The never thought Dark night in Mukteshwar.

Our Hotel room bell rings at exact 6:27pm. With tired legs my sister goes to open the door not knowing what was awaiting on that side of the door. Rather no one in the room had even thought of what their night was to be. The thing that would be a spoil sport after our exciting trek and wonderful trip until now.

Bhairav, the house keeper of a State tourist resort gave us the instructions to stay close and not to use cell phones till morning. He gave us couple of things for the night and told us to use them only when needed. With many questions in our mind, we were asked to meet the manager for details.

The manager, Shyaam, in perfect pale blue Pahadi attire and white-red Pahadi Topi had greeted us that afternoon. After returning from for a short trek through Oak, Pine and Rhododendron trees to the Mukteshwar Mahadev from where the name of this small town is derived. The temple area has infinite bells tied by devotees which usually ring even at the slightest wind coming from the valley. The trek was simple but a bit tiring for we amateurs.

Though tired, we immediately went to meet Shyaam who was sitting in the lobby right next to the window working with his old rugged green-red register. Shyaam repeated the same words of Bhairav “Sirji kalse light nai hai or abhi generator bhi kharab hogaya hai, isilie maine 2 mombatti bheji.” (trans: There is no electricity connection and generators are not working, that’s why i sent the candles) All the options which came were erased out by Shyaam. His final smiling statement was “Abhi kuch nai ho sakta sirji.” (trans: Nothing can happen until tomorrow)

With angry minds and hungry stomach, we went to dining room to find it sufficiently lit only for owls, with 4 candles one for each huge table. People had to share tables, saddest thing for the honeymooners was getting a free candle light dinner with other families. By this time, we had started playing game of guessing the next morsel as every morsel could only be revealed once in mouth. After a surprising dinner we went outside and sat in the porch disturbing the privacy of two couples. Believe me this is fun for a person like me.

Imitating the couples, I lifted my neck upwards, the smile on my face immediately went out and an expression of awe replaced it. The bluish black sky was full of millions of stars and a bright moon casting shadows even in the night. Every few minutes there was a meteor falling brightening the sky with its tail and hiding stars in that area. At that moment seeing this panorama I felt small…! Really small…! The bubble of self-centred universe was burst by this darkness. I think we humans created electricity only to hide the truth and keep ourselves in more darkness which we feel like a spotlight on us. Few hours ago, we felt living without electricity a curse but now think of it as blessing. The nature has solution to our every problem it is only we who need to go and ask for it. Dumbledore was genuinely the wisest man I thought then “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” the nature was kind enough to turn on its own light. There was complete silence, no one spoke a word, it seemed for hours we were right there, just watching meteors go down until out of nowhere and no one’s expectation there was bright light throughout the porch and the stars seemed to have disappeared. Now the return of electricity felt like a curse. This is a vicious cycle of us, not being happy with every moment. The only silver lining to return of electricity was that I could peacefully sleep in the calming sound of fan motor.

Painting by- Ms. Devika Mahajan.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”

-Albus Dumbledore

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Abhishek Purohit

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