|Linger at Chandpur, Palampur|
Last week , i was on a trip to Himachal pradesh. The beautiful landscaped country is well known for its majestic mountains and chilling winters. I visited three towns in the kangra district namely Palampur, Dharamshala and Mcleodganj. All are predominantly military stations with a small civilian population. Later two are also well known as spiritual centers for the presence of monasteries and chinmaya mission
Each of these towns have many villages under them. I had been to a village called Chandpur in Palampur. It is a very small village blessed with amazing diversity of flora and fauna (Like most places in Himachal pradesh). I stayed at a beautiful lodge called Linger in the mountain valley. Apart from the many birds and trees, i met many local people. I spent three days with a lovely family comprising of Uttam singh, his wife pavan and his kaku (i do not know kaku's name. I know him just as kaku). This is another beauty of this land. We do not need to know people's names. We can very quickly relate to them. In five minutes, Uttam singh's kaku became my kaku as well.
The theme of this post is Kaku. There is nothing unique or special about Kaku. He is just another man from the hilly town. But i was meeting someone senior from the hills for the first time. For an orthodox south Indian, meeting a himachali in an obscure village in the foothills of Himalayas is a very enriching experience. Other than belonging to the same country and worshipping the same god (Rama and Shiva), all our practices are different.
|Kaku from Chandpur|
By profession even today, he is a chaukidhaar (Watch man). He stays few hundred meters from his work place across the stream. He is up by 5:00 AM and takes bath in the chilling water of the stream (It was 7 degrees when i went there and snowfall had started in the upper hills.) The temperature drops further by January and February . But kaku insists that he would have bath in the stream.
Kaku is also a good singer. He sits by the fire every evening singing the folklore and the local bhajans. He enjoys his beedi too sitting by the fire.
We had to literally cajole kaku to sing a Himachali (Kangri) Bhajan for us. After a lot of insistence, kaku did sing something for us. It was a pleasure to listen to him sitting by the fire in the chilling evening. Kaku was also graceful to throw some light on the meaning of the song.
There are many many such people scattered in the vast plains and hills of this country quietly singing their way in life. They are contented , untouched by the pollution and corruption in the country.
Kaku Singing his Bhajan