Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The Days When You Need Someone to Walk With

By Gaurav Parab

The other day I was out on a morning walk with a relative to Kasar Devi, the site of an ancient temple in the Himalayan town of Almora. As we reached the bottom of the hill on which the temple stands, a white dog appeared from seemingly nowhere – like a light suddenly bobbing into view miles away on a dark moonless ocean night.




There was something about that animal. You could clearly see in his eyes that he was one of those lone wolf sort of characters, not too welcome among the popular mountain dog gangs for being strong headed, for being a Dylan fan amongst Bieber fanatics, universally frowned upon for spending his time on staring out at the distant Himalayan peaks with some unknown question in his head. A thoughtful life. A free spirit. A creature who knew things that can never be reduced to words on paper, or lines across a canvas. A trick completely made of magic.

As soon as he took his first step with us, we knew. He was going to take us right up to the temple that was still a decent climb away. He did not want to be acknowledged or patted like the sellouts amongst his kind - he just wanted to be around. And help us on our journey. No strings attached. Gentleman, good morning. I will show you where the temple is.      

Why he chose to do so is difficult to tell. But I have seen the same behavior in many old and bruised hearts. No matter how cold we are, no matter how much joy we find in our solitary worlds, no matter how much people irritate the living daylights out of us – there are times when we need someone around us. To tell a story from our past, to just share the same physical space, and sometimes to say with our eyes - Gentlemen, good morning. I will show you where the temple is.

The old dog walked with us like a shadow. Then he led the way like we were his. Somewhere along the way, he found time to scamper down the steep hill to bark at someone meditating in the distance.

My mountain.

You have no business here.

I take people to the temple and back.

Then White Shine was back. Short nod of the head, silly grin on face, his body now one step ahead of us.
We spent about half an hour at the temple, the dog never out of sight – even accompanying us to the inner sanctum.  While we prayed, he went out to steal some water from a Rishi meditating in the distance. And when it was time to return, he made a small jump and he was back leading us down.
At the end of our journey, he disappeared just like he had come.

A light going out around a corner.

A stranger dissolving in the mirror.

A myth drifting away forever.

We had plans to offer him some bread, but he was nowhere to be found. I had half expected our friend to act like one of those Delhi Guides and say, “Sahab, joh aake mann mein ho, who deh do.” But he was gone. Like the wind that spawns and disappears within seconds in these parts. Perhaps he was hiding in some cave, or his special place – waiting for the next climber he feels important enough to accompany – or perhaps he was one of those writer types who had had enough of company for the day – and it was time to go back to his table and conjur up the next story.

White Shine. Thank You for your company.

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