PART - 1 : FIRST BOAT RIDE.
Standing alone in the crowd full of traffic in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. My face became red and black because of pollution. I stopped my bike and walked towards the ghats. I gave weather a chance to heal me.
In the evening at 6 pm, where river Yamuna was flowing. Many different boats were lined up which were leaving towards the other side of the river 3 kilometers away.
Suddenly a girl called '' Sahab !! , Do you want a ride? Will you come with me? I will take you to the other side alone. You will have to pay me Rs. 50. By the way, what is the time.'' The girl was dressed up in a red and blue saree. She looked pretty and beautiful. Her smile and style made me to admire her.
Being in a state of tiredness I replied,'' I will come. It is 9:30 p.m.''
As I walked on the boat it danced here and there in water. Noise of traffic and splashing sound of the clear blue water mixed in my head. There were many other different shapes of boats but they carried many tourists. They all gave Rs. 10 to the boatmen.
It was a beautiful scene, a light red sky and looked like a mirror image on the shivering flow of the water. The boat moved vertically ahead, but changed its flow in the other direction because of the horizontal movement of the air and the river flow.
The hands of the girl moved in a circular pattern with a long heavy wooden shaft going up and down in the water of the river. The Taj Mahal looked to move towards right in a 3-dimension view in comparison to the sailing boat.
The girl said,'' Would you like to have a tea? ''
She offered tea in a steel glass. I accepted it. She told that in her family had no father, a younger brother and her mother. She carried the burden of the family in that strong hands . Curiously I asked," How could you a job like this. Are there any other women that do this cheap labor.”
She said ," My father also did the same job. I have learnt this skill from him. He died because of a sudden accident few years back when the boat flipped completely. Nobody knew where he went. How could you call this cheap? I earn much more than you." Fog and chill winds all around a small land appeared where people were drinking and dancing around the fire.
Shocked suddenly I said “Look out!! That rock behind your back." She was unable to realize that a small rock has hit the lower part of the boat. The long wooden rock suddenly drowned inside the river as she left it all in a jerk.
The water started to fill inside the boat, she screamed," Die! Die! ."
Again She said, "Today is the day and this is the place where my father died .You won't survive either.”
The rain came down heavily from the red sky filled with the thundering grey clouds. She attacked me with a knife from his right hand. I bended my back and caught her arm with my left hand. Pushing her back a little bit from my body I tried to jump out of the boat into the cold icy water. But she yelled again, “You have to die from my hands. You have to die.”
I called, "Somebody Please Help!! Is someone out there!! Help Help!! ."
No sound of anyone came. I jumped into the cold water and held the rock with my hands.I said to myself," How can I be such a fool.'' I decided to wait till the morning rays fill the sky.
On the chill icy rock and fog night. I sat there shivering in the cold. I waited there for many hours until a man in a boat arrived. A lamp hanged on wooden board from where the side he was rowing. Yellow light become brighter as the boat float closer.
I told my story to him, but he said, “no one has survived if you go that way, you are a lucky one, and there is no one like that boat girl.”
He left me on the banks of Yamuna River. I said,'' How much? .''
Before I could search my coins he rowed backwards. '' Wait for me I will tell you the full story. By the way, what is the time.''
'' What did you say? She also said the same thing,'' shouted I again and again. But he didn't even watched behind. "It is 4:00 am by my watch.” said I again.
PART - 2: THE DEAD FATHER
I climbed the steps of ghats and felt horrible. The temple bell rang in the morning. I reached inside the hotel and ordered for a tea in my room. Freshening up inside the bathroom, there was knock at the door.
A man in dark black kurta and payjama with a tea in his hands appeared .I took the tea took from his hands he said, “I am the father of the girl whom you met yesterday and the boatman who rescued you. I am in trouble you have to help me." He put his hands on the moustache and in a heavy rough voice he said,'' I am The Dead Father.''
Shockingly I answered," Please Let me go. I have not done any harm to you. "
He replied," No, I want you to do job for me." He closed the door and sat on the old wooden antique chair.
Breathing heavily panicking I said, "she told me that you were dead. I will not do any job for you. How come you are alive?"
"Don't worry!! I don't want to see my girl working and earning at such a young age. She wants to study. You have to rescue her and bring her to Me." said he after sipping some tea in a glass.
"Why are you not doing this, you are her father. I don't want to get involved. What if she attacks me again? Why should I believe you "said I as I shook in front of him.
“Because the glass in which you are drinking is made of gold, I can make you rich “said the old father.
Thinking a little bit more as I keenly noticed the glass and smiled. I said, “OK, I will do it but firstly you have to tell me your past story. Why did you claimed yourself dead and left? "
He answered," I am running from people who are after me. A man died in an accident who was from a rich and known family. They consider me as a culprit. The tree felt straight on to him even after I pointed him out to move from that area. I ran away for my life and missed my family till now. My family still lives on that island"
He continued," I escaped on my old boat after a long run in the forest. I declared myself dead and left my boat near that rock. But fortunately I found a box full of gold utensils and coins. That box I found was connected to chain from that rock. I don't know where it came from. I swam across the river towards the Island of Death where nobody comes out alive. But I survived because I made peace with the people ancient tribe living over there. I told them my story and they did not harm media also gave them gold which was theirs lost ancient treasure."
"So why don't you pull them out alone and why did you need Me." said I picking a pillow in my hand.
“I cannot enter that island where my family is living. They will recognize me and kill me. You are not known. You are not recognized by anyone." said he rubbing all his fingers.
You have to rescue my family from one island to other. Then I will take care of my family." said him.
We sat in a boat which he made himself. He showed the place where he found the treasure. He took me to the old island where he was living with a tribe. I met many of them living over there. They were all helpful. Then, from a long view he showed the island where his family was living.
Finally with full determination I said "I will do it for you."
He saw me with soft eyes and said "Thanx a lot."
PART - 3: THE ESCAPE.
At 10:17 p.m.
Before leaving the island, he gave me a cloth and a fire light. The sky was clean with white twinkling stars and a slow chilly wind. I pulled the boat on the shore of the island and walked barefoot on the wet sand. I could see tiny small houses in a circular pattern where the boat girl went inside one of them. Men and Women danced together in a campfire.I went inside that house. Utensils were scattered, a young boy was sleeping and a lady was cooking the food.
The Boat Girl with a knife in hand quietly said,'' You parked the boat on that side and came directly here. Who are you? ''
I exclaimed '' You were waiting for me. OK!! Your father is still alive. He is not dead. He is living on the Island of Death with an old tribe. '' I presented a cloth which her father gave me. The boy got up and said,'' This is my father's bedcover. ''
Lady from behind watched as tears from her eyes came out. She said,'' How is he? ''
''He is fine. You three have to come with me to that island on the boat.'' said I and watched the campfire where people were dancing.
PART - 3: GLOWING MOON AND DANCING FIRE
At 11:52 p.m.
Quickly we packed up as walked towards the beach. The girl took the charge to drive in the turbulent water of the night. As we were few kilometers away a voice came from behind,'' They are running away. STOP! STOP! ''.
Five boats from behind chased us. Only one kilometer away I lighted the fire light and gave the signal to the tribe that enemy is chasing us. The girl said,'' Father!'' Rowing as she was free from all the obligations of the world.
They started shooting arrows from behind. It was something in the air in the form of firelight. I picked up a long rectangular wooden board. Shield covered the flying arrows. I shouted to all three of them,'' Bent down near me. The shield will protect us'' An arrow hit my stomach but still I stood to save everyone. Five arrows were on the wooden board. Arrows or firelight came out from the tribal people. They were lined up on the beach. The sky was filled with Glowing Moon and firelight arrows which appeared to dance with the sparkling stars. They killed the enemy. All of them.
We reached the shore and the girl jumped to meet his old father. His wife and boy cuddled around him. They were all crying as they met after a long time. The enemy boats did came to the beach as they thought to return from the dead island. At a distance the sea was burning with fire. I lay unconsciously on the boat.
PART -4: ONE LAST RIDE
I opened my eyes. The girl said,'' Everything is fine. Don't move, keep sleeping.'' I came out the next day. I wore green colored clothes made from the old banyan roots and leaves. Green neem leaves cured me. They all patted my back. Everybody thanked me for the heroics. A small boy made a garland for me made of red and white roses. They all danced for me. '' This night is memorable Thanks to you. I will always remember '', said I to the girl.
Finally I took a share of treasure. The girl gifted me a glass of steel and kissed me on cheeks.
She said,'' This is for you. I will always remember you. Will you come back to meet me.''
'' YES!! YES!! The first time you met me, you offered me a tea and a knife. The second time you had a knife in hand. But this time you are smiling and looking beautiful. Your father doesn't knows that I risked my life for you and your family. This is not for gold. I decided this when he told me about you in the room.Will you leave me to the boat for one last ride.'' said I. It rained slowly as she hugged me. We walked in hands closely. The tides come and go away. I sat on a boat and drove away to fade away in river.
I called from distance, "By the way what is your name."
"My name is Megha" shouted she.
I was unable to hear the name. The winds were blowing against the voice of the girl.
I left the Island Of Death with many memories to cherish. But surely I want to come back to meet the BOAT GIRL.
I stood on the boat and said," I will come back for sure. Wait for me.”
As I pulled up the chain, the boat started to sail with the wind. I stood up and sung for her.
"Ha, Ha the boat girl.
You are my boat girl.
I love you, you love me.
I like you, you like me.
It has been long day for me and you.
It has been a long way for me and you.
Love me like anyone for the one last ride.
Love me like anyone for the one last time."