The last week, I had been trekking, wandering alone through the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh. Walking in my solitude, conversing with myself, I chanced upon an old church, a stone building blackened with time, surrounded by whispering cedar trees, the trunks, moss-laden. Staring aimlessly, keenly listening, I heard hidden crickets chirruping, shivered in cold breeze sailing through the gnarled trunks, and smiled at the gently nodding wildflowers.
A grave behind, caught my eye; broken stones, graves unmarked and marked, more than a fifty and hundred years old, suddenly, I sensed, began whispering to me of the time that was. The etched gravestones said, ‘Here they rest’. Oh do they, I pondered! Do they seek a soul to come and spend a warm winter afternoon with them? Do they seek families scattered, now, across seas and oceans? Do they turn in their graves, silent and rueful, desiring a flower upon their cold graves? I sat there, in an overwhelming sense of silence, praying, thinking.
Words rose, fell and questions, unanswered, found a melancholic place in the mossy undergrowth!
Six months I add up in my muddled head,
Of promises, now, bruised, battered and dead,
Months of brooding and spiralling downwards,
I find solace walking through mossy graveyards.
‘Smile’ they say, for this too shall pass,
But blades of grass have turned into shards of glass!
They gnash my veins, crush my bones,
And, hollow, I laugh as the earth reddens.
Oh this shall purge me of the sorrow,
My dimmed eyes will not wait upon morrow.
Voices, conversations, banter, faintly echo,
A time I am learning, devastatingly, to forgo.
‘We’ll be two souls in a ghost town’, you had once said,
But I wander, lonely, in a shroud, desolately tattered.
Years later, when your feet take you to the deserted graveyard,
You will see a lone flower, blindingly scarlet.
Amidst broken rocks, shaded by cedars, gaunt and tall,
It has been beseechingly waiting upon your arrival.
Wear it, gently, upon your coat my dear,
Close to your heart, a place I happily desire.
It shall shine, it shall blush, and one day wither,
Happily dying, for the petals of my blood were closer.