The Golden Girl
One day I was walking by the woods in company of my memories and my own whispers. I had many things in my mind, scrambled, obliterated with time, hidden behind my hazy perception of my own self. Whistling out my doubts, I was trying to play a hymn; not melancholic, not too joyous but something that soothes and smoothen my heart and the air around me. Though I was watching my boots, I wasn't aware where my feet were.
Strolling around I didn't realize how far I got myself into the woods. The path was narrow and steep and the woods dense. The trees braving high and the sun hiding behind the cover of the green stretch whirling all around me.
Far under a tree, I saw a little girl.
Deep within the forest there was this tree, bright and effervescing like gold would; it gleamed brighter than the day light. The golden tree was unlike any tree surrounding it. It was magnanimous and golden. I fell into the nature's admiration.
Beneath the drooping branches of the tree stood a little girl.
I shook my head and was about to turn, when a thought occurred to me
-What a little girl is doing inside a deserted dense woods, Intrigued, I Slowly approached her, carefully, not to scare her.
The girl was wearing a bright dress may be golden, I couldn't completely make out from the distance and her blonde hairs complementing her fair glow. She seemed lost in her thoughts and her eyes fixed at something.
As I approached her the voices of the wild began to fade. She was still oblivious of my presence. I didn't make any haste and with minimal sound and padded foot I reached her.
For one moment I gazed at the golden tree and in the other moment I tried to draw her attention.
" Would You mind if I sit beside you?” I gently asked
She didn't reply.
I anyway sat beside her under that golden tree.
"Would you mind If I ask what are you looking at?"
She seemed too lost.
I was now more anxious to know
Who was she?
What was she doing inside the wood?
I tried but all in vain, she never spoke.
Her silence was eating into me.
Finally, I got up and brushed the dust off which too seemed to be of gold or rather golden. Now the mystic beauty has started to creep me, my uncomprehending senses.
"I will take your leave now, nice talk!' I whispered.
She finally smiled and the golden tree shed few leaves, perhaps in appreciation.
I finally had her attention.
She gazed at me and asked with her soft feather like voice
'would you mind if I ask you for something?'
'Anything ' I replied ecstatically.
Can you give me a hand I want to climb this tree?
I smiled, 'Not a problem'
'But be careful'
'this tree seems to be huge, don’t go too high’
I lifted her and she quickly hopped on my back and tried to catch the branch. Tough luck she was still too short to hoist herself up from that distance. I lifted her more, she pulled and jumped and we both fell but luckily on the velvet of the gold and she safely tugged in my arms.
She laughed, I too laughed, seems like after ages.
As I got up again
I was not an adult
I was a boy again...!
Part II : Reeling into the Past
He loved stories.
Passing through the paved pathways of the cobbled street, his hairs dishevelled, his breathes heavy and his shirt throwing out of his yellowish hand stitched sweater, he made his way through the crowd in haste.
His eyes big with curiosity.
He looked back every now and then to see if his friend was able to follow him in his stead and with an intense look, which was a rare occurrence in his nature, he said it all, to hurry. His friend Javed put in a sprint immediately and in the next moment they were out of the market place and towards the steep road to the old church.
He was only ten and most of his time was spent wandering, wondering and day dreaming. This is the first time he was excited about something real. Indeed, he loved hearing stories, and the old shabby man by the old church has done a good job in catching our young boys’ attention.
He met him when he first visited the Church with his father and as usual when father was busy praying he took the liberty to help himself a small walk in the church’s vicinity. It is okay to let your child go free, as this was a small town and a safe neighbourhood. He found this old man blabbering to himself.
It was an old book shop with an array of books lined up in front, hoardings, pictures of characters to attract the passer-by’s. It has books for all taste and types but especially for children - fairy tales, fables, stories, sacred texts - books church going parents encourage their child’s to read and many more. Apart from being an enthusiast owner of the Book shop, the old man also claimed to be versed in storytelling, drama and history and would exhibit a show for a small share of your tuppence.
Parents didn’t trust him as he was somewhat perceived to be lunatic and generally found encroached in his pile of books, whispering, talking, arguing to himself. He followed his intuition, an impulse, and found himself next moment standing next to him looking inquisitively at all the hoarding, at name of the characters.
The old man observed and asked him to settled down in the chair next to him. He enquired if the child has any money to hear a story, which the child innocently nodded that he has none. But the old man was tired talking to himself so he decided to give his story for free, this time!
And today, he is running followed by his companion, Javed, with money clutched in his hand. Farooq the old man by the church has made him fall in love with his story telling skills. Though he sometime put historical facts to challenge and mould and modify few elements as per his wish but both 10 years self-appointed apprentice couldn’t possible care a bit.
They both liked his stories. But, he was in love with them!
Seventeen years have passed to that day, When the stories used to be fun, Life used to be simple and then everything changed.
Seventeen years have passed; he is still looking for the next story…he never stopped looking for them!
Sometime You stick with a story too long
Cruising aimlessly on a path
to find the next piece
You look at the clouds, what form they inspire?
You look at the colours the sky is hued with,
to find the next song for your story.
You daydream throughout the day
And when the world is asleep,
You gaze beyond the moon - millions of miles away,
to find your next piece...
You prod your past
Read inscriptions depicted across centuries
only to come to this moment
This moment when I had found my story in the Little girl under the golden tree...
She wanted to climb the tree
Why? I don’t know. Perhaps, just an impulse as I felt when I first went to the story teller Farooq and things changed…
I feel she is the next piece of my story
Why? I don’t know, just an impulse but feels good enough.
Why reeling into the past after all this time? Perhaps it's her touch, asking me why have I given up on all possibilities?
It's time to climb again!
My train of thoughts broken by her laugh.
There was something magical about her that took me deep into what’s forgotten, dreams I thought never possible, stories I believed will never be complete.
I feel the warmth here as I used to feel with my friend Javed - who followed me to my madness. Perhaps he is the reason I came by this little girl to feel that warmth again.
“Let’s try one more time” she called and again we fall. She laughed again with her heart out. Moments before she looked dead serious to climb the tree, now she is carefree - laughing at her own falls.
Why I can't be like that? I thought
Why we brand ourselves with every fall - a failure, a loser?
Just need to get up and play along, like her.
Finally, I unwillingly left, borrowing her smile and all the playfulness in my heart. Remembering what’s once cherished but forgotten with time and awaken as my tiny new friend kissed me good bye!
I never met her again...
Perhaps she was from a nearby village or a conspiracy of nature, I can't say
The tree is now all green.
But I seldom visit the same spot to find the gold among all the green.
Well, have I done justice to my dreams?
Only time will tell, the climb has began...!