Chronicles of the bald hillock, final part

It had been about half an hour since we left that hamlet.

Now we were crossing mountains!; not like the Alps and the Himalayas but definitely sloppy. “Thirty minutes more.” reported Kapil. Appu was panting heavily; stout figure like him. We had not met even a single human soul for quite a long time. There were only trees, bushes, stones, and fields all around. I had already started repenting our decision to take a ‘shortcut’. We were advancing downhill…

After some time my weary eyes figured out a stream in front of us: a silvery white ribbon trying to bind the series of hills together…… water was scarce as was expected in that season. “We will take right from the brook and follow its pace upstream.” Not very far was a fenced area…… ‘it must be a garden’ ….the soil seemed freshly ploughed…….there was a well as well……..and a hut!…..our eyes could explicitly discern that flimsy cottage embosomed by the thicket of glade all around……and then my eyes fell on a nearby hill—‘something was queer about it’ ……we were marching towards the brook, my eyes fixed on………

The surface was not sandy—-neither was it completely rocky—-soil was weathered and red……..the ground below became soft, my tanned integument could feel the nearing moisture……..I could see some patches of grass, some bushes here and there……… chirruping of birds and whistling of leaves were becoming larger by seconds………but there was not a single tree…….”I think we should cross it here itself, we may not find it so shallow afterwards”……and there is something white, yonder on the top…….my feet over the soles of trainers could now feel the rocky upturns below……it should be a temple, a small one, a reddish flag fluttering over, ostentatiously exhibiting the devout spirits of the localites…….miniscule tubules of blue-green algae whipping in the dancing waters made the path slippery……..an occult force started working on me and I felt a familiar attraction towards it……my ear drums could feel the swishing sounds made by the contact of gurgling fluid and stone walls shaping the path of brook……why it was so unkindly berefted of greenery so wildly enveloping the turf over here, my mind made it a point to visit that hillock on my way back……..my right leg felt a sudden pinch, just below the knee, And I saw something……something that petrified even the hairs of my body……

A blackishly tubular stratum hurriedly slithered away. I couldn’t help screaming. My brain had surmised something horrible. I was exasperated. My father had told me, only one percent of the species are dangerous, most of them being terrestrial, the one I saw had to be aquatic. Similar notions blurted out of my friends. And I was still alive……my friends took charge of the situation.

Shoaib tightened a piece of cloth around my leg. Kapil thundered away in the hope of finding some help; myself raked against the trunk of an unknown tree; the heart was throbbing dangerously wild, trying to emancipate itself from its body, to release free from that excruciating fear. My brother tried to hold the upper knee portion tightly so as to obstruct the blood-flow. The mind was heartless (and that’s why hopeful), he commanded the right leg to move; to my relief I found that it did. Sarthak advised me to stay calm, the spread of poison will slow down, he said. The eyelids drooped down, waiting for something to happen. Appu tried to measure my pulse rate to check for any change in it. But the heart continued his struggles, mind trying to explain him that nothing worrisome had happened; I was addlepated: whom to confide with. Several minutes passed……..

I knew I had not died. My heart finally acknowledged that it was not poisonous. And I felt that I could once again manage myself after the two of them became friends. I opened my eyes. Kapil had returned. There was a woman with him. She took my leg and examined it. “The snake was not poisonous. There is nothing to worry about. I will put some “lep” over it for the wound.”

———————————————–

It had been decided. We were in a ‘flimsy cottage’. I was back to normal. We would stay there and return home the next day. The happy family helped us find a telephone booth and inform our parents about our grand plans (they were not informed of the ‘bite’ incident). They were only two: an old man and his wife. We cooked our own food and ate it in a ‘ploughed garden’ which later became the football field (the farmer had permitted us, strangely). Her wife put a ‘lep’ over my wound and gave me some nasty fluid to drink. We played every game we had brought with us. We helped the farmer water the plants. For the first (and only) time I saw the ‘plant’ of potato. We learnt that the farmer sold vegetables in Bodkhi (the local market of Amla). A long series of card games started which continued upto six (my favorite being ‘Sheep’, which I think I am master of). Then we gathered some dry sticks, grass and hay to put a camp fire. The farmer joined us after the dinner. He started describing the customs and traditions of the local people. He told us many things about potatoes. I asked him about the hillock that had so mysteriously attracted me. He told us that it was called “ganji pahaadi” i.e. “the bald hillock”. We got to know the reason behind its being ‘bald’ and many other queer things about it. The Bakar session (I got this term from Roorkee) continued till midnight. Henceforth we slept in the cottage. I was elated. I couldn’t sleep for a long time. This had been my best picnic so far………………

In the morning we took our leave. My spirits were high. I thanked them for all they did for us. Then we headed for the ‘ganji pahaadi’ which I had already planned with others. It was perhaps the only hill of its kind among its comrades. We paid our respect to the holy shrine. The sun was still rising. I tried to look down on the other side——–

There was a track……Kaccha raasta…..some black spots could be seen on it……suddenly a snake like figure emerged from a nearby hill. Then only I did notice the two parallel lines across the ground……..electric poles with continuation of wire running along them…….it started blaring the tone so familiar to me…….whistling its way, it slided slowly into the depths of yet another hill……my imagination started reminiscing the things that an old man had told me the day before……I felt a joyous jolt, every fragment of my body experienced euphoria, I was inebriated………. that, that I was standing right on the centre point of INDIA—“The Bald Hillock”………”Ganji Pahaadi”…

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2 Responses to Chronicles of the bald hillock, final part

  1. Amit... says:

    That is really interesting and I must say, you just had a blast of adventure. Fortunately or unfortunately, things of such magnitude never befell on me. But I must admit this post was better than your last two posts.

    Vaise, I don't know why, But queerly I want to visit Ganji Pahari at least once.

  2. R S says:

    @amit
    thanks

    as for the visiting part
    u can come with me when I plan one.

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