She sat on the cottage verandah, looking out towards the panorama of mountains in front of her. Her thoughts felt like a kaleidoscope with her aura changing colors like a diamond glinting in the sun – yellow, blue, orange, red. She heard footsteps but she didn’t have to turn to know who it was. There were not many people up here and at this hour of the evening, it could only be one person. He came and dragged the chair, placed it beside her and sat, looking over at the mountains like she was doing since past one day. He didn’t say a word, which was good since she didn’t feel like talking. The view in front of them, was speaking to them in its own language. And words right now felt unnecessary.
They were sitting in the balcony of a cottage in a village in Himachal. It was supposed to be a trekking trip, but so far rains made it impossible to trek anywhere. Not even to explore the village around them. All they could do was either sit inside the simple cottage, warming them around the heat chimney, or sit outside in the cold watching the sky unveil its magic. So they sat outside, shivering but grateful to be in the presence of something so magnificent, it took their breaths away every time they looked.
The clouds, the pouring rain, the cold, it all created an atmosphere that was almost holy. The grandeur in front of them was humbling as well as life affirming. Like they understood how puny they were in front of the majesty of the scene and yet they felt meaningful. The scenario changed constantly in front of their very eyes, the clouds running here and there, the mountains now visible, now invisible, the rains deafening them to every other sound, creating a cocoon that contained only them. Their breathing, their footsteps, their sighs, their words and their lives, all enclosed inside this bubble away from any and everything.
It was around seven in the evening. She sat there lost in her thoughts when the clouds started to dissipate, unveiling parts of the mountain range. She jumped out of her chair and ran to the edge of balcony. They were at approximately the height of 1200 meters above sea level and the edge of their cottage looked over the valley. Her jaw dropped open as the clouds revealed the earlier brown mountains, now covered in snow. It was not too bright, but she could see the beauty around her in the fading evening light. She turned to her right and grinned at him. He grinned back in wonder. He was in as much awe of the scene as he was in awe of her. Her animated expressions, her free smile, her wondering mischievous eyes that spoke what she felt, he saw in her an innocence that was long lost.
He blinked and looked over at the peaks. Was he in love? He didn’t know. Did he want her? Maybe. He was in love with her easy laughter and her free soul. Not in a normal way when people tell each other that they love them. This generation did not love. This generation was losing touch with their selves, getting lost in the mobiles and computers and the fact there will always be someone else. He was surprised at the turn his thoughts had taken. When did love come in this equation? But then he realized, it had always been there. This love he was feeling at the moment was not binding him to her. In a weird way, it was setting him free. It felt like the harmony around them, the air itself, and the world was teaching him about love. Not lust, not possession, just ‘in the moment’ kind of love. He moved forward and slowly took her hand. She turned and looked at him, saw something in his eyes and smiled. She felt rather than saw his emotions. She felt his love and she responded in the little way she could. She squeezed his hand and together they looked out in the distance.
Suddenly right in front of their eyes, the sky brightened. The clouds gave way to the full moon and the snow covered valley got drenched and was set aglow by the soft white light. It was ethereal. She turned to him and said, “I want you to kiss me.” He turned towards her, and looked at her in silence, trying to decipher what she was asking from him. No, he could see she was not in love with him. He didn’t feel that she was his soul mate. Reading the question in his eyes, she simply said, “because you and I have been blessed with this moment.” And he understood. In this moment, they were truly living, without any baggage of who they are, their past or future. This moment was changing them, possibly forever.
It was very cold, yet she could feel the heat from his body, and even though he had not yet touched her, she felt warm in his gaze. He slowly pulled her to himself and leaned in closer. She closed her eyes sensing his being, savoring the anticipation. His lips touched hers softly and she responded. Though she was not in love with this man, but she was a passionate woman, with a heart that wanted to love each and every thing. She curved her hands up his arms, held onto his neck and kissed him back with equal fervor. He enveloped her in his arms, his soul rejoicing, and felt the primitive instinct to keep her safe, at least for the period of time she let him. Not once did his hands try to violate the trust she put in him. His kisses felt like reverence to her, to the place around them, to the power around them. And she answered with equal love. Their kiss was not tainted by lust or want or need. It was like a religious rite – pure, unadulterated worship of the gods residing in each of them. With a last soft kiss and a sigh, they broke apart. She held onto his hand and looked around at the beauty around her. He stood there watching her. She felt his gentle soul, bright and nurturing and thanked the divinity surrounding them, for everything. He saw her face afire under the light of the moon. Two souls who were culminating a journey, or maybe beginning a new one.