Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Realm of Innocence

In the depths of this virgin forest germinates the embryo of human existence. Raped and molested is the soil, soiled over and over again through its copulation with man. I recline in tranquility, unaccompanied and unperturbed, under the thick shade of deodar tress. The last rays of daylight flitting through the leaves form psychedelic patterns on my hands. I look at the crimson sun fading behind the lofty Dhauladhar mountain range and close my eyes.
In idle thoughtlessness I carelessly brush my fingers against a pile of mossy stones - as smooth as velvet,as green as emerald...I inhale the musty, dank smell of the surroundings and slowly open my eyes. A few feet away I spot two little kids walking hand in hand. As they toddle towards me, I notice that they are no more than five years old. The little girl leads the boy towards a mound of soil a few feet away from where I am seated. Their pale white skin and skinny bodies seem to be juxtaposed with their rosy pink cheeks. The girl is wearing a floral print red dress, and the boy is attired in a blue shirt tucked in under his breeches. I muse over their ethnicity and decide that they must surely be British.
I look at them for a while...they seem to be waiting for someone. I slowly get up and walk towards them greeting them with a ''Hello''. They instantly look at me and smile but say nothing. I sit down beside them and ask, ''Hello, What are your names?'' The little boy, as if overjoyed at being questioned, perches himself upon my lap and without even facing me replies coyly, ''My name is Charles and she's my sister Annie''. I ask Annie, ''Where are your parents?'', to which I get no reply. She seems very reserved and shy. I notice her playing with a beautiful red flower in her hand. I try drawing her attention,but she seems completely lost in her flower. Charles gives me a smile as he hops down from my lap and squats beside his sister. They both settle down together and keep staring at the tall trees.
I decide to look for their parents. As I stand up, they both hold my hand and smile...Their hands are extremely cold...A shiver runs down my spine at the touch.I notice their transparent, blue-grey eyes which I find quite intense and intriguing. I smile back and tell them that I'll be back in a moment. I look around the place but do not find anyone. I go inside the Church to look for them but find nobody there except a caretaker dusting the floor. The Church is about to close I realize... I ask the man if he has seen an English couple anywhere... He nods his head and says he hasn't.
As I move towards the doorway, a chipping and fractured white marble tablet catches my eye. I move towards it and read, ''To the memory of Annie Elizabeth who died at Dhurmsala, on the 24th of September 1863, Aged 5 Years and 9 Months and Charles McLeod who died at the same place on the 27th of September 1863, Aged 4 Years and 7 Months. The beloved children...''
Flabbergasted, I rush outside the Church and run towards the place where I was seated before... The children are gone... The red flower lies there, fresh and fragrant...as if kept there just a moment ago...The mound I realize is not just a dune of earth but indeed a grave...I feel dazed...In the distance, birds keep twittering. I run towards the Church and ask the caretaker, ''Does this graveyard, behind this Church have the dead bodies of two little children Charles and Annie?'' He looks at me and replies as if amused, ''Two children? Madamji, don't you know this graveyard is filled with the dead bodies of babies and children?...Hundreds of them were killed in a disastrous plague which occured decades back...''After that I couldn't comprehend anything he said...I simply stood there...benumbed, dumbstruck and stoned to the ground!

[Part fiction/part reality... Story based in Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh, India]

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18 comments/suggestions:

Bill Austin said...

Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)


Your award will go live sometime on June 16, 2009


Award Code

Thank you,


Bill Austin

As the Mind Meanders said...

Very well written... You will go far mate... I am a big fan...

silentlyexpress said...

beautiful...very good anukriti

Collegegirl said...

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Amit414@IT-BHU said...

i really got enthralled to read your blog. one of the best blog i have read.now you regular blog visitor..:)

Parv Kaushik said...

congrats on the blog of the day award!! cool keep it up!

i did visit the church and the graveyard en route to mcleodganj dharamshala... it was a haunted place the locals warned tht ppl esp. visitors wernt allowed in the night time for the obvious reasons!!

well why am i telling u this u already knw!

this was a beautiful post.. keep it up buddy!

I, Me and Myself said...

gr8....firstly congrats...and that was a gripping story anu...gud work...

ZiLliOnBiG said...

lovely story, a bit of Ruskin bond there. Very clear in thoughts. Kudos.:)

tuplu said...

after many days i read such a piece of work really appreciable

Hemal said...

Blog of the day Awardee, congrats...

while reading this, i was almost taken to that place for a while.. got deepinto it...

Gautam said...

just love the way you express, the choice of words is awesome...you forced me to use the dic..

Anonymous said...

Ah Anu, you are still writing.. thank God for that! :)

- Osh.

anishthomas said...

Hats of to U gal...no words are coming...really superb post :)

Roshmi Sinha said...

Lovely pics and an enchanting story. You are quite a storyteller!

:)

P.S. You have received an award. Check out my latest post... to know more about it.

Cynthia said...

Anukriti, congratulations on the award (BOTDA) and thanks for sharing this chilling story...I couldn't help but think that the children wanted to communicate something...what would it be? Why would they show themselves? Is the character connected to the children in some way? Lovely photos...they really enhance the chilling influence of the story...by both contrast and by lending historical truth. <3

Francis Bell said...

WOW-great blogsite-love the pictures!!!! Thank you for brightening my day-Francis http://www.geothermalquestions.net

ashok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashok said...

the opening lines reminded me of whitman ......