A Midnight Amidst Alaknanda

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An essay by Abhyudaya Anand Mishra, published in June 2017, Ashvamegh


Irked and embittered by the quotidian plodding of boring life due to nerve-racking end- semester exams, we planned to abscond this exasperation, one day, by spending our midnight at our favorite destination- on the banks of The Alaknanda.

Alaknanda, a tributary of the Ganges flows beneath our college. The river which is considered treacherous was responsible for the calamity that affected the lives of so many people in 2013. However, we frequently visit the riverside whenever we find the need to do so. It is like a stress booster that refreshes us from the daily drudgery of tests, assignments, vivas and surprise quizzes.

The calm and the coolness it stores within itself is commendable. The flow of the river is a humming tune that can impress anyone. It looks divine, the water is pure and the peace it contains within it is majestic. It offers the eternal and enduring tranquility that takes you to the spiritual world. One of the best places one can discover for contemplation of self, it connects you to the world unknown. Not spending some part of life such that the water flows through your feet, I say, would leave your life incomplete.

Some of my friends were reluctant at first owing to the risks involved during the night and the fear of being drowned due to a slip of fate or by chance we spotted a panther. But, college friends are someone who can put you in the most troublesome situation and you still might not feel scared because they shall always be on your side to enjoy your expressions of fear and dread. So, considering the fact that we all will be together and in unity lies strength, the plan was all ready to be executed.

Preparations began in the form of collection of firewood for bonfire, some eatables and an emergency light to find the way in the dark. Someone suggested music, but all others refused as we wanted to experience peace and quietude. The expedition was all set to begin with this.

We began after dinner at 10:30, and reached the riverside in about an hour. It was dark, scary and walking on the bedrocks was challenging. The driving factor was the urge to release our tensions and to refresh ourselves of the chilling winds which added to the panorama of peace and serenity. Walking for about fifteen minutes, we finally settled down. Now, it was time to silence our shrieks and simmer down in the serenity of the Alaknanda.

Life on an engineering students is no less than that of a robot except some moments that students like us snatch out of their strenuous schedule. These are actually the moments that we really long for as life progresses. And spending them with your friends is icing on the cake. Because they are the ones who pamper you, motivate you, pull your leg and do anything and everything with you.

But, everyone has a personal space that they choose to conceal until the ambience is conducive and propitious. There exist people among us who have torment agonies and affliction which they camouflage deep within their hearts. We found out just another friend among us that midnight who had lost both his parents in a car accident and was thus incapable of affording a number of things that we took for granted. We thought of him as an ignorant, irresponsible and stupid guy who neither knew how to dress nor knew how to talk, dance and enjoy like all of us did so naturally. However, as we learnt about it, tears rolled down our eyes in compassion and regret for our friend who besides facing such a huge trauma, was one among us.

Tears vanished in the holy water of Alaknanda. Everyone was in remorse until the mood was turned around by the comedian of our group. Finally, everyone let their guilt and chagrin ebb with the water flowing through our feet. Alaknanda’s water is a gift of nature to rejoice its touch. Putting one’s feet into it surely settles down all frustrations, tensions and confusions. All that is required is to sing with the humming tune of the river. The best thing about it that the cries and shrieks inside you are silenced in the river’s babble. Inspiring a spirit of peace and placidity, the flow of the river signifies that obstructions and interruptions are inseparable segments of life, the prowess lies in maintaining the continuity and the momentum, for, life must go on.

A perfect escape from the hullabaloo and the hustles, Alaknanda deluges you in its own mood, spirit and calmness. I was moved by this midnight so much that I decided to pen it down. That day, I realized how we can easily forget the people we laugh with, but forgetting the ones we have cried with is impossible. Bonds that are made in agony and grief are probably the hardest to break. They are to be enjoyed for a lifetime.


About the Author:

Abhyudaya, a graduate from NIT Uttarakhand loves writing on nature and society. His articles have been published in leading magazines and newspapers. A fabulous orator and a thinker, he has won many debates, declamations, and extempore. Abhyudaya aspires to add value to the society through his work and his writings.

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