Mini Marco Polo
Waggai is a well built, red haired, tall young man of over fifty and odd years.
He is honest, business-like, and truthful man of pragmatic religion. His
brotherly affection and cordial social contacts and harmonious behavior has
endeared him to all his kith & kin, friends and relatives alike.
cordiality with Suriya often makes him pay a welcome visit to Suriya's house
whenever he comes on his own business to Srinagar and stays there for a night or
so, once to pay whatever he himself thinks is due to the landlord. His rural
affinity with Suriya's in laws makes him a guest of honor for several days with
the latter on the sacred festival of yearly Shiv Ratri.
taste for cooked fish makes him stay on with him until the fish is exhausted and
it certainly lasts for several days, for the family too cooks good amount of it
on the happy occasion.
Rahman Waggai seems like breeding a complaint against Suriya. He says,
"Dear Pandith Sahib, may I know if you won't feel hurt what I say……”
has made you entertain such ideas, brother? Aren't you as good a member of our
family as any other member is ? Don't you feel treated as such within your own
right? Have you any apprehensions on that score?" retorts Suriya.
Pandith Sahib, no certainly not! I am as comfortable here as I am at home. Your
rural warmth washes off all the coldness of the city atmosphere for me in this
house" responds Rahman Waggai obligingly.
what makes you feel like complaining, Waggai Sahib?"
complaint is genuine and born of lack of reciprocity, dear brother,"
replies Rahman Waggai.
haven't understood what you say nor do I comprehend what you mean by the word
reciprocity, Waggai Sahib? Have we been slack anywhere in responding to your
needs or looking after your comforts?" asked Suriya.
don't misunderstand me," brother. I feel quite at home with you all. But my
complaint is quite genuine.
I who has always and without fail visited and stayed with you whenever I came to
the city in connection with my own business still you have never given me an
opportunity to reciprocate the affection you besto won me.
so, you enjoy your summer months at different places away from the din and
noise, dust and dirt of Srinagar and yet not at ours. Narapora is situated, as
you know, just at the foot of a cool pine forest spread over the rising plateau.
It could easily form your base camp for one of your treks and tours to Yusmarg,
Nila Nag, Shajimar, Hali village and Hemal spring, Shupiyan and Nagabal, Aharbal
and so on so forth. Wouldn't you like to give us the pleasure of your company
there and carrying both your treks tours at the same time? Pray do consider the
proposal" replies Rehman Waggai.
is a marvelous idea, Waggai Sahib. But what about the utensils we require? We
usually do not carry any except a tea kettle, a stove along with sugar, cakes
and spices only" asks Suriya.
mind if there are no Pandits living there, I can supply you a fresh collection
of them to serve your purpose. That's my responsibility Razdan Sahib"
assures Waggai Sahib.
right, I welcome your kind gesture this summer" agrees Suriya.
July approaches. Suriya and his family members start guarding up their loins,
and set on a trekking tour straight to Narapora Rakh. The party was well
received and supplied with clean beddings and fresh earthen cooking kettles and
fresh fire-containers of Kashmiri Kangrees for use as plates for eating food and
replacing them every time, for they cannot be used a second time as they become
impure for the purpose.
was purchased from neighboring village. Maize-flour and vegetables etc are
supplied by the host who directed party to a small spring nearby the then only
source of water of the village. Mid-day tea was followed by dinner cooked in the
fresh earthen kettles.
earthen containers of live char-coal of Kangries of which there were plenty in
store of the host were used as eating plates, fresher ones by each member at
each meal time. This only because when food eaten from the earthen pot renders
it unhygienic and hence unfit for use a second time.
used earthen containers of live charcoal were washed soon after use at meal time
and depositing them in another rack for the purpose of insulating them by wicker
work and shaped into Kangries for sale by the host later on.
exhausting the whole store of fresh earthenware thus, the holiday tourists set
foot on their trekking six to seven miles every day to the dismay of Waggai
sahib and his so loving family members and the guests alike. For every one had
enjoyed the joy and merriment, common food and took immense pleasure of sharing
farm work in the fields and walnut plantations. All their time had passed on
merrily also on their side trips alike.
after their last trek mentioned above from Shupyen to Pulwama, holiday makers
walked on to . Avantipora across the bridge
over river Jehlum.Then to a tiny hamlet near the village Geru and thence to
Navdal rills beautifully strewn on sides with beautiful little pebbles on one
side of Tral village and back. The party was preparing for a re-cross by boat at
Letapora to Kakapora for two or more additional onward marches to explore other
areas of scenic beauty.
alas! The only daughter-in-law weepingly protested:
we have already had enough trekking by now. I feel listless and exhausted.
Besides, I have not seen my parents, brothers and sisters for long. I yearn to
see them. Kindly let us return home now."
leader of the tourists, Suriya, was faced with a complex problem here. On the
one hand he wouldn't like to allow any deviation from, or laxity to disrupt his
scheduled itinerary and on the other he couldn't take lightly his
daughter-in-laws piteous appeal and frustrate her desire and sentiments.
sword of ultimate decision fell on the robust youth Preetam who was bubbling
with unabated spirit of adventure and wanted to share the joy of further
adventure and exploration.
a few chips while addressing his son Suriya said, "Dear Preetam, you
accompany your sister-in law back home." Preetams face fell and spirits
dampened. He was gloomy and dismayed and yet, he couldn't but obey with a heavy
heart. It was now his turn to be alone at home.
was Preetam's ill-fated imprisonment in his desolate deserted home despite
electrification. He cursed the time of restlessness that passed by sluggishly
for him. For seconds seemed to pass by in hours. He would sit on the
windowsills, brooding and anxious to see his parents back home!
thy name is Time!
on thee! Fie thee!
! Fie! Fie!