Summer holidays were the best time of year. The hills had always attracted both of them. Half brought up in the hills i.e Tarun and half brought away from hills but hills in heart i.e Radhika. Every year they used to go their roots. Their actual home. Their beloved hills full of fresh air, awesome weather and most importantly their own people.
“Hello… Maa.”, Radhika called up Tarun’s mother,”We have boarded the flight. We will call you once we will land Delhi. Pranaam Maa” . She then kept her head over his shoulders and slept. They were on the trip to Radhika’s native place. Tarun had been brewing this idea since long. They have heard from the people that go to Goa or go to Bali or go to Europe if you want to see the beauty and world. But Tarun had his own thought process and that was we Indians are so obsessed with the social hype that sometimes we forget how beautiful our homes are. Our natives.
After one and a half hour of flight they were enroute to Radhika’s native in the hills. Since childhood Radhika and her parents have moved from city to city due to nature of Radhika’s father’s job. Her parents have lived the life of the hills in their young age but Radhika could not get the privilege of one. But she was lucky because her parents never let her feel that she is away from her roots. She had been there a few times though but she had gathered a lot of essence of the place. Her inquisitive interest in knowing the heritage of being a pahaadi led her to learn the core culture of the pahaadi community. She was so excited when Tarun revealed this surprise plan to her last week ago.
After the another long journey of around eleven hours they began to ascend the zig zag roads of the hills. Radhika was so excited that she popped her head out of window and smelled the freshness of the hills. Tarun was just watching the joy on her face while her curly hairs dancing in the wind. “You see there, that mountain. That is called the sleeping beauty. See you can tell that by carefully watching the silhouette.”, she pointed towards the distant mountain to Tarun. “Wow…!!!”, answered Tarun on the amazing view. “ Now from here starts the forests of the pine and deodar. These are dense and windy forests and a lot of wild animals live here. You know leopards are too found here.”, she said turning towards him with big eyes and with a gesture of claws from her hands. “You kidding right…???”, Tarun reacted in his fake fear.
“I’ll show you our fields. Basically the paddy field where my grandparents have worked. We had couple of cute cows also when I was young. I always used to go with my granny when she used to milk them. That milk you won’t believe was so awesome especially when the cow has given the birth to a calf”, narrated Radhika to him. “My granny used to crush the ripe paddy in the traditional huge pahaadi mortar and pestle and I used to drop the spilled grains of paddy in vessel. We have a pair of orange trees too. “, she told him in great excitement.
With a journey and non-stop excitement of Radhika they reached to an old world village. She jumped out the car and ran towards her home. Tarun followed her and there she was standing on the door of her roots calling him. The entrance of the door was made from the amazing woodwork from the artisans. “This is the kitchen made of mud, a typical pahaadi one. That was my grandparents room. That shelf we used to place grains for the birds. And come see…”, she called him to the porch,” There is village’s common stream of water. We used to take bath and collect wild flowers. And look this was that mortar and pestle which I was talking about. This was my little bestie,” she picked the old rugged doll from the room.
“But by the way…”, as she was surprised how is this place so neat and clean. None of my parents or elder of our families have visited here since a year. “May be the neighbors have done this.”, he suggested. “May be”, she thought touching the traditional pahaadi recliner, modha. She was lost there in that universe and Tarun could see that. This feeling on her face was the only treasure he wanted to see on her face. She was excited to show him her heritage saying symbolically that “Mr.Tarun this is mine and now yours too”.
She turned towards the room of her parents saying, “This was Maa and Paa room.” As she opened the room she was awestruck. “Surprise”, said her Maa and Paa. “What…!!!…I can’t believe this. How did you come here.”, she questioned hugging them. “Ask Tarun. He is the mastermind behind this family time”, her mother said laughingly. Radhika turned towards Tarun and smiled with eyes full of tears of joy.
Night fell. Everyone went to sleep. Tarun was holding Radhika in blanket on the chilly night of hills. “I thought you will outsmart my plan.” he asked teasingly. “Thump” was the sound of her fist on his chest,”Idiot”…
#Typical excitement of the cat.