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Deboshree Bhattacharjee narrates how she was ‘lost’ in enjoying the moment in this funny story for our April writing theme, Travel Story.
Deboshree, in her own words: Stories delight me and I tell them often. They lurk everywhere, around us and in hidden crannies. I like to look for them and then set them going. When I am not doing that, I am reading and reviewing books, travelling and studying media.
“This is where the Pandavas would take their morning shower!” The man sounded excited. “Then, they threw stones at the mangoes overhead and sat down for a meal.”
Check it out!
I looked at him sceptically; the trees didn’t look all that old. “What about their morning puja? Isn’t there an old Shiva temple near here somewhere?”
The man looked confused. He picked up the few mangoes that had fallen on the ground and walked away.
Anyway, irrespective of the water’s dubious Mahabharata connection, it sure looked inviting. The colour was a neat, virgin white, accentuated by the blue clouds in the early spring sky. Young, green leaves that had recently sprouted wings, whispered in the light breeze. The huge walls of Bhandardara dam stood majestically, showing off to everyone who watched.
I was with a huge group – the entire set of people at office. We had travelled to Malshej Ghat from Pune and were here on local word. My colleagues ambled around, sifting through the thick vegetation. A few groaned about having had no lunch, considering the hours the bus ride from our resort had taken. They went the Pandavas way; aiming stones at mango groves and arranging makeshift buckets to store the loot. Some others clicked Facebook pictures, their faces lighting up with the anticipation of the number of ‘likes’ they would earn.
I gazed at the water; it was rumbling and growling. Where the dam started, it was misty. The kind of mist that goes around haunted houses and ethereal cathedrals. One step closer and the white water would lash out. I tied my hair in a bun and tightened my shoelaces. The spectacles had been giving trouble and I adjusted them better around my ears. Taking a baby step closer, I looked behind to see people dissolving in the fog. The rumbling and growling grew louder as I looked straight on. One blink of an eyelid and there! The splashes, despite all my preparation, took me by surprise. They metamorphosed into a constant drizzle which went on till I was dripping wet. Standing right there, near the entrance of the dam, I had just had my first ‘waterfall’ shower.
Following suit, several others joined me. Soon we were all enjoying the drizzle, getting wet and dirty and not caring one bit. The breeze turned into a steady wind and our heads full of hair turned fit for birds to nest in. If the Pandavas had indeed lived here, I am sure they loved the water as well. Perhaps, divine beings in varied worldly forms would emerge from its insides. Nothing, after all, like a wet dip in water so animated!
When we finally walked away to dry ourselves, the hunger pangs set in. Almost in answer, a pakora wallah arrived at the scene. He had them all: onions, potatoes, chillies. His barrow had a name too, written with black pen on white paper. B, something. I strained my eyes to make out the word.
“Bhandardara Bhaji, madam. How many plates do you want?” the helpful man enquired, even as I stood shocked in realization.
The white water had taken away my spectacles. Further away in its recesses somewhere, it was probably turning them into mincemeat that very moment.
*Photo credit: Deboshree Bhattacharjee
Deboshree has won a diary/writing pad made of handmade paper courtesy Prishth. Congrats Deboshree!
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