Love in the highlands


Sangmo turned sweet sixteen last week. Dakpa brought her butter and cheese (not as her birthday gift though). Autumn said; goodbye to the monsoon and the leaves parted with its branches. Winter was chilly and Yaks in the highlands looked forward to the meadows in the low lands.

Sangmo grew in up in a patch of grassland along with a calf. She has a pair of rosy cheek, a mole on her forehead. Herds of sheep and battalion of Yaks guarded their hut in the snowy hills. She played pebbles by the rills. Dropping grasses to the hungry cattle was her first task as the sun broke open in the morning. Her parents never saw a school. Sangmo did, but never attended. Yet she can count her yaks. Her dad milks, and her mom lights the fire. There is no such thing as an electric wire in the entire village. Still their world is bright enough with their own smiles.

Dakpa was big enough to climb the trees. At times, he fetched water from a far away stream. Life for him was a kind of dream wherein he played his flute to woo Sangmo’s heart—a heart that is as soft as cream.

Dakpa carried his Patang (Dagger) hung by his waist. Dressed in his traditional Yak Skin coat, he held his stature of a stout young man. With a flute in his hand he left his home with herds of sheep and army of yak. This is his job for the entire life, I suppose. (Where is the need for systems like PCS or RCSC selection exams etc). Does he bother about his DSA or his promotion? Isn’t he happy enough already?

Half an hour later Sangmo commands her battalion to follow Dakpa’s foot steps. Sangmo is spinning yarn. Eyes full of innocence, heart full of warmth, soulful dreams, she walks up hill. She isn’t familiar with any of modern day love affairs (She doesn’t even know how to say: “I Love You”) but her heart is a fertile soil of humus wherein a seed of Dakpa’s love would fruit to their life time happiness. Sangmo fell in love not because Dakpa promised her rose garden, not even because Dakpa assured her a secured future, but they were best of friends, good neighbours and even better Dakpa was a good companion while their Yaks grazed in the highlands.

Sitting on a rock Dakpa’s flute plays music of a life time. Sangmo with all smiles forgets to spin her yarn. Yaks even forgot to graze when Dakpa tuned to the “Ya lek pay ladha Gow…….” Birds flocked to climb on the yaks and watch the romance spoken in a language that the educated lots of modern society fails to understand. I wish, I was Dakpa many a times.

Such was the romance of innocence in the absence of modern (chat/internet and electronic) media.

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