THE SOLITARY SLEEPER
The rough unpaved road converged on a small hamlet that lay half concealed in dense forest. I tramped the entire length of road, rejoicing in the way nature looked in the early spring. Everybody knows my craving and how crazy I am when it comes to rambling in our countryside. My mind was soaked in ecstasy with melodic birdsong in my ear; the verdancy of flora adorned the area and a little brook that sparkled added to the poignancy of my experience.
As I ambled along, drinking in the fields and the fruit they bore, my eyes lit upon a solitary lass, who stood amidst the barley field, toiling on her own. The wind whistled, playing a pleasant tune in my ear, and I paused to snatch a better look at her.
I grew curious about this singular lady, her village, her status. All manner of queries tickled my fancy. Agog was I, keen to unearth everything there was to know about her.
Closing in to a distance of a score or so metres, I could make out the smart apparel she wore. A hat designed to block the intense heat of the scorching sun stood out but the rest of her attire escaped my notice. Many thoughts ran through my mind as I drank in the vision of this bucolic beauty. My mind began to fashion an imaginary palace where I found myself in the lady’s embrace. Alluring, she’d enthralled me at first glance and I lay there, supine by her side.
She sang for me and a flock of birds circumambulated us, joining in. A strong gust of wind restored me to my wits. I shook my head to drive out empty thoughts. The lady remained there, still in the field. Had I my camera, I would have taken her snap, then kissed it. I marvelled at how a village girl could look so drop-dead gorgeous. Perhaps, she was the girl who slipped into my dreams and haunted me. The time for thoughts was over, I decided, now for the advance: get closer, get in some wooing.
Talk to her about love; when the words are withheld, they grow toxic and eat at one innards. It’s better to give in or else give up. Making up my mind thus, I zeroed in, eyes fixed on my destination.
Nobody would suspect how overwhelmed I was. A silly smile was on my face as I pictured myself conversing with the lady. I had a lot to share: about my expedition and, especially, about my suffocating feelings for her, secluded lady in the barley field.
My thoughts took me to the extent that I was talking to our children of the future, telling tales of how I met their mother, and the kids would applaud our love story.
I kept that stupid smile on my face as I fantasized on my way closer to this woman of my dreams. Getting real, I thought that, even if our life together was not akin to the fairy tale I conjured up which conclude “happily ever after,” we would still be blessed with enough joy to last a lifetime.
We are mortals and going to the grave may be our ultimate destination but ought not to be our ultimate aim. We must make our stay noteworthy. Fearing death, shall we cease loving?
We are here to proliferate love and that is what keeps the world going round. The most meaningful aspect of life lies in loving. The lady I beheld before me was the one who confirmed my world view.
I walked towards her with my speeches prepared and, as I reached a distance of about a half a dozen meters, I became avid to see her face, so I began to pick up the tempo of my steps.
I reached near her but OH MY GOD! The lady was nowhere to be see. In her stead stood a well-simulated scarecrow looking exactly like a lovely lady. My dreams were shattered but I couldn’t help laughing. Surely, my buddies would have a belly-laugh when I told them about it!
Yet I did not discontinue my journey. Hope springs eternal. I kept walking in anticipation that I may meet my soul-mate, and really this time.
5th October, 2007
Life Science Sherubtse College