Some would guess that it is a place somewhere. Few would know enough to be able to associate it with an Indian mountain state. There is this man however, who knows all this and a little more.
He had seen this woman once, walking straight down the footpath to him, wrapped in a lovely olive green printed Murshidabad silk saree, with the thick Kolkata winter evening neon-lights reflecting in her jet black hair, her face, her eyes. Moments later he had heard her speak his name. Still later he had walked down Rashbehari Avenue measuring his steps to match hers- absorbed. In the dead of the night he had heard her speak.
Blossoming apple orchards, straight-backed juniper and deodar lined Himalayan slopes, fragrant picone strewn pakdandis winding up and down the mountain, the mist shrouding the view outside the windows – he had seen it all.
He could smell the early morning sunshine at seven thousand feet. He had felt the evening descend quietly, sliding down the steep slopes behind him even as he felt her slumberous eyelids drooping and her voice beginning to ‘sound like a kitten’. When she was sleepy she always sounded like a kitten he thought.
He had groped his way back up the deserted roads without streetlights towards the place where husband and wife served Tibetan thukpa in round stainless steel bowls. He had lingered there long after she had drifted off to sleep and the phone had clicked off.
One day, while the sun shone brightly and the whole world seemed to be in a haze of heat and work and strangeness, his temples throbbed. That is when he had seen her again. In a noisy boardroom one thousand and four kilometers away from her city it had suddenly seemed to be the right place and the right time to reach out to her. Her voice had echoed in his mind and had walked him down a little slope and up several separate flights of stone and wooden stairs to this beautiful temple nestled in the lap of the snow capped Srikhand range.
He had seen Sarahan.
He finally knows what her Sarahan really is. He knows that it is a vision inside this woman’s head.
He knows that she carries it around with her, so that Sarahan is sometimes inside a cafeteria, where she drinks it up with the aroma of her cappuccino and the conversation of her friends.
Sometimes Sarahan is inside a semi dark auditorium reverberating with exquisite fingers spraying magical notes in the air sound of which filled her with the fragrance of exotic pale pink apple blossoms.
Sarahan is where she wants to be. Sarahan is where she has wanted to be. This is where she can be. Herself. Deep down in his own soul he knew that Sarahan is where she exists. That is where he would always find her. That she had planted a Sarahan inside of him too!