food and get some attention and fill his stomach.

 

He took the flute, put to his lips and blew into it and involuntary a passionate tune came out at the other end, receding and advancing, telling the tales, sorrowful and moving about the life’s vagaries and injustices, of loneliness of each being and his search for a little love.

It touched every heart in the congregation and some were even had a lump in their throat. The sound of s music brought in bigger crowd and even shepherds with their flock came to listen. Karan soon forget his loneliness and tunes just poured in. The magic of the music induced in everyone a sort of sympathy for him and human companionship.

 

 

 The playing went on for sometime until the farmers wives decided to move on, as their husbands were expecting the mid day meals and any delay was bound to cause some friction and suspicion in their minds. Karan was glad to have met those pretty ladies and having eaten their food but the gatherings of layabouts was not so easy to disperse. They have caught the mood of enjoyment for themselves, which did not happen often in their lives and so were ready to prolong this period irrespective of whether they were annoying him. They pulled Karan within a circle and urged him to play more and more but

when he refused, they appealed to his finer emotions, to take pity on them as their lives were full of misery and least thing he could do was to give them more time for a bit of entertainment. There was nothing to stop them now as they were dancing, shrieking or just jumping about.

 

As the afternoon rolled on and the shadows lengthened, the mob slowly moved away and Karan’s anxiety returned with a double dose. Where he was going to go, what was he going to do with his life? He thought about his next move, which was hard to envisage. As happens in those moments of indecisions, he decided to stay put at the temple at least for that night.

 

  Soon the priest of the temple came along to open it for the evening but was not pleased to see him there. He unlocked the inner sanctuary but told him to stay out and not to enter it. Karan was hurt by this treatment and was annoyed with the priest and straight away asked the reason for it. The priest told him that there were no good qualities in him, he was a vagabond without any hearth or home and furthermore he was misleading the youths by enticing them with his music and thus leading them into vagrancy and lewdness.

 

Karan told him that he did not have much respect for his kind of priesthood as he was misleading the people with his outward guise of piety but inside he was cunning like a fox. He had found a good way of deceiving people by granting them the divine protection in exchange for pieces of silver. Lots of barren women were coming to the sanctuary and he was performing rituals for their fertility and giving them sacred threads and amulets to be worn around their necks. Furthermore he was not sure whether he was taking some form of advantages of those women behind their husband’s backs.

 

 There were heated arguments between the two and at one time the enraged priest had the intention of taking Karan by the lapel and physically throw him out of the temple but was put off by the arrival of the evening worshippers. The priest thought it was best to keep quiet in front of his congregation. He told Karan that he could spend the night in the temple complex but had to move before the dawn of the following day.

 

The priest came to the temple very early in the morning while Karan was still asleep and shook him violently and told him to get up, which woke him up with a shock He did not know what was happening as he was still dazed with the sleep. The priest told him to roll up his bedding, collect his things and be out of his temple immediately. Karan told him to let him sleep until the sunrise but he would not listen to any of his pleadings. Karan gathered up all his possessions and as soon he was out of the temple door, the priest locked the front door behind him and without any further conversation went away on his way.

 

 Stupefied and half dazed, karan sat on the temple steps till it was sunrise. He had suffered enough humiliations from one and sundry and was really hurt by all that treatment. He had no plan as what to do next and he decided to walk by the river in the direction he had already taken. He conjectured that there must be more human habitations and possibly a village where he will try to find some work. He was not afraid of any hard work and was not particular on any sort of work as long as he was treated with a little respect and could keep his body and soul together.

 

Soon the morning arrived and sun was up, he was just starting his journey and he saw some figures coming towards him and when they came near him, he recognized two of the lads from previous night’s fracas. They were with a donkey and seemed to be happy of demeanor. They introduced themselves as the two village boys, Ramu and Shamu. Karan recognized them as the village simpletons and did not want to get involved with them.

 

‘ Where are you going?’ Ramu asked him

‘I do not know.’ Karan replied

Both were in a grip of laughter and were so pleased with his answer.

‘That is the best way to travel when you do not know where you are going’ they replied

and agreed with each other that that was the best way to travel when one is not aware of one’s destiny. When you don not know a single thing that means you know everything else. That was the logic the two simpletons were indulging in. Karan thought they were trying to make a fool of himself but when he looked at their faces, there was no trace of either malice or ridicule, they generally believed in what they were saying and furthermore he thought they were trying to help him.

 

They asked him whether he had his breakfast yet and when Karan replied that he had not and also he could not afford it, as he had no money with him, their faces dropped as if with genuine concern for him. They told him that they would do something about it. Ramu found some old bricks in the fields and with theses he made a sort of hearth while Shammu went in search for some dry branches and discarded twigs. From a satchel astride the donkey’s back, they took out a metallic vessel to boil the water. While the water was boiling, they brought out some cups and some stale rotis. They made some tea and invited karan to take his breakfast. Although he found it ridiculous, he was touched. The fools showed a genuine concern for a weary traveler.

 

 After finishing the breakfast, the simpletons became more animated and started praising Karan.

 

‘We like you.’

‘We love you’

‘You are great’

You are a great musician’

‘You inspire us with your music.’

 

 All theses compliments had adverse effect on Karan: he knew that he was not a great musician and who was without a home and any means of earning a living, he never studied with a master and all that he learnt was with his own effort as a self taught flute player. When he told these to the simpletons they told him that they did not care about any of those things and the important thing was that his music moved them that they were capable of appreciating any good music when the heard it. Karan was surprised at that, whom he thought as ignorant layabouts had a spark of intelligence about them and he felt some respect for them

 

Soon they wanted to learn some flute playing from him, when he told them that it took him years to do that, they simply ignored his remark and still wanted to learn. He tried to make another excuse that he had no spare flutes with him, to teach them with but they simply pulled out two flutes from their clothing, so now Karan was stuck without any more excuses. Three of them sat on the grassy bank beside the river and it was nice setting with the waters of the river slowly meandering and the morning sunshine warming the landscape around the.

 

 Inspired by his surroundings, he composed a spontaneous tune and told them to copy and plays that tune on their respective flutes. A jarring annoying sound came from their flutes. Karin thought them how to hold the flute in their hands and how to blow through it with one’s lips and slowly the simpletons got the message and began to imitate him, note by note. They were simply delighted with their efforts and started dancing while playing rudimentary tune on their flutes.

 

After that taxing session, the simpletons were exhausted and wanted to take some rest. They lay down on the grass verge and rolled themselves to and fro and thus recovered their usual exuberant behaviour. In spite of his protests, they put him on their donkey and wanted to accompany him on his journey. He was riding the donkey and the two simpletons playing their flutes and singing beside him. It was quite a spectacle and brought smiles on the onlookers’ faces. After a few miles, the simpletons had enough of dancing, music making and frolicking and left him to his own and he carried on his journey until he hit another village.


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