Love from the road #3

Tea In The Rains

Today it will be a month since I left. I don’t know when you will get this because I’m in a very remote coastal town. I actually have to travel quite a lot just to post this! 

Not that I mind. It’s green and beautiful! It rained here. I wonder if it’s rained there? I think not. It’s only when the winds move from here that they’ll flourish there. 

I suppose, everything has its place and time. 

Image Source 

It reminded me of one of those first dates. That auto with old hindi songs playing, the pitter patter of rain drops, and you. 

You were gently humming to the song, and in that moment, things were so complete. 

I never underappreciated your presence in my life. But I feel I could have been more expressive of my gratefulness. I’m going to actively do that when I’m back. 

The steam rises from my tea. I stopped on a roadside stall to have it. Some rain drops too are mixed with it. We will never be able to tell them apart. And I guess, we don’t need to. 

I’m much more content now. I think the decision to not take my phone along was a good one. But I miss the sound of your voice. Maybe I will have an inkling of that through your reply. I miss you. 

Love from the road #2

It is the early hours of the morning. I am sitting by the side of a flowing stream. Apart from the birds, the rustling leaves, the sound of gently gurgling water and the scratching noise of my pen against paper, there is no other sound. With such silence, the voices inside me become a lot more clear and loud.

Maybe this is why city life is so full of noises? Because we cannot bear to listen what our inner voice is saying?

You know, I was weeping last night. No, don’t worry, I’m all right. It’s just that when I lost dad, being the elder son, I just pushed it all in and stored it away to deal with it later. As I saw the funeral pyre burn, I thought the rites would give me the outlet I require.

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But yesterday, I saw a parent bird teach it’s offspring the tricks of survival. I could not control the burst of tears. I thought of all the good times with dad. I thought of all the time I wanted to spend with him, all the things I wanted to say, ‘when I got the time’. But the time, never comes, does it?

We push away our grief to deal with later, and enter the push on and work or push on and party mode. But later never happens, and all our sorrow and longing grows like rust inside.

I don’t want to lose time with you. I want to tell you over and over that I love you. I miss you each step of my journey, and while I am discovering myself with each passing mile, I can’t wait to get back and rediscover you again.

Love, from the road.

I was returning from work.. it had been a tiring day. I saw that there was a lonely postcard on my doorstep. In this day and age of technology, no one sends these. It was from him. My heartbeat suddenly increased.. it had been days since I heard from him.

With groceries balanced in one hand and my bag in another, I opened the postcard before opening my door.

I really am blessed to have met you. How many girls would put up with a partner who decides to suddenly leave on a road trip, with the vague explanation of  inner exploration?

But I hope you forgive me for my abruptness. I will write to you at every important juncture in my journey. I see you in everything that inspires me – the beautiful colours of the sky as I lie in an open rice field, to the hard work that a weaving woman puts into making cloth.

I remembering insisting that you join me and you said that you can’t, your work needs you. Those children need you. But I think you sensed something before I did:  that I needed to make this quest alone to bring my life into focus. You would have been a comforting presence but what I need right now is hardships that make me think.

Thank you for being who you are. The picture on the other side is that of the first breaking of ice as the summer hits the frozen rivers in the Himalayas.

Love,
Your Wandering Love.

Clues in Crochet – Part 3 – Finale.

Christie and Mr. Mason were stunned and silenced by the sound. They could not believe it. The thugs and their boss – all blown to tithers. Finally, Christie found the strength to speak.

“Mr. Mason, these thugs were the only ones who knew we are here.. and now they are dead.. what will we do?”

“I believe Miss, that this was a devastating design, but nonetheless one for your safety, designed by Madam before she died.. I’m not saying she got the mines placed there – I would have known and so would other people.. but she definitely knew about them.. and she chose to be silent – except for that paper with the codes you’re carrying”.

Christie understood. Grannie might have foreseen that the thugs may get to Christie, and she put it in place so that both Christie and the treasure would be safe and the thugs would be finished off.

However, that still didn’t solve the problem that both of them were tied with rope to the pole, with no sign of human life around. Add to the fact that they hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday.

“But Mr. Mason, for us to get to the treasure or even to get back, we need to be freed of the ropes.. there’s no one around. How will we do that?”

“Oh miss, you do underestimate this farmer.. do you think he would roam about in hostile land without his indispensable tools?”

He then removed a swiss knife, and gradually began to cut the rope. It was a thick rope and it took them a while to get free, but they were eventually untied.

“Now,” said, Christie, massaging her wrists that seemed to be devoid of blood flow, what do we make of this?”

On the sheet of paper was a single line with a sort of code.

Rnd 5: (2 sc in next st, sc in nxt 3 st) 6 times (30 st)

“Any idea what this is, Mr. Mason?”

“It doesn’t sound familiar to me, but we ought to think more. Because if we do not get it right, we may get blown to pieces too. This is a ruthless but necessary part of Madam’s plan, to keep the treasure safe”.

They sat thinking, and chewing some leaves for want of food.

“Oh of course!”, said Christie, slapping her forehead in irritation.

“You know what it means?” said Mr. Mason, rather taken aback by the force of her slap.

“Mr. Mason, this part of the field, is it sort of like a hexagon.. a snowflake?”

“Well, if you think of it that way yes, the borders that the historians made do roughly resemble that shape.”

“This is crochet code, what is written on the paper – and I hope I remember it right, but its translates like this –

Rnd 5 This is the fifth round of the pattern.

2 sc in next st Make 2 single crochet stitches, both into the same stitch.

sc in next 3 st Make 1 single crochet stitch into each of the next 3 stitches.

(…) 6 times Repeat everything within the parentheses 6 times.

(30 st) You’ll make a total of 30 stitches in this round.”

“But Miss.. is there any way to cross-check? If we have this wrong, we can die here and all of Madam’s work will be in vain.”

“I’m afraid not, Mr. Mason. Light-weight objects do not trigger the mines so trying to make such a thing pass over the code-route will yield nothing. We have to take the risk”.

Slowly, they followed the path of the stitches laid out by the code. Christie thought her feat had turned to lead and her heart had stopped beating. She almost thought that with each next step, as they got closer to where the thugs were headed, she would die, blown to pieces by a mine. But she re-instilled faith in herself, believing fiercely in Grannie.

Alas, they reached a block of stones. This was where one of the men had said that the deposits of whatever they were looking for were bound to be.

Christie looked around. What, were they to dig now? They did not have shovels or anything.

Just then, she saw that a block in the stones was of a slightly different colour.

Carefully, she pulled out what seemed to be a wooden box. It was painted so as to camouflage with the rest of the boulders.

She opened it. Inside it was a remote-control like machine with several buttons on it and some sheets of paper.

First she opened the envelope labeled ‘To Christie’.

“Dear Christie,

If you have reached here, my plan has worked. When the historians came, they came with geologists, because here are deposits of a rare metal. No, it’s not gold. It’s Dalenium, this is what they called it after testing. The government that funded the project got greedy and wanted to use the reserves for harmful purposes. This is one of the few sites of the deposits. It can harness a lot of energy, much more efficient than coal. It is found in our fields in a sort of snowflake pattern – regular intervals of branched growth. To make sure that the deposits don’t fall into wrong hands until the current term of government ended, the head historian suggested we carefully mine the area. There would be casualties she said, but it was important to do so.

Soon after, despite her warnings, some of her staff tried fiddling and died in the procedure. We could not say it was the mines that were killing people, so we circulated strange stories. Sadly, the story of the deposits had leaked, and all sorts of people with vested interests started approaching me, directly and indirectly. I knew it was only a matter of days before they killed me in some obscure manner – food poisoning or some such, as I was vehemently refusing to relent to their negotiation. The historian thought it would be wise to leave for now and let the rumors die down.

The remote will help you make your way around the underground pathways that were made when they started digging up for the fossils. Also in this box is an exclusive will stating your ownership over the deposits. Lastly, you can also find information in this Box on Aki Ra, a living legend from Combodia, who has detonated many land-mines in his own country. You can request him to do so for our filed too, if you feel its safe. Along with him, the geologists, historians and of course, Mr. Mason, you should have a way out of this.

Follow the right path, use these resources wisely. You may be able to change the way the world functions, because we need energy for everything. And remember, trouble may be temporarily over, but don’t stop looking over your shoulder.

Yours,

Grannie”.

After reading this, when she looked up, Mr. Mason’s eyes were as misty as hers.

She read the post script –

“Oh, and yes, here are blue and white crochet coatees for you and Mr. Mason. For a change, you won’t have to look for any clues in them. Except perhaps, those of my love for the two of you”.

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A thank you to the follwing websites –

http://idiotsguides.com/static/quickguides/hobbiescrafts/how-to-read-a-crochet-pattern.html

http://www.noob.us/miscellaneous/defusing-land-mines-in-cambodia-scary/

The Aki Ra guy is real and has defused 10,000 land mines in Cambodia. Check out the above link for more.

 

 

Clues in Crochet – part 2!

imagesWhen Christie came to, she was looking into kind old eyes. She blinked. She knew these eyes.

“Oh, my dear, don’t strain yourself. These men bludgeoned you rather hard on the head, I’m afraid.”

Of course, it was the old caretaker, Mr. Mason. Grannie always sang his praises.

“These bad men have been here when Madam was living, and now they want her treasure now that she is dead. They told me you were ill and I was to nurse you until you came to. It seems that they want you to lead them to Madam’s treasure. Tell me dear, is it true? You know where she kept it?”

“I just had an idea that the clues to the hiding place might be hidden in all the crochet work in the house.. you know how grannie loved to crochet, and that’s when they hit me on the head so bad. But who are these men?”

“Local mafia. But that’s not all. They seem to have tied up with some powerful people, who want to get their hands on this land, thus they tried to get you to sell first. But you did not and they also needed you to tell them where exactly to look. They have tried to locate it themselves but their men have just gotten lost in the vast estate, days without food and water and no way to get back. This land is much more mysterious than it looks, and they have finally realized that”.

“But what is this treasure Grannie keeps talking about in the letter?”

“I only know a bit of gold that can be accessed in some spots with rather deep digging. But what your grandmother meant was something entirely different. Even I do not know what it was, but it was more precious than gold. She would ride off early in the morning, and take a different servant each time and a different route each time. We don’t know what it was or how to find it, only you do.”

“But Mr. Mason, surely, they will kill us once they find what they’re after?”

Well, I can safely assume that the purpose of the first crochet was to let me know that the treasure is in the farm, or at least the way to it is, thought Christie.

Now, the second crochet, proceeding to the second room of the house, is an Afghan square in red and white. Towards the north-east of it, is rather a big knot. This can’t be a mistake, Grannie was simply too good at crochet..

“Mr. Mason, do you have a world map around here?”

“What do you need a world map for?” said one of the thugs.

“You hit me on the head, and it hurts even if I think I little. I don’t want to explain myself to a thick-head. I’m doing what I can to find the treasure. No internet connection in this remote place or I’d just use Google”.

“Here you are Miss, a life sized world map.”

“Oh good, now look up Afghanistan, is Kabul sort of towards the North-east?”

“Yes, it is why?”

“Look at this red knot here, this is not a mistake. On the afghan square crochet, Grannie has faintly traced the borders of Afghanishtan, but they have faded with time, what remains is her highlighting Kabul’s location. Are the coordinates of the place given on the map?”

“Yes, its 34.53 North and 69.16 East.”

Good! Is such a spot possible to locate on the farm? I believe that’s where either the next clue or treasure lies”

“If we measure in hectares no, but if we measured in acres, yes.. but that’s still a very vague and vast area to search, it would take days to dig up that patch, that would be towards the end of the farm, mainly our storage units built on infertile land..”

“Wait, what is common between crochet and land? the one unit which is common to both fabric and land..the yard! Think in yards, does it narrow down then?”

“If I super impose the acre plot you mentioned by the yards.. well then those coordinates would point to the tool-shed”.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

“Lot’s of dingy tools here, no treasure! Are you sure about this girl? The boss will be unhappy if you’ve led us on a wild-goose chase!”

“You can shove the boss..! Never mind!”

“Look here Miss,A crochet pattern under the toolbox!”

“Oh of course! One of the reasons why crochet is used is to save wooden surfaces from straining from tea cups.. and rust!”

“It’s different from the one’s we saw in the house Miss.”

“Yes, its a tunisian pattern, it’s started with a slipknot.. and then a chain, which you then replicate once the foundation row is made.. but there’s nothing, no clue within this one, as far as I know.. so it must be the method.. Mr. Mason, anywhere near hear where there’s ropes, or chain, or some construction work where foundations are laid, anything of that sort at all?”

“Well, there was an excavation site here, just when I came, I used to see all these learned people around. Madam said they were historians. They were laying foundation for big machines, permanent machines that go into the ground. They were looking for something.. But way too many of them died of mysterious deaths, and so, the work was left and the site abandoned. No one ever went back there, and so that’s why it’s all still there – the half-laid foundation, the ropes used to pull out rocks, the chains used in the digging machines.”

“That’s it then! that’s where the treasure is!” thought Christie, but she still didn’t feel it was right. There was a piece of paper with codes in her hand that fell from the box. What was the use of this?

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

The thugs grinned as the boss stepped down from the helicopter.

“The pretty-face found it boss! The detector is bleeping! We are positive that those rocks there are where the deposits are and what perhaps the historians and archaeologists were after!

“But wait!” said Christie. She and Mason were tied to a pole at the beginning of the site.

“Yeah right! Wait for you to come up with some funny business to stop us now that we are here! Once me and my men get the deposits, we are killing you and this old bugger, a finishing touch! You just wait here and watch!”

“Listen to me, i think this is not as easy as it looks..I think the area is..”

Just then, there was a loud noise, as bits of human flesh flow everywhere. The noise drowned Christie’s voice, but she said it anyway –

“mined!”

Crockery Conversations – Part 2! (a co-authored post)

And The Manor lived by another day. Its members and inhabitants doing what they were supposed to do. Live on, do their daily work, blissfully unaware of the existence of talking crockery. And just like these members, lived the Crockery of that Manor, the sun went down, lights went out and the Crockery came to life, like always. Slowly, gradually, trying to shake off the stagnant daily life off them, and shedding the darkness. Beginning to talk and move. This day had been quite eventful. Hell, not just eventful but full of hectic work and excitement. It was Neelofar’s birthday. Neelofar, the middle child of one of the brothers of the Manor, was celebrating her18th birthday. Every event, like a birthday or a marriage, at the Manor was a huge, ‘talk of the town’ sort of event. The magnificent Manor would be lit up like the Sun, covered by unbelievable and brilliant decoration, making it truly look like a wonder. Richie rich guests, friends and family, all occupied the Manor for Neelofar’s birthday, to get together and meet up, greeting each
other, the party being a reason for another social comparison, who was prettier, who was richer, and by how much?.

While the legally living greeted outside, the pseudo non-living prepared them to serve their guests with exquisite food and beverages. Dishes of many varieties and kinds were served on them, to cater to people of every type .For a manor this big, serving a family this royal, the amount of Crockery in the kitchen had to be humungous and unbelievable too. Years of serving the royal blood and friends, they had tasted almost every dish, every drink and every stain. They would show off, about how many dishes they have served and which the best was. Surprisingly,
these were the things who had tasted more than any man could have (or woman. We no sexist, bro.)

Shaking off the memory of the day, Mrs Potts, the all mother, the oldest, announced it was safe for everyone to come out. With her permission and assurance, all the unboxed, unchained Crockery came out. Cluttering on their way through the counters, hopping, rearranging themselves, and finally walking down from cabinets, and the strong ones jumping off heights, they all gathered around Mrs. Pott.

Mrs. Potts, with her favourite pots and cups, started chatting about how the day had gone. What went wrong and what was new and what all happened. Comparing everything to how they did it before. Condemning some new things and praising some. While the pots and cups kept on with their chat, two imported, English plates, brought specially from
England, argued with other Indian plates about a recent game of cricket between India and England. David, one of the English plates said, “We invented the game, we play it the best. Everyone else came and cheated from us and learned it. We own cricket!” To which, a furious Indian plate, Rex, replied, “Yeah, and who stole hockey? Don’t you people play it, too? Everybody in the world does. That’s our game. Give that back to us and you can have the
right to lecture me about owning cricket.” Disgusted at being levelled by a comment equally valid, David had to give in and cluttered back into his stand, stomping angrily, giving Rex the meanest of looks. Rex continued to talk to the other English plate, Harrison. Harrison was rather a calmer, more reasonable plate. Now, that’s the kind of personality a plate should have, Rex thought approvingly. He would talk is way out of people but never fight. Taking David’s place, Harrison started talking to Rex and everyone, the other Indian plates knew, Rex was going to succumb to Harrison’s way with words. Thus they popped open their ears and patiently waited for it to happen. Knowing that this night, was going to be all about it cricket and Harrison.

Only, they noticed that one of Neelofar’s friends had forgotten her cup at the Manor, and it simply wouldn’t talk! This was pointed out by the very observant kettle, Jaya. Then it struck her that, *maybe* only the crockery which has been in this Manor can talk! And that spun all kinds of questions – Was the manor bewitched? Were the owner’s wizards? This would explain the incident of last time, when they thought morning came too soon! Do time and other fundamental things behave differently in this Manor? The uproar that went around was magnanimous! But how much of it was true? Only time would tell! (Whether it behaves fundamentally normally, or not.)

{ This blog was co-authored along with Adam Fredie, in fact, the post is mostly him. Do encourage him by comments 🙂 }