October-December 2002 issue
House Boats on Dal
Lake in Srinagar. Credit for introducing
House Boats in Kashmir goes to Pt. Narain Das, father of Swami Laxman ji.
for the Children
& the Witch - Concluding part
1 | Part 2 | Part
got panicky for Gulu. He continued to look for him till he found him in
a corner along with the bodies of some other children. Samang's brown horse
was also there, standing on four legs but motionless. There were precious
stones and jewellery placed on shelf like structures. There were swords
and arrows, made out of large animal bones. There were all varieties of
fresh and dry fruits and other eatables, stored in beautiful gem laden
stone containers. Charu's time was running out. He quickly looked out for
the glass jar containing souls, but there was none. There was a wall at
another corner. Charu went behind it and found another small cave, in which
fire was lit. He took a burning wood and searched each and every corner
of the cave, but he could not find any souls. He got worried. He came out
of the cave. Tara was alert, standing near the stone. There was no trace
of a wind and Charu still had time. But he could not decide about his next
Charu noticed, Tara was wet. He had taken
another dip at the spring. Charu was angry. Tara should not have left the
spot he was stationed at. He rebuked Tara and Tara licked his feet, begging
pardon. In a flash, Charu felt, he had had some clue to rescue Gulu. He
took out a bowl from his sack and went to the spring to fill it with water.
He did not forget to have another dip before he entered the courtyard again.
Tara kept the bowl on ground and climbed
up a tree. From there, he looked at the chimney. The owl was fast asleep
there. Charu climbed down immediately, picked his bowl and went inside
cave again. He reached near Gulu and poured the spring water over him.
Gulu started moving his eyes and lifting his hand. Charu shouted with joy.
Within moments, Gulu was alive. He embraced Charu and kissed him. Tara
heard their voice and came running inside. He licked Gulu's feet. Gulu
patted him. Charu and Gulu wanted to leave immediately but Tara would not
let them go. He was looking at the brown horse of Samant. Charu understood
what Tara wanted. Charu and Gulu, both came out. Tara remained there. Charu
emptied his sack and filled it with spring water. Both of them had a dip,
and carried the sack inside the cave. With his small bowl, Charu poured
water on Samant's horse. He was also alive. They poured the water on as
many people as they could and all of them were alive. Time was running
out and they could not waste time on getting more water from the spring.
The brown horse and the people who got
life back, jointly slided the entrance stone. All of them were out of the
cave. Charu instructed all to run to safety before the witch came or the
owl awoke. And an idea struck Charu's mind. The owl was sleeping and It
was the right time to kill him. He signalled Tara. Tara ascended to the
top of the cave and down brought the owl, his wings tightly held in his
teeth. Owl was half asleep, fluttering his wings. Tara dropped him near
Charu and Charu lifted him in his hands and twisted his neck. There was
a thundering roar all around. Charu continued twisting owl's neck and the
wind started blowing. The witch was somewhere near, roaring with pain.
Wind blew faster and the witch came close to the spring, shouting and screaming.
The owl was still alive and Tara was not able to kill him. He put him under
the foot of the brown horse, and the horse trampled it. There was a loud
scream of both, the owl and the witch. The witch fell near the spring half
dead, screaming and pleading for life but the horse was mad. He did not
look at the witch and instead kept the owl pressed under his foot. Tara,
jumped over the owl and tore his neck apart with his sharp teeth. The owl
and the witch died instantly. And a miracle took place. There was no spring
now. It vanished. The magical water channel was calm now. There was no
splashing and there were no colours. The skeleton bridge also vanished.
Charu and Gulu, both were sad. Those, dead
inside could not be given life now, as there was no spring and no magical
water. Before they started leaving for their home, they heard noise inside
the cave. And in a few moments, all those who were still dead inside, came
out alive, running and shouting, to the pleasure of Charu. They had all
attained life at the death of the witch.
When Charu and Gulu reached top of Vismainag,
they saw flocks of different varieties of birds coming towards plains of
the cave. They saw nightingales and bulbuls and parrots and long necked
swans, all chirping and singing, and retiring at the fruit bearing trees.
The whole area looked like a piece of paradise. But Charu, Gulu, Tara and
the horse, did not want to stay in this paradise. They wanted to be home
before it was night. Tara ran fast and fast so that he could inform the
villagers in advance.
Charu and Gulu mounted on Samant's horse.
When they reached the foot of Vismainag, there was no ravine. The banks
had joined back. The trees were there and the rope was lost inside the
earth. Beyond this place, the land had grown with lots of flowery plants.
There were no wild bushes and the whole area looked beautiful.
When Charu and Gulu reached Kolur, all
the villagers had assembled at both the banks of Hapatara. All of them
shouted with joy and embraced both Charu and Gulu. Charu had done a great
job at the risk of his life and was now the hero of the village. Charu's
parents were in tears of joy, having seen their son alive. Tara was carelessly
swimming and playing in the waters of the stream.
Next day, villagers removed the thorny
bushes barrier from right bank of Hapatara and declared that area open
to all. They changed the name of the snow-capped mountain from Vismainag
to Charunag, in the name of their hero.