The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Monday, February 09, 2015

And Quiet Flows the Yamuna

I felt like a thinking traveller. I had camera to supplement my thinking. The weather was glorious, perfect for a travel, for photography, for those right scenes to unfold before me. There was so much to see, feel and words did muster themselves to help me articulate what I saw. In a way it was to shape a post for my blog...and I knew it even when I was going through the visuals frame by frame.
Another Hill Begins: Near Kala Amb

The hills of Nahan are different. They are not as rocky as the ones we find in Shimla; they have no cedars, no pines, no Himalayan oaks. Rather they look like the deciduous forests of central India. It’s the only place in Himachal where we find sal trees. I liked the difference. 

The river Yamuna flows from Uttarakhand to Himachal. It flows by Poanta Sahib, the place where Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) stayed for four years out of his short life-span of 42 years. It’s a peaceful place sanctified by the prayers of the gurudwara. There are many inspiring stories associated with the guru that one comes to know while visiting the place. One such story was that once Guru did not conclude the prayer meeting because a lady in the gathering did not come forward to give her offering. Though optional, it was conventionally expected that a devotee visiting a temple or gurudwara should offer something in the name of god. The sikh religion encourages its followers to donate one-tenth of their earnings, dashans as they call it. Guruji asked the lady to offer whatever she had brought with her as her offering and so she complied. It was with a lot of hesitation that she complied. What was that she offered after being exhorted to do so? It was only a cowrie or the conch shell which was not as valuable as the metal coins that were offered by others. Despite that, Guru was appreciative of the value of the cowrie which, according to him, was much more valuable than the other offerings of that day.

The story has a powerful message. It is the message of equality and the mantra of inclusive economy. In the development of our nation, the contribution of the poorest of the poor is more crucial than that of the rich. From each according to ability, to each according to need.

A Rivulet Meanders
There was another interesting story. Guru Gobind Singh was a poet besides being a religious stalwart and a brave warrior. Every full moon night he used to organize poetic gatherings. One day the poets complained before Guru ji that the river Yamuna was flowing beside the venue with gurgling sound for which all of them were getting disturbed. Then Guru Gobind Singh took the complaints seriously. He ordered the river to behave. Then on Yamuna has been flowing beside the place but silently. A few meters upstream it is noisy and it is noisy a few meters downstream; but it’s not so when it passes by the gurudwara. Taking the cue from it, I exhort the family members of a writer to cooperate with the creative fellow in their family by ensuring that peace prevails in the house, or else Guru Gobind Singh, the patron of all poets will be unhappy. Remember: Guruji is watching. And if on any day I’m disturbed, I will pray Guru ji to help me, asking those responsible for my distraction to behave!

The Avian Conference
Even before entering the holy place I had had my quota of meanderings though. Asan Barrage on Yamuna is a wonderful place to visit at this time of the year and I had headed for it. The place was full of birds. They were perhaps the migratory ones from Eurasia.

Walk the Talk: the Avian Style
At the bank of Yamuna beside Poanta Sahib I came across a scene that was easily the most interesting of all I saw this afternoon. It was about the clever activity of two exceptionally smart children. They were about seven years old, fishing not for fish but for coins. They had in their hands a fishing line each, tied to their ends was a round magnet. Purpose: that would attract coins for them from the depth of the flowing water, the ones thrown by devotees into the river. Quite an interesting method to earn money, isn’t it? I felt interested and asked them as to what their daily catch was. Oh, it was three hundred rupees every day as per their admission. That did not include 50 paise coins that were caught few and far between, for nobody accepts them these days even though they are legal tender. Inflation decides the economic behaviour of the people, not necessarily the law of the land. Anyway, I had difficulty in believing what he said about his daily catch. True, they were not saying the truth, yet it was not an instance of their bragging altogether. I was soon to find that coins did actually get stuck to the magnets as one between the two catchers lifted his line. The boys' assertions thus vindicated, I had no more disbelief left in me about the efficacy of the method. They deserved kudos. I blessed them aloud to grow up as the two successful geologists to prospect gold. Listening to that the senior between them asked--rather surprisingly, ‘Is gold found from underneath the surface of the earth?’ I quipped, ‘Oh yes. What else do you think? Do you think gold is dropped from the sky? Remember: The sky can only give you snow and nothing else.’ I knew the fellow was telling lies: about his daily income from the river; about his study; about the investment he made to prepare a magnet-tipped line, and so on. 

Even the Sun was Happy
And soon, as we were returning, another boy came following us just to report us that we were being told lies by his friend. Standing at a distance, he was overhearing our interaction with his friend and had felt the need of giving us the correct perspective. He, too, was a school dropout. When asked the reason behind his aversion to study, he informed that it was ‘waste’. As we insisted, he said his father was no more, and as such he was not going to school after his fourth class. Well, I’m not sure if he was also speaking the truth.

His Fishing Line was an Extension of His Eye
Anyway, before leaving the riverside, I had managed to get a hands-on experience of the sport called “catching the coin”.

Catching the Coins:credit-Ratan Sharma
The icing on the cake was yet to come. We had timed our visit to the gurudwara in such a way that there was a glorious sunset to greet us. We stood feasting our eyes on the golden aura of the western horizon.
A. N. Nanda
Poanta Sahib



Anonymous Rajeshwari said...

Respected Sir , Catch a coin is an interesting and a play way method of earning ! Also, mythological explanations concerning quietly flowing Yamuna are also very beautifully put forth ! Enjoyed reading it ! Your photograph playing the game is also very attractive , Sir. With Regards !

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Priyanath Pattanayak said...

Sir, a good experience in travel to one natural beauty.Most fortunate to have this opportunity.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Anant Nanda said...

Thank you, Rajeshwari, for going through the text. Yamuna is so clear there and with the waters of Giri River merging into it, the river becomes a life-giving source. But it's pollution level at Delhi is so high now that it cannot be set right again. That is what Central Water Commission says. This is a man-made calamity. A river full of fun and life is made an object of rejection only a few hundred kilometers downstream--I think it is time we wake up and fix responsibility.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Anant Nanda said...

Thank you Pattanayak Babu. I'm indeed lucky. I had enjoyed the beauty of Cauvery and written a snippet in this blog: visit the link

Besides, I had visited the Ganges at Allahabad and written another snippet. You may like to visit the link at

Thank you.

9:05 AM  

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