sun seemed to arise from its sleep, the birds chirped with fervor as if in
salutation to the harbinger of the new dawn, the cool breeze made music as
it nonchalantly blew to rock nature from its slumber. The heavenly sights
of the moment made for a veritable feast for the frayed nerves reaching up
to the heart and soul, filling up with its aroma of a serene and
un-comprehendible hope and wellbeing, more so for little Shankar who could afford to feast on
This is Kasauri, a vintage recreational place built during the times of
It is said that the
officers posted around this area liked it so much that it soon became
their picnic spot which subsequently graduated to became a favorite
holiday spot of the era and even to this day people from various parts of
the world ensemble here to experience nature from a multitude of
refreshing perspectives. Along with nature's bounty
the edifices of the past era takes one into a journey that brings to light
an enigma of the times. The enigma of the lives of the immediate past that
evolved to become the people of our present times.
But not everyone evolved and some are still there frozen in a time-frame
of the era that changes its shape only at its freckles and one among them
is little Shankar, barely eleven. Little Shankar lived with his old
grandparents along with his two younger siblings. The youngest is the four
year old Asha and Niranjan who is two years older to her. Both the
brothers loved playing with her and took turns to look after her
especially now when their parents are away to make an earning as this is
the peak time of the year when tourists flock in larger numbers. Shankar's
parents based themselves downtown in the central parts of the valley in
makeshift tents that served as their shop during the daytime and which
housed them during the night. This was barely enough even for the two of
them and hence the rest of the members stay at their humble dwelling
amongst the hills.
The fore-fathers of Shankar were into making customized wooden balls that
were used to play golf in this region. The specialty of these balls was
that due to its weight it hardly traveled long distances and in these
regions they were best suited due to the lack of large open grounds
amongst this hilly terrain. These balls gained popularity as Kasauri balls
and to this day people gather these as mementos of the place. And these
balls are their providence as whatever they make from the sale of these,
somehow sustains the family.
And this is what Shankar is carrying with him in this heavenly dawn, to
deliver this small consignment of balls to his parents downtown and to
take whatever money they give him from the proceeds of the last
consignment. A part of this money is to be spent in the procurement of the
wood and the other raw materials required to make their next consignment
of balls by their grandparents and whatever meager remains is spent on
their food and other current requirements.
But this time they had are encountering a problem as it rained untimely
and most of the tourists stayed indoors and it negatively effected their
sales and thus Shankar like the rest of the family barely had enough to
eat. Here, he was hoping against hope that atleast this time the sales
might have been better. En route he stopped to look at the tourists in
their contemporary attires, some recklessly spending money, they all
appeared to him to be from a different world. It was almost afternoon by
now and Shankar quickened his pace.
Their were his parents, he managed to smile at them beamingly but that
didn't reflect and he understood what is in store.
"Shankar, this time too sales were less but don't worry the next time you
come their will be a lot", his mother tried to cheer him. The skies were
gradually getting darker by then and a gloom descended on them. "It's
again going to rain", his father said dejectedly. There was silence for
sometime as none could muster the will to speak. Shankar drank the
porridge his mother had placed before him and sat stifled there.
"Get up, Shankar and go before the rain comes", said his mother wrapping
him in an old tattered traditional long coat to protect him from catching
It was dark by now and Shankar hurried towards his home. He passed by a
group of travelers when suddenly something got hold of Shankar, it might
have been a connotation of a deep hurt directed towards the unknown and
the deprivation that seemed to engulf him. He suddenly started dancing as
if in a frenzy. Huge droplets of sweat spawning from him sprinkled around
him as he vigorously continued his movements.
Just then it started to rain, the chilling drops of water that fell on his
face gradually bought him to his senses and he stopped his dance.
"That seems to be the rain dance", commented one onlooker. "Yeah!, these
people are close to nature and it seems it is a form of obeisance to the
coming rain", said the other.
"Excellent!, take this",
saying this one amongst them put some money into his hands. This was soon
followed by the others. Shankar appeared numb for a moment, but then almost instinctively
he immediately stocked up the money carefully to keep it from getting wet
and gathered enough energy to run towards home.
"Shankar, what happened", enquired his grandfather. Shankar could hardly
say anything, he put all of the money into his grandfather's hands and for
a moment there was silence before he could meekly say anything. By now
everyone gathered around him and slowly Shankar started narrating his
"This could last for a whole month", said his grandfather counting the
By now everyone sat around the fire lit by his grandmother and shared the
food. Today his grandfather is not telling them any story as he seemed too
excited. Shankar stared at the fire, there was something he was trying to
comprehend but it was hard for him, atleast for now. Tired and lulled by
the visions of the beaming faces of his parent when he tells them about
it, he finally fell asleep..
Contributing Story Teller
Kumar Tamada, Visakhapatnam (A.P.)