April 15, 2020

The River

Aditya or Adi as he is known among his friends or past friends, always had energy. Not the frivolous energy of a romantic twenty something but the bull strength and tenacity of a prize fighter. He was a decent young man, controlled , intelligent , shabby in a way the sikkimese girls would love.Post college , he had to quit his first job after he lost his temper over some trivialty,though a good student, he never liked the desk job and would have made an excellent manager with a fat pay cheque at any of the fat american firms dotting the city, if not for his problem with authority and very rare but violent fits of temper.Out of work and his savings from the first job slowly declining, Adi was fast searching for a new venture.A trip to the mountains refreshed him and instilled in him the fire to do something,he knew not what and youth never knows.

Smoking was his favourite thing, and he was a patient reader. Good films, noir ,oneiric ..he doted on them, stemming from his over experimentation with ganja from the college days.He still smoked the occasional joint but the last year had inculcated a strange mix of cheap spiritualism that a chillum and splatter of shiv lingas on the riverbank can instill in any dreamy, sensitive and pseudo-teenage-angst-ridden soul. He loved the river. It is fresh in the morning ,filthy in the afternoon and peaceful at night. In these days of money and things, they say that unemployment and enlightenment go together. Adi’s evening of forced leisure with leaking insight helped by a generous joint filled him with a melancholic charm and peace as he watched the waters lapping in an opera like harmony against the sides of the standing desolate boat with the lights of the “ditiyu hooghly shetu” adding the twinkle and the dark yellow tinge on the goings on. It was time to go home or was it? He decided to stay by the river, dark and mystic.

The sadhu came at exacly nine, followed by his two disciples, biharis with thin moustaches. The sadhu was snake like with mongoloid features, thin as reed , slippery in motion and fluid in movement. He was’nt wearing any saffron but a dark tantricisque robe. Out came the baked black chillum and the intertwined black coil of grass … the charcoal fire ignited….“Beta baithke pi….” , he said.

Adi , descended slowly.

He Started speaking.

“ Children , the river has specimens…..

I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft.

The voices of singing women call us from the far shore….

and they are saying – Forget the night! Live with us in forests of azure

Out here on the perimeter, there are no stars…

No eternal reward can forgive us now for wasting the dawn..

Out here , we are stoned immaculate

Soft-driven, slow and mad like some new language…

Listen to this …

I’ll tell you about the heartaches and the loss of God

I’ll tell you about the hopeless night

The meager food the souls forgot

And one morning you awoke

…and the strange sun…”

Thus he spoke.

P.S (by Author): “Texas Radio And The Big Beat” usage is incidental.

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