An Easy Road Walk
August 27, 2014 Wednesday
Religious signs taller than the parasols added a new dimension to the procession that started around 11 am. The path laden with tar made walking easier even under hot sun. The path stuck to the foot of rocky slopes holding roots of grass and upright pines. But at many places, the rocks bared their hard ochre or grey chests with occasional dash of green hairs. Men continued to carry the palanquin and the parasols, baring the poor position of women in local society. And the mass of merry men and women walked towards Deval, the first transit point of the day.
Deval dressed in shades of green preferred urban decorations for the procession. A network of jazzy paper laces and tassels fluttered along the welcome banners over the procession path. The banners bared the intentions of local businesses and politicians: marketing. More eyeballs than usual might get them some extra footfall / followers. Did conversion happen in the clutter of the banners? I had no source to find.
More shops did business in this relatively bigger settlement. A large number of onlookers awaited on the roadside terraces. The rumors built up psychological pressure on many pilgrims: Administration would allow select few beyond Vedni due to space restrictions. Only a few hundred might go beyond the meadow. The thought of selection restricted the religious revelry for a while.
On exiting the busy bazaar, the skin of the road darkened partly under the shade of pine trees. The road quickly gave up to a muddy trail and steps climbing to Salekhola. More rams joined the pilgrimage. An ordinary tiny temple in the village witnessed an extraordinary puja involving parasols and symbols from Garhwal and Kumaon.
As we left the settlement, the viridian Pindar displayed its broad course running parallel to the road separated by just one green slope. The canal consumed large section of the slope. The grey tar made way for big grey stones connected with mud and debris that allowed grass and wild plants to grow.
Lush environs of Faldiya came into the sight. We met kids in uniform. So an obvious conclusion was that the school was working. As we approached Faldiya, at a number of places, the Pindar came so close that we could touch it. Moist wind from the river provided some relief from the searing sun along the shade less trail.
The procession trampled through the fields without any guilt like previous days. For the first time, local women cooked food for the pilgrims in the pilgrimage. Many woman devotees rested in the big room offered by the village and sang jagars. A community night!
The big white washed houses of the village had tall green doors between tall walls with spacious recesses. The 2-level roomy houses with slate or tin roofs clustered at the edge of the fields resembling a palette of green. The owners had roomy hearts too: They allowed to charge the batteries free of cost. The sky broke into noisy thick tears in late afternoon or early evening, dissipating the frustrating heat.
But it pushed everyone indoors and put everyone in a gossip mode except loners or solo trekkers like me who were forced to hear unwanted gossip. For example, three of my man neighbors constantly bombarded me with conversations about chronic constipation and their knowledge about deities, especially Shiva. A bad combination of subjects. Isn’t? Those rancid rants were no less than disturbing farts. So I decided to walk in the refreshing tears.
Visual Tour of 11th Day of Nanda Raj Jat 2014