*THE BOY IN VEST*
I was on a trip with my cousins to Kotdwara, Uttarakhand. The houses were constructed in traditional ways. There was a tap outside our cottage, which was devoid of the running water. It was January. We were just finishing off with the climax scene of the movie, and half of us already dozed off. About an hour later, I too started feeling drowsy and relaxed my legs under the warm cosy quilt, and fell asleep thinking about the summer of the plains. When the fresh green leaflets sacrifice their youth to the burning heat and turn brown, trees, heavily laden with summer’s full bloom of leaves seemed to be hanging their heads, no breeze to disturb the sun’s relentless, burning attack.
When the perspiration beaded one’s forehead and ran in rivelets down one’s face, even when one is standing still. When the ice -cream turns into flavoured liquid within seconds. That are the summers of my place.
I was busy dreaming about it when my dream was ruptured by the splashing sound of water which was coming from outside. I went to the window and opened it and saw a little, extremely fair-skinned boy of about 7-8 years, who was in his white vest and shorts. He was busy splashing water and was playing with the water which was running through the tap, situated outside.
I was still in my dizzy state.
“Hey boy!” What are you upto? Why are you playing with water in the middle of this icy night.”
The little boy looked at me, muttered some incomprehensible words and ran down the lane and disappeared, in the darkness of that chilled foggy night. After few seconds, when I came back to my consciousness, all I could feel on my tender fragile skin was freezing cold air. It was dark ,mystifying and the moon was sheltered by the murky looming clouds. I could smell the coldness that was penetrating through my blocked nose. I brought my hands closer and started rubbing them to generate the heat flow on my exposed skin. The shivery fog was stabbing through my sweater. Every surface, every blade, of grass and twig were growing like long ice crystals.
Then what was that little boy doing here in the midnight, splashing and playing with the icy cold water at the mid of December night, in the hills, and wearing only a vest and a pair of shorts.Doesn’t he feel the cold? Was it a living child or was it a spirit
I experienced a fit of goosebumps! The sound of silence around me was chilling and frighting in every possible way. I stood there frozen under the mid-night moon, fighting with the uncontrollable gush of questions, regarding the existence of THAT BOY IN THE VEST.