rajendran muthiah (16.03.1950)
Our Relentless Trip through the Heart of Kashmir
In an afternoon of the closing day of June,
the doctors found a high B.P in my veins
and told me to go back home or be bed-ridden
in a municipal hospital of Jammu City.
The next day, I was the first to go before a doctor
for ‘check-up’ in another place of Jammu.
He asked me to breathe in and out and gave his nod
to visit Amarnath and my joy was boundless.
When I walked out with a smiling face,
the waiting youths cheered me by clapping hands
and yelled in chorus: ” Amarna: th Ki Jei! ”(Victory to Lord!) .
So I became the inbound pilgrim to the Holy Cave
in inclement weather amidst the guns which lie in wait to fire.
My friend Baskaran whose resolute nature, took me there,
urged me to rush to the Base Camp from where to board a bus.
Drinking chill water and eating sparse northern cuisine,
our health got shrunk and phlegm got hoarded
in the whole of my body making breathing difficult.
Alighting from the flighting ponies, I sat down to take rest
for every twenty steps and moved up with my friend
who asked me to see the Holy Cave coming nearby.
Witnessing the white marvellous Linga of Lord Siva,
we trekked down with some pace with a joyous mind,
swung into the saddle and climbed down the hills.
Finding scarce air to breathe in, I felt dull,
and in half-faint state with half-closed eyes
I was on the horse with my mind warning
not to loosen the grip of the handle in the saddle.
We were asked to get down from the horse
in a place where the landslide had eroded the path.
All of them crossed the breached way and went up
but I slumped down to the incline and lay down.
The horse-boy brought down his pet again,
hauled me up to sit on the horse and said: ’Any problem? ’.
I resumed the ride towards Baltal with my eyes opening full.
When we reached the Camp at Baltal, we heard the guns firing.
The cops were making lathi-charge on the shop-keepers.
We ran into cover and then to our tent and fell in sleep
from which we never got up till the dawn.
The Morning greeted us with cancellation of buses to Jammu.
The police advised us to avoid private taxi
as it would be guiding into the jaws of danger.
They told us to postpone the travel by a day.
But we had to catch the train booked at Jammu
and so we got holed up into Tata Sumo and sped
towards Jammu besides the intercepting crowds of local boys.
The cops and the Kashmiri cubs scare each other
when the uniformed demand a share of the money,
the boys earn by the sweat of their brow.
We were calm until passing through Srinagar
and after that the journey was enjoyable
through idyllic surroundings in the cool clime of hills.
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