It was the eve of Makarsankranti in Giridih when Avik surprised me by telling me that his colleagues have planned a picnic at the Usri falls Jharkhand, next morning. I was in a gloomy state then, as back in Kolkata, my father was fighting with the impending death in a comatose state. It had immediately followed after he suffered from a near-fatal cerebral stroke. Though he didn’t reveal the reason behind the sudden picnic plan, I knew it was planned to cheer me up.
The next morning, I found myself reluctantly sitting inside a hired autorickshaw. Actually, I did not want to join the picnic party, instead, I wanted to stay back alone, reminiscing the old times when Maa made the rice flour dumplings and coconut stuffed crepes to celebrate Makarsankranti. Nevertheless, because of his colleagues’ pleading and continuous requests, I decided otherwise.
The day started…
With the loud noise of the vehicle. The chatters of the picnic crowd continued till we reached the location and was overpowered by the rumbles of the nearby cascading streams. We nudged our way through different selfie crazy picnic groups to the source of the sound. The first thing I noticed was a fat brown mass of rock through a veil of brown rippling ribbons of water gushing down below to join the Usri falls in the Girdih district of Jharkhand. Not a very impressive show for a waterfall, I thought, in the true sense of the term. What fascinated me, instead, was the humble beauty of the surroundings. A few boulders stood up, unarranged, from the chest of the muddy river. On looking up, there was a green horizon, soothing the tired eyes.
As we reached Usri Falls
While the other members of our group, joined the selfie gang too, Avik and I, sat upon a rock and looked on. The fidgety stream was flowing by incessantly. The ripples did not stop even once, they broke, they gathered and flowed. As I concentrated on their movements, it occurred to me that our lives, too, are like the ripples. We break, we gather and move on. Life is all about moving on while the inevitable death would sweep us away, like the river here, sweeping away the ripples with it.
My stream of contemplations broke when someone called for lunch. There were soft paranthas, dum aloo, and kadhai paneer. Mahender Ji, a caretaker of the guesthouse, which belonged to Avik’s workplace, managed to cook and pack them early in the morning. Though Mahender Ji was not an excellent cook, I loved the lunch. It seemed to me that I had never tasted such soft paranthas, dum aloo, and paneer ever in my life. Maybe I was very hungry, unknowingly, or, maybe, the natural setting influenced me to find joy in humble things around me.
After having the food, we decided to stroll around the rocky banks of the river. The banks were quite slippery, as water rode over them, at times. While treading on forward, even, I, who boast of completing a few treks in my life, couldn’t help but slipped. We took a few more steps ahead and saw small sand dunes, probably formed due to erosional as well as depositional work of Usri. It was fun to step on those dunes, watch them crumble down by bits. For a few moments, we became children again. Our shoes went up in our hands, our feet bare. As we walked slowly on the sand, we felt our feet immersing down. And then we looked back to see the footprints we left there. Though deep in our minds, we knew, the next rains will wash them off, that moment was ours.
Good time too ends
The sun dimmed. It was time to go back home. Our autorickshaw driver started the engine. The noise brought us back to the present. Yes, we need to go back to our chores. I returned too, to my grief as well as the daily chores of life. The brief outing taught me a lot without saying anything. I realized that very little can be achieved by brooding about the loss I am undergoing through and I needed to live each moment of my life, as my father had always advised. I couldn’t change the scenario by bringing back my father to his previous self but I gathered more strength to face the present, from this short trip to Usri Falls, Jharkhand.