I am in Dirang, a tiny hilly hamlet in Arunachal Pradesh. I came here on a whim three weeks back, and fell for the place. In May, when there are scattered rains, the clouds shroud the very top of the mountains, rendering them beautiful. Every day my friends and I set out in a random direction and go hiking. It’s beautiful – we walk by rivers, hop over rocks, run across metal bridges with colourful prayer flags, cross meadows and sit down wherever we find beauty. It is quite something.
If we were to be in love, I think I’d have liked you to visit me here. I’d come to the airport to receive you, and we would grin like impish kids on sighting each other, before I’d give you a big fat bear hug. I think you’d match my step, and we would go on these long walks in the woods. Sometimes we’d get stuck in the brambles or get stung by a particularly thorny bush upto a lot of mischief, but we would laughingly pull ourselves out. Try harder next time, naughty bush! Sometimes when we had to climb a tough section on the mountain, I’d deliberately speed ahead and sit on a little rock higher up. From my perch, I’d watch you, try to figure out how to come. You see, I believe in you. Even if you haven’t done it a lot, I know you will. And when you do come up, smiling, or tired, and wag your tongue in half embarrassment, I shall look at you proudly. And maybe ruffle your hair.
If you were to be faster than me, I’d run desperately to keep pace, and when I’d reach you, I’d go breathless like Bunny from Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani and go “Mai thakta nahi hu!”. I’d love you to be better than me.
Is it important that you love mountains, and animals? I guess I can only fall in love with someone who is. I grew up in a house where we all loved waking up on a weekend, packing some pooris and boiled eggs and cramping into our little car and riding off into the mountains. I grew up with the best and silliest doggy in the world, and a family that loved animals so it came automatically to me as well. They say, “You can judge the heart of a man by the way he treats animals, or those below him in disposition”. Compassion will never go out of fashion. Compassion will always be sexy, even if in subtler understated ways.
I am a trip leader, and sometimes I’d be away from you. But I’d write to you and tell you about what I saw. If I were to write to you from here, I’d tell you about the adorable family who’s homestay we stay in. I’d tell you about the lazy, sleepy, furry dogs on the street that don’t as much as lift an eyebrow when we pass them, and only turn and lie down on their backs so that we can tickle their underneaths. So uncouth! In my head, I would imagine you smiling at some of the lines, and feel happy.
There is a beautiful property here, built a little away from town, high on the hill, looking over the river. I imagine it has beautiful rooms. If you came here, we would go stay there. When you’d wake up in the morning and we’d step out, you’d let out a shriek because everywhere around you there would be apple and kiwi orchards. Heh, that’s why I’d make sure when you first reach the previous day, it would be night. Surprising people is very important in life, you see!
But even if it’s fancy, we wouldn’t stay there for more than a day. I love my home stay family, and I’d like us to be with them, even if its not half as fancy as the hotel. What is love if not absolutely biased, irrational and unflinchingly loyal.
You know what we could do together if you came here? There is a wooden bridge over a bristling stream, a little away from town. One night, as the clock struck a lot past twelve, we would sneak out of our room and go to it. We would sit on the bridge with our legs dangling down, the river gleaming silver below us. We would talk at times, stay silent at times and our fingers would find ways to the other’s…. at times. There would be a flask of lemon tea, of course! I would play some songs, and every now and then you’d go “I love this one!” We would sit there all night, with our legs dangling, a boy and a girl who liked spending time with each other, and a river that smiled at them for doing so.
There is this place called Mandala, about 28 kms from Dirang. It’s a birding paradise. Far on the top of the mountain, there is a birding lodge and camp. Would you like to go there, and stay in a little two person tent with me? We would sit outside at night, in a warm cozy blanket together and watch a million stars looking down upon us. We’d wake up to chai and a hundred chirping birds.
I’d send you a postcards (or letters) when we are apart. On one side, would be a local child, eight or nine years old, apple red cheeks, unkempt hair. On the other side, would be me writing to you.
And I’d come to see you. As often as possible. I anyway don’t do more than a trip or two a month. And you would work in the day, and I’d wait. In the evenings, we would cook and watch something together. I would like to listen to you talk about all and sundry. We would play word games, and oh Scrabble, and solve Jigsaw puzzles. As the clock kept ticking, we would sleep off cuddling.
Life really doesn’t have to be complicated, if you eliminate the white noise. Life’s like a beautiful jigsaw. You lay down the pieces, start fixing the outer edges to give it a good frame. Sometimes a piece wont fit, and you be patient and try finding what went wrong. Slow and steadily, the pieces start fitting in the right places, magically. It is as simple as that.
Eventually one day, when you least expect it, I would ask you to marry me. Maybe when we are hiking, or sitting near a waterfall, or somewhere very beautiful, very peaceful. You would least expect it then. Like I said, surprising is very important!
And some day, we will have a beautiful daughter (or son) as monkey as me, as cute as you, but you have already read that one, haven’t you? 😊