Thursday, May 28, 2009


Jesse wakes up Rohan and tells him about her dream. She Asks him, "Rohan tell me what is Nishabd?” He does not know what to say. He looks lost. He tells Jesse that Nishabd is a poem that he had written for Aabha.

Aabha had become silent when she had heard the poem. She hugged Rohan and said nothing. It was admission of love from her. Rohan was delighted. He lifted Aabha up in his arms. They both wanted this moment to stay for them for ever. They found one way and they both wrote Nishabd on a tree nearby. Both of them used to come to tree sometimes and used to smile together seeing Nishabd preserved by the hills as expression of its blessings for their love

Jesse jerks Rohan and asks again,"Tell me, what Nishabd means?" He said,"Nishabd means wordless, uh no, it means a state of being beyond words." He then tells Jesse about the poem that he had written. They both decide to go to the place next day. Jesse can not sleep now. She makes some tea for herself. She comes out in the gallery and sees light in a hill nearby. When she looks with attention it seems an old man is dancing there with some fire burning. She calls Rohan outside, but now there is no light and he can not see anything.

Rohan and Jesse are going to Asgoli today. They will first go to Dwarahat in a bus and then they will have to move on foot from there. She is excited but he seems silent today. It is raining heavily today. They have soon reached Dwarahat and now they will start for Asgoli as soon as rain stops. She sees a little girl playing with a doll in the tea shop. She sees Jesse and comes close to her. Jesse holds her in her lap and Rohan watches it and smiles.

Rain has stopped. They start towards Asgoli. The sky is still dark. Jesse is awestruck with the beauty of place. Deep gorges with innumerous trees. Places where there could not have been any foot prints of civilized man. She is moving slowly slowly with Rohan, who is very silent today. After moving for half an hour village Asgoli is still not in sight. But the tree where Nishabd is imprinted is nearby. Rohan has increased his speed, Jesse is excited but little afraid also. They are entering in to woods and soon they reach the place where Nishabd is written on a tree. Jesse is trying to read it. But it is very difficult to read in diminishing light. Suddenly she sees an old man moving towards them. It is the same old man who had met her in Shivalaya at Kafda earlier. Rohan also looks at old man but his eyes stop at something else. There is a bag lying there. It is Aabha's bag. Old man is saying something but he can not hear it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


PS: If you have not read earlier parts of this story before, please first read them in earlier posts.

Jesse stops smiling and frees herself from embrace of Rohan. She shouts,"Who is Aabha? Tell me Rohan who is Aabha? Why is this name bugging me so much?" She is crying. Rohan has a blank face. He is almost sweating. He asks Jesse,"How do you know about Aabha?" Jesse is still crying,"Rohan, I have been having dream of a masked man who says Aabha to me, then I met an old man who said Aabha to me." She starts crying even more,"I am not any kind of glow, why is this name troubling me. I wanted to share joy of our first baby with you and wanted to surprise you and this name has ruined it. I hate Aabha, I hate Aabha". Rohan does not know what to say.

Rohan had met Aabha when he had gone on election duty to a town named "Asgoli" 4 years ago."Asgoli" is a small village with no electricity and is probably village at highest altitude in the whole Almora region. There were no roads which connected village to Dwarahat( the nearest town). Aabha was studying at Almora university and had come to her village for some days. Rohan had stayed at Pradhan Ji's house and there he met Aabha. Both liked each other very much. Aabha was also planning to work as reporter in "Parvat jaagran" newspaper. Rohan liked Aabha very much. Rohan wanted to marry Aabha. Rohan informed Pradhan Ji about his wish. Pradhan ji had read love in his daughter's eyes but before he could take any decision he wanted to inform Rohan about the truth related to Aabha. In between Aabha went to Almora for her last examination and also for some assignments at "Parvat Jaagran". She never came back. All sort of efforts were made but nobody could find Aabha. Months passed and slowly slowly everybody accepted the fact that Aabha was not going to come. They told themselves that she had died. Rohan made all efforts that he could to find out Aabha but it did not result in anything. Rohan also gave up hope after sometime.

Rohan has lived in hills since his childhood. He understands that hills are playing tricks. But why? what should he tell Jesse? He asks Jesse about the old man who had met Jesse. Jesse gives description of his appearance but Rohan has never seen an old man like that in Kafda village. He decides to tell Jesse about Aabha and tells her everything. Jesse asks Rohan explanation for her dreams but he does not have any. Rohan asks Jesse to come with her to the roof of their home from where they can see "temple of doonagiri" and says to Jesse that the goddess inside is queen of hills in that area and she will take care of everything. Jesse does not believe in anything like this but when Rohan insists she again imagines a church and bows her head with respect and prays to God to make everything better for both of them.

Sun has already set. Rohan says to Jesse that he would go to Shivalaya with her next day in the morning to find old man. Jesse feels little comfortable now and the fact that she has shared the news of being pregnant with Rohan makes her feel makes her relaxed. she smiles and comes near to Rohan who is cleaning the dishes. She hugs Rohan from his back and Rohan also turns back and smiles. Rohan keeps her hand on Jesse's stomach and kisses her on her cheek.

Today there is no masked man. It is a girl, a beautiful girl. No, masked man is there. He is chasing girl and girl is shouting,"Mummy,Mummy". Masked man slits girl's throat with a sword. Soon there is blood and a something falls away from girls hand. A horse comes running in the same direction. There is silence now. Same images are rolling again and again. there is nothing but silence now. A day has passed. Blood keeps dripping out of girls body. She is not even dead. She wants to say something. No she is saying something, but silence is killing all sounds. Girl also feels that she is not able to communicate through sound and she is now pointing out to the bag she has thrown. It is lying near a tree. Something is written on the tree. Some symbol in some language other than english. It is Hindi. Jesse is trying to read it: its na, chootee i kee maatra, Sha, aadha Ba, Da. It is Nishabd. It is Nishabd.

Jesse wakes up again, sweating...What does Nishabd mean??

To be continued...

Monday, May 11, 2009


PS: Nishabd and Nishabd 2 have already been posted before. Those who have not had a look at them, please read them first.

Jesse is perplexed. Old man comes close to her and says something in Kumauni which she does not understand. But old man keeps smiling. He offers her some Gadmahal( a fruit), which she refuses. Old man says, "Chellee". She understands that it means daughter. She stops and sees affection in old man's eyes. She takes the fruits. Old man puts his hands on her forehead and says, "Aabha". She is almost petrified. Tic,Tic and She shouts,"But I am not Aabha, I am not any kind of glow". Old man looks at her calmly. Jesse sees that old man did not understand what she said. She cries again, " Mai aabha nahee hoon.". Old man now smiles and his eyes have tears. Jesse drops all the fruits and asks old man with little anger,"Aabha kaun hai?", Old man points finger to her and smiles. He starts collecting all the fruits and gives them back to Jesse. Jesse refuses to take them and walks swiftly away from Old man. When she is almost 20 meters far she looks back at Shivalaya, Old man is looking at fruits and is still smiling.

Old man knows Aabha is a dream, it is a dream. He knows hills are playing tricks again

Jesse comes back home. She sees some pieces of "Gadmahal" at her door. She thinks of throwing them but as she turns to throw them, she sees Rohan coming. She stops and puts all fruits on the floor. Rohan comes and kisses her on her cheek. She hugs Rohan and Rohan feels a difference. Rohan asks, "Jesse, Kya hua?" Jesse says nothing. She says," I love you Rohan. I love you". Rohan kisses Jesse on her forehead and says,"I love you too, Kya hua? Something is with you? What?" Jesse does not say anything. She is breathing heavily but slowly slowly is relaxing. Rohan opens the door.

Jesse goes to kitchen to warm the food and Rohan freshens up. Rohan smells,"Gohad ki daal" and is happy and starts singing in Kumauni. "Radhika tyaur Mohana, Daajoo Raadhika Tyaur Mohana". Jesse loves this song and smiles to herself in kitchen. She still does not want to tell anything to Rohan. She wants to understand it herself first. She is little afraid but she feels it adventurous to keep it to herself. Rohan comes to Kitchen and asks her why she seemed so afraid outside. She says that she had just seen a snake outside.

Jesse is hiding one more thing from Rohan. Rohan will soon come to know and she would love to see her reaction. Both have their meal and then Rohan has opened television. Jesse comes outside and plans how would she tell Rohan about her other thing. She makes a small plan. She asks the lady working in the field nearby to their house for lending her a kumauni dress. Lady laughs and tells her using hand movements that Jesse will not fit in her dress as Jesse's height is almost 6-7 inch more than that of her. Jesse drops this plan and instead she makes a different plan.

Rohan has been watching TV for an hour now, suddenly he sees Jesse in his(Rohan's) Kumauni clothes. She is wearing a white kurta, a payjama and a cap that is normally worn by Kumauni man. She is looking very beautiful. Rohan is surprised but then Jesse says that she has a good news. Before Jesse says anything, Rohan is already mad with joy. He is going to be a father. He lifts Jesse in his arms and kisses her. Rohan says, "Jess, it is going to be girl and we will name her,Aabha."

(To be contininued)

Monday, May 4, 2009


PS: Please have a look at post Nishabd first. This is continuation of same story.

Jesse comes back to bed and tries to sleep. But sleep had eluded her now and she is thinking about her next day. She plans to visit the "Shivalaya", a temple, where she finds a lot of peace. She would also have to go to "Chhoi", a water source, where she would wash the clothes. She thinks about the project which she had set out for and in the course she had got greatest gift of her life, Rohan. She is now thinking again about the Maskman and the word "aaubhaa", what does it mean? She plans to ask Neeru, a student of Rohan. She could ask Rohan also but she prefers to keep it a secret as it really does not make sense to her. She thinks its a dream afterall. Only thing she wonders about is the word, "Aaubha". Where did she first hear it? Jesse keeps thinking and cuddles around Rohan, who turn towards her and she likes the warmth of hug in the chilly night. She falls asleep.
Jesse wakes up by a knock at the door. Rohan has left for School. He has made some sandwitches. She guesses that there would be some tea in the kettle also. She opens the door and its Neeru with some Maltas,fruits similar to oranges. She asks Neeru to come in. Neeru wearing red ribbon and blue Kurta and white salwaar seems to be pretty happy. She is always happy whenever she gets a chance to see "buuuutiful Jesse mam". Jesse is also happy to see her as Neeru is the only girl who understands English and is able to speak broken Engligh too. Jesse also understands Hindi but it is still not perfect. "Mam, Malta, Apne ghar se layee hoon.", "Achha, par English mein baat karo, You want to learn English or not". Jesse asks Neeru offering her tea which she always refuses, what the word "aaubha" means. Neeru says, "Oh, Aabha". She then explains to Jesse that Aabha means glow. She also exemplifies it saying, "Mam, you are very beautiful and your face has a lot of Aabha." Jesse laughs and so does Neeru. Jesse asks herself almost in monologue why a masked man with a sword would say Aaubha to her. Neeru hears it and her eyes widens. She answers, "Mam, because hills can play tricks." Jesse asks with some anger,"what trick?" Neeru smiles and says that she has to go to school. And she leaves. Jesse thinks,"crazy girl, hills and tricks". She smiles and eats sandwitch which today seems to be tastier than other days.
Jesse drops plans to go to "Chhoi". She instead would go to "Shivalaya" today. She will cook some food first. She cooks, "Gohad ki daal" and rice which are favourite of Rohan. She then opens television but could not find anything interesting. She now gets ready and is on her way to Shivalaya. Soon she crosses market of Kafda and she reaches Shivalaya. She is the lone person in Shivalaya today which happens many times as Kafda has a total population of almost 100 people only. She goes near the Shivalinga and closes her eyes. She imagine a cross in front of her and then thinks of the city church where she used to go when she was at california. But suddenly thought of maskman and sword comes to her mind and she opens her eyes. she comes out of the temple and thinks about word "Aabha". She has come out of Shivalaya and sees an old man at the gate of Shivalaya. Old man looks at her and smiles.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Jesse has been dreaming a masked man, a sword and a horse since last week. Today also she got up shivering as masked man came closer and said, "aabha". What does "aaubbhaa" mean? Why is she dreaming the same dream again and again.

Rohan, her husband is sleeping beside her. They had an argument last night over Jesse giving contracaptive pills to their maid Gita. Jesse thought she had done a noble act while Rohan had said that it was dangerous for both of them if Gita's husband Santosh got to know about the pills.

Jesse left the bedroom and came to kitchen. There was no electricity in the house and that made Jesse guess that it must have been 3 am as that was the time for routine electricity cut in small hilly town of Kafda nearby Ranikhet. It was January and it was freezing cold. But Jesse wanted to come outside in the gallery. But she dropped the idea as some nights ago they had found a tiger resting outside the gate that opened at Gallery. She sat in a chair outside kitchen and put her feet on stool nearby. she then lit a candle and in the candle light she stared at her "Payal" peeping out of the green socks. What a beautiful Indian ornament she thought, she always had a dream of wearing such a thing regularly in California where she spent most of her childhood and college days.

She had come to Ranikhet two years ago on a reasearch project related to effect of non organised construction on ecology of Shaivalik series of Himalaya. It was a team of 5 people Mark, professor Bhowmik, Cristie, Jonathan and herself. Professor Bhowmik belonged to department of environmental studies of University of Shillong. Mark had contacted Mr. Bhowmik from University of California showing their interest in ecology of Shaivalik series and then after some exchanges they had decided to come down to Ranikhet as ecology of this region of Himalaya was changing continuosly after Uttaranchal had become a separate state and a lot of development projects were started by new Uttaranchal government with out much care for the environment of this beautiful Himalayan region.

She first met Rohan when their team went to visit a small school in a village called Kumalta. Children of school and even teachers had never seen a foreigner in person. And everybody seeemed to behave in very absurd manner except Rohan. He greeted the team well. Children could not stop giggling seeing the white men and some of them even had started shouting in unison,"Chimpoo", which Jesse now understands means monkey. Rohan was also a teacher of Mathematics at school and used to take some classes in social science also. He was a very handsome person and an unusual 6 feet hight for persons belonging to hilly region. He wore spectacles consisting photochromatic lenses. He took the team to a temple nearby and gave them information about villages nearby and the water sources for each village and some details about kind of animals that villagers used to have. When Rohan met Jesse, he pronounced his name, "Rohan Kafadwaal", at which Jesse couldnt stop laughing. What a funny name she said. At this Rohan smiled and explained that his name was so because he belonged to a village named "Kafda" and people at hills of Uttaranchal have a tradition of having their surnames rooted in the names of places where they live. Jesse was impressed by the manner he spoke. She noticed the well built body of this young man and also couldnt help silently appreciating a little curl on the upper lip of this young man when he smiled. Jesse now went to bedroom silently watching Rohan sleeping with a little smile on his face. Jesse couldnt help but smiled.

PS: I am planning to complete this story in many posts as I myself want to think over what should happen next, though I have some broad outline in mind. I dont know how many such small posts will complete the story but I expect comments on the parts read so far or on the direction that you anticipate for the story.