A desire that drove me that far to the North-western border of India, a place that the universe admires for its unparalleled beauty and the border that naturally partitions two countries. So far there were shrubs and stones in the way of my voyage, they were like bordering something precious inside to protect the same.
With the first light of dawn I’ve reached there – ‘Jaisalmer’: A city banking ‘The Great Indian Thar Desert’. It was like a portrait of several houses with a golden colour on them done by an artist. A utopian without much trace of water.
‘Welcome Bana – welcome to Jaisalmer’ – says a tall bearded man at my hotel with a Rajasthani turban and an attire confirming the locality. ‘You are?’ I pointed at him and asked. ‘Manu Singh sir’.
Manu Singh says, “Bana are you ready to meet the Golden Princess?” “The Golden Princess?” I asked. “Bana a nascent beauty that is still virgin on this Earth, waiting for your footsteps for her rising”, he said.
“Let’s go,” I said, as Manu Singh was being poetic and I think he uses the same sentence for every tourist. We started in our car and travelled till the end of roads until the further travel was on Desert ships – the Rajasthani camels ornate in the traditional minutes. A long sinuous ride on the desert ship, ‘RAJA’ – I named my camel. I became over-anxious by two factors, first a desire that Manu Singh had aroused inside me and the slow pace of RAJA that was elongating beyond my control.
It was a tedious two hours journey cornering the shrubs, bushes and stone mountains, on RAJA’s back. At a glimpse Manu Singh was ahead of me, he looked back and smirked. RAJA was tied up with Manu Singh’s camel, as Manu Singh pulled up his camel’s controlling probes and here RAJA ran along with Manu’s camel. I was shouting as RAJA’s sinuous waves amplitude had increased and my butt on his back was hitting like a contour on another.
Suddenly, everything became smooth and it was definitely a heaven symbolizing purity, an exclusivity in the royalness that gives me the respect to be the first to touch her. An intense love that was seeking her first man to become complete in the sense that he can embellish her beauty for the first time ever.
Yes, she (sand) was the few in that area of the desert that hardly anyone has explored yet. I went off RAJA and removed my boots – It was like a generation of waiting to sooth my barefoot by touching that sand. I forgot everything by that experience, it was a sense of satisfaction that was above of all needs and desires. It was almost a time lapse that I hardly recognized my Geo-location, but what I saw was tremendously beautiful – ‘A sunset at Thar’, watching from the top of a sand dune as the sun was descending vertically, the last light was the falling at the desert’s chest highlighting it as a raspberry and soon the light fade away.
Manu chased thoroughly to find me out. ‘Bana lets prepare for the night’, Manu says. I rolled down that dune and followed Manu for the safe camping.
It was the time for food, as there was no one but then two of us, I suppose now Manu can cook food too parallel to the profession of Storyteller, Travel companion, and a camel rider. We sat on the top of a sand dune as Manu left to collect some thorns, and shrubs for cooking food. Our camels have tied far away on the bottom of the sand dune.
I was too tired, which I felt suddenly as I think if we are alone we start thinking. I rest on my back and removed my glasses to close my eyes but what I’ve seen was a blur twinkling all over the sky. I wore my glasses again and it was – A clear night sky with uncountable stars twinkling like the desert has worn several diamonds to embellish its beauty. It was a sheer synchronization of two natural beauties one in the sky and another the tangible one with me.
‘It is marvellous, isn’t it?’ A young white lady comes near and says. I was literally shocked by her presence as Manu was not near and I was all alone in this beautiful strange territory, as she comes from nowhere.
‘Sorry for shocking you, I’m Olha’, she says. ‘Oh, I thought you were going to say, I will kill you’ I said while palpitating. ‘Yes, I would, if I’d fulfil your imaginations’, she says.
“Bana, she’s Olha our German guest, she went to Kuldhara ‘The haunted village’ so she got late to reach here.” Manu came and said. ‘That’s why she seems scary.’ I murmured.
‘What we are preparing for food Manu, I’m dying of hunger?’ I asked.
‘Rajasthani red mutton, as both of you shares the same choice.’ He replied.
Manu starts preparing food in the gulley of two sand dunes to avoid wind and I with Olha sat on the top of the sand dune with beers in hand and a bonfire.
‘You’re Bana right, that’s your name?’ Olha asked. ‘No, I’m Abhimanyu, that’s my name!’ I replied. ‘Then why Manu Singh is calling you Bana?’ She asked. ‘It’s an appellation that respectfully refers to a male Rajpoot’, I explained. ‘Oh, you’re the descendant of the great warriors then,’ Olha spoke boastfully. ‘Yes, I am from the Rathore clan of Marwar (A region in southern Rajasthan)’, I replied. ‘Then I am privileged that I am having a beer with the royalty.’ Olha replied. ‘Nothing like that Ms Olha, I am just like you, a traveller.’ I comforted the aura.
‘So what an alone girl is doing in this corner of the world?’ I asked. ‘It’s not like that you see, I see it as an opportunity that I wasn’t even aware that I will drink aside of the Rajpoots on this part of the world. I am an explorer and that what I seek to – surprises.’ She says. ‘Aren’t you frightened?’ I asked. ‘Do I have to fear you?’ She asked. ‘Not really, I am not KULDHARA return.’ I replied. ‘Than there is nothing to fear.’ She says.
She was too simple in decision making, I mean even I have to think when I will visit in such a corner in Germany and she’s being a girl is too confident on her decisions. I think I got an attraction in the desert now.
We both were too down on beers that we barely can move, Manu came with the dinner. It was a month of December that means cold breezy nights in the desert but we both were too drunk that barely we felt anything. One thing which I remembered before sleeping was the digging of surface sand by Manu before putting beds on the sand so as to uncover the cold sand on the surface and surface beds on the hot sand to reduce the coldness.
I slept instantly and so did Olha, Manu was still awake to guard us.
‘What the hell!’ I shouted and woke up. What I saw was a doe kissing on my hand. ‘They love you, sir, you are pure soul’, says Manu. ‘But how come they can be so near us, al I heard about them was a frightened creature that never comes near us.’ I said. ‘It’s not like that, our community is guarding these creatures for over two decades from being hunted to death, and hence it built a harmony between Doe’s and man.’ Manu explained.
‘Where is Olha?’ I asked Manu in surprise. ‘She left.’ Manu replied. ‘Where?’ I asked. ‘Here take this.’ Manu gave me a note.
The note by Olha:
I built myself too strongly in these days of travelling all alone until I met you and felt that I’ve achieved something in this world and a sense of fear of losing this achievement has made me weak. And that will be the loathed truth that I will face if I will spend even a single more event with you.
Hope you’ll understand. Never see you again.
I was not shocked as we’ve been engaged with each other for one night only, but there was an attachment that the aura makes between us. This was the beauty of Jaisalmer and its locals. I thought that moment was to embellish what I have in hands, in spite of worrying on what I’ve lost.
I smiled on Manu after reading that note and played with the Does for few moment and while returning bought some sand in my pouch to remember those beautiful moments in life when the overburdened life leads my life to feel of no use and in the time of quitting it will give me a strength to Never give up.