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The Path

by Anuradha Rao


It is a radiantly mellow morning in the early summer.

It has rained during the night and the world looks fresh and bright and sparkling, as though the earth, having just showered, has put on clean new robes of green and clutches armfuls of gaily coloured blossoms to her breast

In the sky little white balls of cotton wool, sunlight glinting off their edges, are chasing each other across the shimmering haze. On the bank, it looks as if some of that vivid blue and pristine white the sky was painted with appears to have carelessly spilled onto the ground, becoming patches of wild violets and jasmine clustering by the wayside.

Raindrops sit heavily on newly washed leaves, swaying them drunkenly, then rolling smoothly off their tips.

Paul Mathenia - Quiet Path
Quiet Path, by
Paul Mathenia

A clean, scrubbed fragrance is in the air.

Sunrays filter through the thick leafy tops of the trees overhanging the little path. I try to catch them but they stream out of my fist to dapple the ground in front of me, with a dancing interplay of light and shadow.

My feet squish into puddles as I walk.

At places my feet sink into the softest of springy grass. From high above comes the faint chorus of unseen birds. Stopping from time to time to smell the flowers, and moving on again, I step carefully over those velvety red bugs that the rains have left scattered everywhere. I remember searching enthusiastically for them as a child after every shower -- how lovely it was to stroke that incredibly soft velvet body, with its brilliant crimson colouring!

Ah! I have now reached a place where it doesn't seem to have rained in quite a while. The road is rock strewn and barren. Dry leaves rustle and crunch under my hurrying feet. The friendly trees soon drop behind and the sun blazes pitilessly down on my unsheltered head. I walk on as rapidly as possible to feel the cool shade over myself again.

Sometimes I meet with old friends going the same way, of which I had lost sight of long ago. Just as surely, the pleasure of this meeting gives way to pain as others part company with me; either falling by the wayside or as happens, sometimes, choosing to take a different turn or fork in the path. It is all a part of this odyssey and one has to take it in one's stride as such.

I often wonder where this path meanders to, or what is even the point of this mysterious journey. But then perhaps it'd be nicer not to know just yet. It's the element of surprise, of not knowing what lies ahead, the winding turns, the undulations, the odd unexpected stumble that pushes one forward; the sense of some great adventure lurking around the corner, of some marvellous discovery yet to be made; these are the things that keep one going. All that I know, or need to know, is that it is a new day, and it's good to be alive and on my way. As for what lies at the end, I'd prefer to be surprised.

Bio: Anuradha Rao is 37 and lives in India. Writing is her hobby, and she also reads a lot.

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