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  • Writer's pictureColin Phelan

The Local School - Teaser Location Number One

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

After Bajju delivered a few beaming salutations, we walked northward up the makeshift, winding path through protruding brush, not much but a few stones placed here and there for balance and leverage upon ascending or descending. Having advanced about hundred steps from the street below, a sharp left leads to a Bajju’s property, which begins with his family’s miniature garden – at the time any signs of fertility were mangled by dried roots which flailed like wheat straw, but within the day Bajju’s children vehemently delivered blows with miniature hoes in preparation for transforming such a plot into a no-longer-neglected vegetable garden. A few steps through the produce, or preferably circumventing all of it by taking a few extra steps around the perimeter, leads to the sky-blue painted home. Twisting left, hundreds of miles of rolling hills and the occasional home peeps out, bound below by demarcated farming steppes. If you’re lucky on a clear day and twist to the right, the monstrous, perpetually snow-capped Chaukhamba mountain monopolizes the distance just fifteen miles toward the direction of Tibet in the north. Somehow, these normally wonderful vistas were surpassed on my last night staying at Bajju’s home. As Bajju napped face-down on one of the beds with Tolli climbing around him like a jungle-gym, Sangeeta offered some sunset chai and I, rhythmically waiting for my Rishikesh-dirtied clothes to dry, watched the diminishing sun rays protrude through the leaves of those all-encompassing teak trees. Sitting cross-legged – still stretching my tight hip flexors from the trip several days prior and trying to avail myself of the impending pain synonymous with the infinitely long, and what would turn out to be, somehow even worse return ride back to Delhi – the sunlight intensified the Garhwali greenery, darkened the dry patches of steppe, and opened the already wide valleys. It is from the small patio thatched together by stones and leveled horizontally as a respite from the unceasing slope where I in this instance, and Bajju in others, gazed upon these vistas.


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