As a part of our academic course work, we went for field- study collecting information. It was a hot sunny day, talking to old people asking them to share their experiences during the partition of India provided a glimpse into how people of the past constructed their worlds- what they believed, imagined and valued. After collecting some information until evening, we called off for the day. I came back to my hostel and rested for a while. A look at my watch and I realized that sleep was beckoning me. As my work had piled up and I needed to start my daily events the next day, it was better to sleep early and wake up early in the morning. Within a matter of minutes, I was asleep.
I took a sharp and deep breath and looked at the mountains in front of me. Ready to climb a mountain that stood tall and huge, I felt an intense, panic-ridden forbidding fear welling up inside me. Why am I here? What could have made me do this? Do I really have the guts to do so? For, there is no compulsion and no one could either force me to undertake this decision taking the challenges ahead.
I started climbing gradually. I came to a halt. The climb was getting steeper and tougher. I could not stop now. I had come this far. It was a hot sunny day. I could feel the sweat beads tickling my lower neck. Moreover, my palms were slick with sweat.
I looked ahead and proceeded slowly but each step ahead saw a growing determination. I took a deep breath, took a pause and drank some water, rested for a moment under a shady tree but the heat of the sun could not stop me for long. I continued on my way up, a few steps at a time.
I was perspiring; beads of sweat were running down my forehead. I stopped. I took a drink. I took a step. I climbed further and higher. The water-laden clouds rolling over the mountain were a sure sign of a heavy downpour. It started raining. I was wondering, as I often wondered, with a palpitating heart, how I would climb up. The sky got murkier. A large drop fell on my head and within moments, I was drenched, for the rain lashed from all directions. Moreover, I did not have any umbrella or raincoat.
However, this rain gives me some respite, as it was too hot. The heavy rain had reduced to drizzle- soft and melodious- bringing with it an air so full of the smell of the earth, of the woody fragrance from the wet trees and its flowers. Every leaf was bursting into life, swaying with the gentle breeze caressing every raindrop. With all the dust washed away, the mountains appeared greener and cleaner than before. The clouds were beginning to drift apart, revealing a sky so fresh, so blue. Even a slight stray thought would have shattered the scene’s tranquillity, just as a shriek shatters a delicate crystal.
For a while, I rested under a shady tree. It was sheer joy seeing the natural creations so closely as to hear them sing their glory. However, I could not rest for long with a few miles still to go before the sun set. The soft evening sun made the peaks shimmer.
With a deep breath, I started again. A step… Two steps… Three steps...Four steps…A deep breath….Five steps…
I climbed up. I took the steps. Easy step… Tough step. I climbed higher. Tough step.,, Easy step. Big mountains… Small mountains…
I climbed ceaselessly. I took a step... More steps. Finally, I reached the top of the mountain. I looked down with a sigh of relief. I saw my hometown Lamka. It was such a wonderful place at least to me where my loved ones, my dear ones were there. I felt a quiet triumph and it washed away my tiredness just like the rain that washes away the dirt from the leaves. I said to myself… I proudly belong to this land and I do not desire to be anywhere else… and these are the memories that pull me back home. I have not been here for the past few years. Usually I go home but just for a month in a year or so but the memories, I still carry wherever I go. How will I ever forget this land…it is this land where my roots are.
Suddenly my alarm bell woke me up. I still stayed in my bed thinking about this dream. The events of my dream came rushing back to my mind. Mountains are what we climb every day. Big mountains. Small mountains. Some easy, some tough. We face different situations and different obstacles every day. Some seem small, some huge, small mountains, big mountains, but mountains nevertheless. Obstacles will definitely come, but to reach the top of the mountain one needs to move forward with undeterred determination because every single step forward brings us closer to the top that glows during sunset.